Top 10 tips for getting the most from Microsoft Teams

Categories: Productivity
Tags: Microsoft

Microsoft Teams is the Office 365 teamwork hub, incorporating features to help improve team working, and develop and progress projects more quickly and efficiently.

Enabling collaboration in real-time, features include workspace chat, note taking, and file sharing, with businesses able to integrate additional technologies – such as Microsoft Planner (the project planning app) and GitHub (the code development hosting and review platform).

Microsoft Teams has the potential to transform team working within any organisation, and below we’ve put together our top 10 tips to help any business get the most from Teams:

1. Avoid Team duplication

Teams doesn’t check for duplication, so advice is to check to see whether one already exists for the same purpose before setting up a Team. This is particularly important if utilising self-service creation for Teams and Office 365 Groups.

2. Don’t forget that a Team is also an (Office 365) Group

Office 365 Groups is another application created to help improve collaboration within the workplace, utilising Office 365 tools to enable employees to work together more closely when creating documents, working on project plans, or scheduling meetings.

Groups can be set up from various tools, including Outlook, SharePoint, or Planner – and Teams, because a Group is automatically generated on the creation of a new Team.

For owners of an existing Group wanting to add a Team, connect the Group to the Team, as otherwise a further Group will be created with the same name, but different ID number.

3. Define naming conventions

Sometimes difficult to enforce if allowing self-service Team creation as it requires a good communication ethos to be established across the business, defining naming conventions for both Teams and Groups is advised. This can be supported to a certain extent through the Admin Center, and – for example – by blocking use of certain words, or defining specific suffixes or prefixes to be applied.

4. Create a Team for each project

Giving each project its own Team, makes it easier for team members to stay focused on that particular project, as well as easier to find and to organise relevant documents. This is particularly important when employees are working on numerous projects – and will become even more vital when Microsoft Teams is updated to enable external users to join a Team.

5. Set up channels with care

Channels help keep team conversations organized, and are dedicated to defined topics, projects – whatever’s needed. Advice is to not create too many channels at the outset, but to add on as the project develops, as each channel has its own Files tab in the Team’s documents library and setting up channels which remain empty creates redundant tabs through which employees may find themselves searching for documents.

6. Don’t customise shared document libraries

It’s recommended to avoid tailoring the default documents library. This can be utilised for general use sharing, facilitating access to all who need these shared documents. Customised document libraries can be established on the Teams site for team-relevant files.     

7. Train team members to use ‘folders’

Team members moving from SharePoint to Teams will need to change the way they interact with files, and in particular learn to work with folders, an integral element of the Microsoft Teams platform.

8. Create a consistent user file experience

Connection to files in Teams is via the Teams chat facility or through the team site in SharePoint. By creating tabs using SharePoint for all document libraries on the Team site and a tab with the Website tab connector on the Team site, all Team members will be able to see new files regardless of where they’re created.

9. Ensure connections are two-way

Two-way connections between Teams and SharePoint are created by devising a link to the Teams team on SharePoint, copying the URL of the Teams team and adding it to the Quick Launch links. This link will open the Team when Microsoft Teams is accessed.

10. Share the Teams experience!

Share tips, ideas and issues with the Microsoft Tech Community. As a self-help forum it can be invaluable, plus Microsoft takes feedback and comment very seriously. As Microsoft Teams rolls out to an ever-greater number of organisations, the greater the potential for ever-widening feedback – and which can only help businesses experience ever greater benefit from the platform.

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