Microsoft Teams is a collaboration and communication platform that brings together chat, video conferencing, file storage, and app integration in one place. It allows teams to work together in real-time, whether they are in the same office or working remotely, and makes it easy to share files, collaborate on documents, and hold virtual meetings. Teams provides a central hub for team communication and collaboration, allowing team members to stay connected and informed about the latest updates and tasks. It integrates with other Microsoft 365 apps, such as OneDrive, SharePoint, and Outlook, to provide a seamless experience for users.
Video tutorials are a great way to get started. Microsoft Teams official guides:
Microsoft Teams Tutorial in 10 min
Before You Start: How to Structure Your Teams
Microsoft Teams Deep Dive
Why Use Microsoft Teams over Email?
Microsoft Teams offers several advantages over email for team collaboration and communication:
Real-time communication: Teams allows team members to communicate in real-time via instant messaging and video conferencing, enabling faster decision-making and problem-solving.
Contextual conversations: Teams enables team members to have conversations in specific channels or threads, keeping discussions organised and easy to follow.
Collaborative features: Teams offers a range of collaboration features, such as the ability to share files, co-author documents, and work together on projects in real-time.
Centralised platform: Teams provides a centralised platform for team communication and collaboration, reducing the need for team members to switch between different tools and applications.
Mobile accessibility: Teams can be accessed via desktop or mobile devices, enabling team members to stay connected and productive even when they’re away from their desk.
Security and compliance: Teams offers advanced security and compliance features, such as data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and compliance with industry regulations and standards.
While email still has its place in many organizations, Teams can be a more effective and efficient tool for team communication and collaboration, particularly for larger teams or projects where real-time communication and collaboration are critical.
Creating and Managing Teams
The general process for creating and managing Microsoft Teams can be broken down into several steps. This is mainly a step-by-step guide for the team owner to follow. If you are not the team owner, look into steps 1 and 4 only. If you are the team owner, it will be helpful to lay out how you want your teams to be structured. Make sure to watch the tutorial video on how to structure your teams.
1. Create a new team (or join an existing one)
To create a new team, go to the Teams app and click “Join or create a team” in the bottom left corner of the screen. Select “Create a team” and choose the type of team you want to create (e.g. a team for a specific project or department). Follow the prompts to set up your team.
If you want to join an existing team, you can search for it and join as long as it’s public. If it’s a private team, and the owner hasn’t enabled discoverability, you won’t be able to search for it: you would need to contact the team owner directly to request access.
There are different roles and capabilities that are helpful to know:
Team owners manage certain settings for the team. They add and remove members, add guests, change team settings, and handle administrative tasks. There can be multiple owners in a team.
Members are the people in the team. They talk with other team members in conversations. They can view and usually upload and change files. They also do the usual sorts of collaboration that the team owners have permitted.
Guests are people from outside of your organization that a team owner invites, such as partners or consultants to join the team. Guests have fewer capabilities than team members or team owners, but there’s still a lot they can do.
Make sure to know who your team owner is so that you can contact them if you run into issues with your account.
5. Manage the team
As the owner of the team, you have various management options. You can manage team settings, create new channels, and manage team members. You can also set up governance policies to control how your team uses Microsoft Teams.
6. Evaluate and optimise
Evaluate the effectiveness of your team by monitoring how it’s being used, collecting feedback from team members, and making changes as needed. You can optimise the team’s performance by using features like analytics and productivity tools.
Best Practices for Teams
By following these best practices, you can help your team use Microsoft Teams effectively and efficiently:
1. Use channels to organise conversations
Create channels within your team for specific topics or projects to keep conversations organised and easy to find.
4. Share files and collaborate on documents
Use the Files tab to share files with your team and the Teams integration with other Microsoft 365 apps like OneDrive and SharePoint to collaborate on documents.