Microsoft Teams has been around for few years but the general release was in 2017. I have been using Teams since from it’s release and I immediately fell in love with the application and saw its potential. I find many things quite cool and neat but in this post I am going to pick out some examples from my day to day work and how I use #Teams. The following is in no particular order nor is it an exhausintg list, I just wanted to share these toughts with all of you out there.
Setup a new team for each project
This is prpably the most common use of #Teams i.e. creating a new team for each of your projects. The team will basically have every thing that you might need to share information and collaborate with your fellow team members. With the tight integration to #SharePoint file storage and sharing has very rich functionality. Create a Wiki tab with all the vital information, a tab with the on-site schedule (yes that was done back in the days). You can just about add what ever you like to your team channels, you could even go as far as setting up shifts and schedules if that is needed in your project, see here for details.
Group chats and pin them to the top
Group chats with a focus group is a very effective and robust means of communication between people working towards the same goal. This choice has many benefits over endless emails and an ever growing email chain. One if the biggest benefits is adding new member(s). When new members are added to the group with the option to share the whole conversation history new members can see all the comms in one place. They get access to all files that have been shared, screenshots, video chat recordings and much more. This is also a very good way to have an ad-hoc call with part of the group or all of them without scheduling a meeting.
Someone might ask, why not create a team and chanels for that? Well that is off course absolutelly fine too and this all comes down to what we are used to, this is just how I have used #Teams with great success. I find group chats to be very useful for a specific sub area in a project, especially when I have been working on large enterprise projects. Topic examples:
- Monthly releases
- Go-live preparation
- Testing, such as UAT
- Social and sharing funny GIFS and videos 🙂
Working in multiple tenants/domains
Many of us work for two or more clients at each time. This along with our organisations Teams application we are now juggling three different accounts and in some cases we need to be active on them all at the same time. This is where the web user interface comes in handy. I tend to use the desktop application for the account with the most activity at each time, this can quite possibly be a clients account. I then log on to the desktop application with the bussiest account and for the remaining accounts in also need to be logged in on I do the using one browser session/profile for each #Teams account.
Set some ground rules in the beginning e.g. we don’t need use the video camera for all calls
This is also a part of a bigger picture in projects and comes down to the Ways Of Working, WOW, in any given project. But as #Teams has become our number one application to collaorate and basically conduct our work setting a common understanding on #Teams WOW is a good idea and I have found this to have a very positive impact on the team.
The web camera
Not everyone are comfortable being on video all the time in each and every meeting/call. Agreeing on that it is OK to not use the web camera might be like lifting a piano from someones chest, OK this might be bit too much but you get the point.
Be on time all the time
Ask people to respect each others time and attend to calls and meetings on time. This is off course not something just for #Teams but is just as important as with meetings in other forms. I heard Bill Gates once say “Time is our most valuable asset and we should not waste it. Time is the only thing I can’t buy more of“. This stuck with me but unlike Mr. Gates there are many other things I can’t buy both because I don’t have as much money as the Gates, but my wife also gives me “the look” when I buy tech stuff :).
What content can we share and more importantly what not to share or post
This depends on your fellow team/group members off course, you most likely don’t post the same jokes and pictures in a project team/group as you would do with your high-school friends. It is also important to mention topics that are not to be discussed e.g. politics and religion. The same goes for the content or media that you want or won’t people to share and post. This
Use the Wiki tab for practical information
Using the Wiki is an excellent way to gather all the practical information a team member might need regarding to a project. The Wiki simply contains all the information that team members want to share with others and it is a very good idea to let the Wiki be everyones responsibility to maintain. Common topics I have seen in my projects
- Important dates and milestones
- Roles and responsibilities
- Contact information
- Listing the important documents e.g. the contract or statement of work
- If people need to travel have a section on hotels and transportation
- Useful links
- The project mission statement
- Technical information such as environments, virtual machines
- Help desk information
- And much more