Microsoft's collaboration tools are terrible

22 January, 2023

Not only are their tools terrible, but everyone involved in their creation should feel bad.

Let’s name the subjects of most of my ire, in no particular order:

  1. Microsoft Teams
  2. Azure DevOps
  3. Office 365 (or whatever this week’s branding is)

Each of these tools is **substantially** behind their competitors. The easiest comparison to draw is with Google’s suite, in particular Google Meet and the G Suite tools. I reckon Word 365 is a decade behind Google Docs. Microsoft Teams has made huge strides forward since the Coronavirus lockdowns, so let’s be generous and say they’re only 5 years behind.

Let’s start shall we?

When sharing docs through Word, and editing collaboratively there are **huge** time delays between contributions showing up on others’ screens – changes that in Google Docs appear instantly. There are times when one person can be typing paragraphs and suddenly those paragraphs disappear from view for other people, leading to delays, communication problems and of course destruction of flow. It deals with change conflicts terribly, locking areas of a page where people are typing, making it basically impossible to do sentence-level collaboration. The user-user sync is nearly unusable, to the point that when I now do collaboration on Word docs, it’s easier to start a video call and get people to shout out their changes rather than actually try and all contribute to the doc together.

Azure DevOps is a dystopian nightmare of a web application. I honestly don’t know where to start. Let’s go with the fact that for accessing any of its wide range of services, if you don’t have JavaScript, or have blocked the wrong script, or have a patchy connection that doesn’t load all those files correctly – you get nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Blank screen for you buddy! What, you wanted something that worked without rendering literally everything on the client side like it wasn’t 2012 any more? Bad luck to you! What, you mean there is a _terrible_ performance cost of doing this on every single page load? Well, you’d better get used to it! When you bring up a menu you want _all_ the items to appear straight away rather than clicking it, seeing 5 options and then 5 seconds later another 10 appear at seemingly random locations in that list? Weirdo.

My own personal status check of Azure DevOps is that it uses a stylised floppy disk icon for the “save” action. Windows 10 and 11 don’t even come with drivers for floppy disk drives any more. Every single piece of UX across the whole product is trash, and this is just underlined by its **awful** performance, and this is coming from someone who has used Jira.

I could go on and on about all these products, but what I could never do is recommend that anyone ever use them.

Microsoft, you need to do better.

See other posts tagged with azure devops general hot garbage microsoft and all posts made in January 2023.