Microsoft Lists | What do they mean for my organization?

Microsoft recently announced that Microsoft Lists will be rolling out this summer. Introduced publicly for the first time at Build 2020, Microsoft Lists are designed to help you track and organize work, empowering users with ready-made templates, including deep integrations into Microsoft 365 tools, and all with easy access via a mobile app and Microsoft Teams.  For a quick demo by Microsoft Lists’ Program Manager, check out this video.   
When we first heard about Microsoft Lists, our first question—and likely yours as well—was, “what does this mean for SharePoint lists?”  
Lists and libraries have been the cornerstone of SharePoint since its inception. It’s important to note that Microsoft Lists are built by the same team at Microsoft who currently maintain SharePoint lists, expanding on the trusted platform to bring new user experiences, integrations, and capabilities. And according to Mark Kashman, you can “rest assured that all your lists, including lists that you have inside SharePoint sites today, will benefit from all the innovations” coming from Microsoft Lists.  

Does this mean SharePoint lists are going away?

Microsoft Lists encompasses SharePoint lists, a new independent Lists home page (web), lists in Microsoft Teams and the coming Lists mobile app. According to Microsoft, “there is only one Lists product and we continue to move it forward.” While there has been no official word, it’s easy to assume based on this comment that SharePoint lists will become less important as they are replaced by Microsoft Lists with more capabilities and integrations over time. 

Consider Infopath, a product that has been deprecated for years now yet is still supported by SharePoint while the clear messaging from Microsoft has been to utilize the Power Platform moving forward. We could see SharePoint lists taking a similar journey; they aren’t going anywhere (in fact they appear at the core of Microsoft Lists), but over the next few years as Microsoft Lists become more secure and stable, they will be deeply integrated into SharePoint, while remaining separate so they can be used elsewhere in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. 

Decoupling of services has been a successful trend for Microsoft, i.e. Power Platform, Microsoft Teams, Stream, Yammer, Infopath, etc, allowing deeper integrations and scalability. We’re witnessing the decoupling of SharePoint Lists to meet the demands of a larger Microsoft 365 audience.  

So what do I need to do today?

In short, nothing. 

Okay, that’s not entirely true, but we don’t think most of you need to stress about Microsoft Lists today. We do encourage you to stay informed. Let’s see what comes from Ignite, and give Microsoft Lists some time to flush out any of the first release issues. 

If you’re looking at something a SharePoint list can’t do well now, such as good calendaring, check out Microsoft Lists and see if they have solved the gap. But if you’re working with existing SharePoint lists or plan to work on a new project that utilizes SharePoint lists, carry on. We are excited to experiment with the new lists and will be sure to keep you updated. 

How to prepare?

As we see Microsoft Lists mature, we look forward to learning more about the migration paths. It’s too soon to know how Microsoft will release Lists and what their integration will look like. This is a good reminder that since Microsoft 365 is an ever-evolving and changing product, we highly recommend that you create and maintain a development/testing tenant that’s set to use the targeted-release version so you can track and test changes before they are released to all sites. 

Check out the Lists demo, read through the use cases, and start thinking about how your organization can Microsoft Lists to the fullest. Now is the time to begin planning for any changes to governance that may also be necessary around this tool. 

Here’s a list of resources if you’d like to learn more about Microsoft Lists: 

Have more questions? Want to discuss a project you’re working on that you think should include Microsoft Lists? Let’s chat!

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