New “Icebreaker” app for Teams promotes team bonding

Microsoft wants to promote team bonding, and what better place to do so than with its own Teams app? Except, perhaps not the way you might think. The company announced its new Icebreaker bot, an app that pairs two random people to each other, kind of like Chatroulette for those of you who might have been breathing the internet back in the day.

Still, it’s a very interesting concept. Microsoft notes an importance of culture of one of the defining factors of any team, and the simple little bot is one way of sharing them among other team members who might not work from the same locations as one another.

It’s really easy to use, too. Admins can create a new team and invite individuals “who are open to trying something new and meeting new people”, then install the bot within the team. After that, the bot will randomly pair two people up every Monday at 10 AM, and can even suggest times that are free for both parties to get to know each other.

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The idea actually comes from another bot created by an early engineer of Microsoft Teams, who created something called “Meetuply”, which also paired two members within an organization for coffee. It was created to answer the “Who are these new people and what are they working on?” question that might have run across the minds of many other team members.

If you’re interested in incorporating something like this into your own teams, the Icebreaker App Template is available for free on GitHub. It’s open source, too, so you’re free to modify it to better suit your needs.

And of course, if keeping your team members away from each other is something that you’re in need up, that integration is going to be build straight into Teams soon, no bot required. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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