Earlier this year Microsoft released its brand new and shiny collaboration tool “Teams”, that’s expected to ultimately replace Skype For Business. Not only Microsoft was wildly enthusiastic about this new addition to the Office 365 productivity suite, lots of organizations and users have embraced the chat-based digital workspace.
SoHo Dragon is a 100% Microsoft shop, so we obviously have started playing around with Microsoft Teams as well. So, are you wondering if it’s worth your time and energy to dive into this tool together with your team/department; we’re happy to give you a quick overview of some of Teams’ best capabilities, functionalities, features, and best-practices.
Ready? Set. GO!
1. Teams – Channels – Conversations
Teams is Microsoft’s collaboration showpiece and they’ve got good reasons for that! It’s very user-friendly and easy to set up, but there’s also a pitfall of Teams becoming a messy maze. Because, when should you create a new Team, Channel or Conversation? Out of our experiences, here’s a simple rule of thumb:
- * Create a Team for each department (1)
- * Create Channels inside those Teams for each project (2)
- * Start a new Conversation in the Channel for each topic (3) and make sure people hit “reply” under each conversation to prevent messages from floating around in your Channel without context
It’ll all depend on how your company is organized and how you’d like to leverage Teams, but it’s important to put together a governance plan and deploy the tool in phases.
2. Mentioning Team Mates in Chat
When you’re chatting inside a Channel, you can mention people to draw their attention to the conversation with ease and velocity. The mentioned person will receive a notification, and the message in which his/her name is mentioned will have an @ symbol show up to the right of that message.
3. Meetings User Interface
Teams offers the option to schedule meetings inside the application, and it automatically loads in your Skype For Business meetings. One thing that really stands out is the user interface, definitely when you compare this to Skype For Business’ look and feel. At a glance, you see who’s invited, which invitees accepted or denied the meeting, and it shows you the notes that came with the invite right away.
4. Sharing, Viewing & Editing Files
When working in Teams, you can share files the way you’re used to with any other Microsoft technology. What’s new and exceptional is that you don’t have to switch over to another application if you want to view or edit the content. Once you’ve selected the file you need, you get the option to “Edit in Teams”, “Edit in Word” (or Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), or “Edit in Word Online”.
5. Urge to Improve: Prompt Request to Give Feedback After Calls
When you’ve completed a (video) call in Teams, you’re prompted to send direct feedback to Microsoft about the quality of the (video) call. They’ll ask you to rate the quality from 1-5 stars, and if you give 4 or fewer stars you’ll be given the option to specify what caused the lack of satisfaction in a quick radio-select one-question survey. This shows Microsoft understands there’s always room for improvement, and they’ve done a great job in making it convenient for the user to send feedback.
Is Microsoft Teams battle-hardened and can you get rid of Skype For Business today? No, I wouldn’t recommend doing so, but Microsoft did do a great job building a chat-based collaboration tool that brings together many of Microsoft’s productivity tools in one user-friendly digital workplace. The overall user experience is smooth and simple, and Microsoft seems to be on the right track. If you already are on board with Office 365 for your business, definitely start using this tool for direct communication, internal meetings, and easy file-sharing today!