10 tips to get started with Microsoft Teams

With evolving tools to connect and collaborate, each team needs to plan how to work together and organizations need to think about how to support team work

10 tips to get started with Microsoft Teams
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In November 2011, I wrote a blog post called SharePoint User Adoption Strategy: Team Member “Service Level Agreement.” In that post, I talked about how important it is to start off any project with a shared agreement about how the team is going to work together, including how to organize, tag, and name files in the SharePoint team site. With today’s exciting announcement of the general availability of Microsoft Teams, I offer some updates to that post to ensure that your organization gets the most value out of Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams provides a great way for teams who want a chat experience to connect. If you have been using Slack or another chat tool, you will really love Teams and will probably find some new capabilities that will make your teamwork even more productive.

+ Also on Network World: 4 reasons Microsoft Teams will kill Slack… and 4 reasons it won’t +

But if you have been successfully using SharePoint for team collaboration in the past, you may have to do a little adjusting to figure out how to best take advantage of Teams. That’s what I hope to provide with these tips.

The user interface for interacting with Files in the Teams app is different from the document library experience in SharePoint. It’s not a bad experience; it’s just different. And this means now, more than ever, each team needs to establish some norms and conventions for file organization at the start of each project (or establishment of each Team) and each organization needs to establish some ground rules to ensure that your Teams don’t become the wild, wild west.

Here’s a summary of the tips, each of which are explained in more detail below. They are loosely organized based on audience. The first four tips address general Teams planning for the entire organization. The remaining tips are primarily for Team owners.

  1. Look before you leap: Before you create a new Microsoft Team or Office 365 Group, see if one already exists.
  2. A rose by any other name: Think about naming conventions for Groups and Teams.
  3. A Team is a Team and it’s also a Group: If you have an existing Group and want to leverage Teams, be sure to connect the Team and Group at set up.
  4. Don’t cross the streams: Create a new Team for each project.
  5. Plan a little but not too much: Do a little up front planning with your team to identify some initial channels—but don’t go overboard.
  6. Hands off Shared Documents: Try to avoid customizing the default Documents (i.e. Shared%20Documents) library in your Team-connected SharePoint site.
  7. Files vs. Files: Understand the different user experiences for interacting with files in the Teams vs. SharePoint interfaces—and plan accordingly.
  8. Tab it! Determine your “go to” user experience for files, but make it easy see the big picture.
  9. Make the connection two-way: Create a link to your Team from SharePoint.
  10. Don’t keep it to yourself! Share your tips, ideas, and questions in the Microsoft Tech Community
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