Microsoft Teams Best Practices To Help Your Business Do More
Microsoft Teams Best Practices To Help Your Business Do More
A lot of organizations have adopted Microsoft Teams over the last number of years. What are some of the Microsoft Teams best practices that people should be using as they implement Teams in their organization?
First, Teams is really easy to adopt. And one of the mistakes a lot of organizations make is they allow it to be a free-for-all.
People get in there and they want to play with it. They start creating teams, they start creating channels, and before you know it, you just have this big mess on your hands.
You have data all over the place. You don’t know where things are. That’s why it needs to be implemented in a controlled way.
And there are two sides to doing that. One is that you should always have an internal champion. That’s somebody responsible for knowing when to create a team and what the company’s goals are with the product. That person has an idea of what tools you’re trying to consolidate and what kind of work environment you’re trying to create. That person knows your team structures, for example, within the organization.
Where to Start with Microsoft Teams Best Practices
The easiest way to get people used to using the tool is to start with a single team. One large organizational team, especially for small or medium-sized businesses. In that environment, you can learn how the tool works more organically.
As you see needs, for example, you can start peeling different conversations off into channels within Teams. And then you can get fancier after that. Instead of just turning it on and setting people free to use it as they see fit, you can have a strategy going into it.
That’s especially true when it comes to the actual data, like the documents themselves. If you intend to use Teams for a lot of document collaboration, every team has an associated SharePoint site.
You don’t want to have data across all these SharePoint sites. If people leave the organization, you can have orphaned teams with vital information that you’ve paid people to create sitting someplace where nobody can find it.
The biggest challenge we’ve seen is when a team has been created for every possible thing you could imagine. It’s not manageable and it gets really messy, and after a while. It gets out of hand and requires a lot of time and energy to clean that up.
We’ve seen organizations with 16 people that have 10 teams. Why would a small organization need that many teams?
There may be exceptions, but in general, you probably want to start with one and then maybe have a channel for specific teams.
If there’s no reason to segregate it, if you’re not worried about people seeing other people’s conversations or accessing data, there’s no reason to sprawl everything out across your organization.
Segmenting the Organization for Microsoft Teams Best Practices
The most common way to segregate organizations within Teams is by department. Sometimes you’ll need even smaller subsections of teams. A lot of that has to do with how your organization works.
You might have a committee, for example. Maybe you want to have departments, but then you have a marketing committee or a standards committee, or a group of people that have a particular goal or agenda.
Whether or not that requires its own team or a channel within a team, it’s just a way of organizing conversations.
If you wanted to keep all your standards conversations about your company’s standards, or policies, or marketing, in their own channels, you could do it that way. Or you can actually have a whole other team with restricted membership. It depends really on the organization.
Teams Vs. Channels: What’s the Difference?
You can assign permissions and people to channels as well as Teams, but let’s elaborate on the differences a little more.
By default, a channel is just a bucket or a way of organizing conversations and documents in its own little segregated spot. More recently, however, Microsoft released the ability to lock down channels.
It used to be simpler, in that if you were a member of a team, you could see all of the channels in that team and choose your notification level as a user. It was a way for people to control what noise they get from the application, but not necessarily restrict access to the information.
The ability to lock channels changed things. Now you can actually say, for example, that only these three people are allowed in this channel. This has made the channel organization a little bit more like its own team.
The other difference is that every team has a dedicated SharePoint site. Again, a channel will have a locked folder in the SharePoint site as opposed to its own SharePoint site. And there are advantages to both.
If you create a channel instead of a team, for example, it creates folders within the SharePoint site. And it’s easier to manage another folder than it is to manage yet another SharePoint site.
It’s also easier from a user’s perspective.
All of your communications are in one place. You’re not flipping back and forth within the application across multiple teams.
If one person is part of five teams, it’s really difficult to manage your notifications or to see what’s going on. It’s much easier if it’s all in one place. So stay simple first and only expand as required.
CopperTree’s Microsoft Teams Best Practices
At CopperTree, we’re always focused on finding ways to leverage technology. We want to help our clients move their business forward and really increase efficiency and collaboration within their company.
Microsoft Teams is an area where we’ve seen a lot of opportunities. However, we’ve also seen a lot of organizations struggling a little bit with it.
A lot of companies are using some aspects. Maybe they’re using it for internal messaging and external meetings and things like that. But they’re not really digging in and leveraging it fully.
Alternatively, they’ve opened it up and people are using it, but nobody’s really managing it. And there’s no clear strategy on how to use it.
Implementing Teams According to Your Business Goals
At CopperTree, as part of our vCIO services or strategic planning services, we work with our clients to understand what they are really trying to achieve as an organization.
What are your goals? What are your plans? And then we look at Teams and we find ways to manage it.
Let’s put a strategy in place and set up the proper Teams and the proper channels. We’ll implement it in a way that is manageable over time and it doesn’t become this kind of monster that gets away.
If your organization is trying to find better ways to leverage Teams, or if you’re looking at best practices, talk to your IT partner. That might be somebody internally or an outside organization that you work with.
Ask them to help you implement some of these best practices and make sure you have a clear strategy as you go into the adoption of Teams.