10 tips for teams blog

10 tips for getting the most out of Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams has the potential to transform the way teams within any organisation work. It brings together different elements of team working such as workspace chat and note taking and integrates them with the Office 365 platform, including Skype.

Microsoft Teams makes it possible for teams to work together and liaise in real time, to develop projects more quickly and efficiently by sharing files, notes and attachments, and also enables an organisation to integrate other technologies such as Planner Power and GitHub into the workspace, so team working methods can develop and evolve over time. 

Here are 10 top tips to ensure you get the most out of Microsoft Teams:

1. Avoid Team duplication

Before you set up a new Microsoft Team, check to see whether another team already exists to do the same thing. This is particularly important if you allow for the self-service creation of Teams and Office 365 Groups as the Microsoft Teams software doesn’t check for duplicate team names, and the result could be confusion. One way around this potential problem is to set up a review of all new Groups or Teams one day after they are created to catch the issue early. 

2. Naming conventions

Having a strong naming convention for Teams and Groups is a good idea, but it can be tough to enforce if you allow for self-service Team creation. Enforcing naming conventions across your organisation will still rely on good communication but you can automate it to an extent through the Office 365 Admin Center by blocking certain words from being used or specifying certain suffixes and prefixes to apply to all Group or Team names. 

3. Remember a Team is also a Group!

Every Team is also a Group. When you create a new Team you will also create a new Group. If you are already the owner of a Group and you need to add a new Team, remember to connect it to your Group otherwise it will automatically create another Group with the same name as an existing Group but a different ID number. 

4. Give each project its own Team 

You may have some of the same people working on different projects, but it is important to ensure that each project has its own Team. This makes it easier for your Teams to stay focused as well as to find and organise documents, and it will become even more important when Microsoft Teams is updated to allow external users to join a Team. 

5. Don’t overdo the planning

A little upfront planning to establish initial channels is a good idea, but don’t overdo it. Each channel has its own Files tab in the Team’s documents library. Setting up a channel which then remains empty adds to the number of tabs that people have to search through to find documents. Better to start with a few channels and add new channels as the project evolves.

6. Leave shared documents alone

It’s a good idea to avoid customising the default documents library and use this for general use sharing of files so that its easy for everyone to access and use these shared documents. For more advanced content, you can set up tailored document libraries on the team site. 

7. Files versus files

If your team members are switching to Microsoft Teams from SharePoint, they will need to change the way they interact with files. In particular, team members need to get used to the idea of using folders, which are an integral part of the Microsoft Teams platform. 

8. Aim for a consistent user file experience

With Microsoft Teams it is possible to use two interfaces to connect to files – through the Teams chat facility or through the team site in SharePoint. If you create tabs using SharePoint for every document library on your Team site and another tab with the Website tab connector on the Team site, this will ensure that all members of the Team will be able to see new files wherever they are created.

9. Make connections two-way

You can make a two-way connection between your Team and SharePoint by creating a link to the Teams team on SharePoint, copying the URL of the Teams team and add it to the Quick Launch links. This link will then open the Team when you access Microsoft Teams. 

10. Share your experiences

It’s important to share tips, ideas and issue with the Microsoft Tech Community. As Microsoft Teams rolls out to more and more organisations, there is the potential for ever-widening feedback which can help you to get more out of the platform.

If you'd like to know more about Microsoft Teams or the wider Office 365 Suite, please call a member of the Cobweb Team on 0333 009 5941 or email hello@cobweb.com