The tools that Microsoft supplies often have templates to show us what can be done. Take SharePoint as example, early on Microsoft released the Fabulous 40, which turned out to be a mess for migrations since admins began using the templates to construct sites directly from the template. Microsoft really never intended that the templates be used in this way but human nature being what it is admins began to use these instead of starting from scratch. Microsoft soon found that these templates were not ready for the next version of SharePoint and for good or ill, removed the ability to include them in the migration path.

New Product Old Issues

Fast forward several years and Microsoft has created Flow to help with business level workflow creation. One of the nice things about Flow is that there are hundreds of connectors and templates to choose from. These templates are not all created by Microsoft, many are user submitted and take advantage of the various web based systems available.

I was tasked with looking at some integration between ToDo, Planner and Outlook tasks. There is a template specific to this so I chose to create the Flow from the template, which seemed reasonable to me. In testing with creating a task it would create the task but fail if I added any dates such as date due. The error indicated that the time zone was not set. I tried every combination of variable in the Flow but nothing worked.

The answer is not obvious

I spent some time being frustrated and finally found the answer. Apparently when the template was created by MS the time zone is set to null and a good way to verify this is to export the Flow then look at the contents of the zip file created. Once I recreated the Flow from a blank template all worked as expected.

The upshot of this is that I would highly recommend that if you get odd messages from a Flow then you should start from a blank template and use the predefined templates as guides.

I would like to think the problem is that these are examples not templates since that would imply that the NULL value was put in on purpose to avoid the issue of templates that occurred with the Fab 40. I don’t think that is the case however, I think that the templates that were posted by MS were not adequately tested prior to posting. If that is not the case I would appreciate someone from Microsoft correcting me on this.

Live long and Prosper,


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