Rules to Better Microsoft Teams - 27 Rules
Microsoft Teams offers a great solution to collaboration using the Office 365 platform. Get ready for a productivity boost, better focus on your work, and increased transparency.
If you still need help, visit our Microsoft Teams consulting page and book in a consultant.
Microsoft Teams is a great tool for a group of people to collaborate, communicate and share their files.
Teams makes it easy to:
- Centralize communication
- Send emails to Team members easily and quickly by providing a global email address for the Team
- Move away from email attachments and centralize documents
Take charge of communication in your Team and get started with Microsoft Teams. This video will guide you through your first few steps with Teams using the simple example of a building at 81 Military Road:
Once invited to a Team, follow these steps:
- Go to your inbox and find the invitation email
- Click on "Open Microsoft Teams"
- Sign-in Note: you can use the Desktop, Web or Mobile apps to access Teams
- Navigate your Teams & Channels! 👌✔
Microsoft Teams also integrates with hundreds of Microsoft and third party products, such as Trello, OneNote, Planner, etc.
Client Teams should be prefixed with “Client –“ so it is easier to identify them.
It's usually easier for users to remember where given information is when it is associated with an image/icon. This is especially true for non-technical people or the ones that are not very familiar with digital workspaces.
An easy and fun way to alleviate this issue and boost user adoption to Microsoft Teams is to use Emojis in your channel names (using Windows Key + .)!
Sending appointments from Teams feels less natural than from Outlook but there are some great benefits:
- Appointment - You don’t need to remember everyone’s name - The whole team is invited
- Appointment - In the appointment, it auto-generates a link so that everyone goes to the right place to attend
- Visibility - It shows up in Teams Calendar
- Visibility - It appears in the Teams chat (for the channel that was invited)
- Visibility – When the appointment is beginning the app pops up with a button to “Join”
- History - If you decide to record the meeting, the link to the recording shows up in the chat history as well
Important: Although the meeting app works great to organize Teamwork such as Scrum meetings or other client meetings, it is not very suitable for more global events such as a retreat or a conference. At SSW we use Microsoft Outlook appointments in those instances.
To setup a Teams meeting, simply navigate to "Calendar" and then either "Meet Now" or "New Meeting".
You can select a Channel to meet in and by doing so, members of the Team in which this channel lives will see a Channel activity that you can click to directly jump in the meeting.
Microsoft Teams will also send out an email invitation email for the meeting - this is especially useful when inviting people outside your organization.
When joining a new team, it's easy to be lost and not know when the important meetings are (like the Daily Scrum, or the next Sprint Review). Broadly, use Teams as the appointment source (rather than Outlook) then the benefit is that you can have a tab where you see it in the context of the team. Then, when a new member joins a Team they do not have to go looking for the appointment, and can easily join the call.
- Open up the Team's SharePoint site (you can find this easily by going to the Files tab and clicking Open in SharePoint)
- Go to the SharePoint site's Home page (from the menu on the left)
- Add a new page
- Add a Group Calendar web part to the page
- Publish the page
- In Teams, click add a new SharePoint tab to the Team
- Select the newly published SharePoint page
- Click Save
- All done, now all you need to do is setup some meetings for the channel (see rule: Do you know how to create recurring teams meetings for a channel?)! 😀
Make sure you pick "SharePoint" tab (as opposed to "Website" tab) for best possible integration:
Suggestion to Microsoft: This is an unnecessary extra hoop to jump through. If you create an appointment from a Team then this tab should be automatically created.
Warning: Only the organizer of a meeting can make changes to it and Teams offers no ability to transfer ownership of that meeting. To be fair you also can’t change meeting owners in Exchange.
Everyone in your organisation should be able to see meetings that are relevant to their team. Recurring meetings must be setup correctly so that they are associated with a team channel. This process lets others in your organisation see the meetings associated with that channel.
- Navigate to Microsoft Teams | Calendar | New Meeting
- Enter the details of the meeting, make sure to add a channel to associate with it!
- Hit save and you are done, your meeting is all setup.
The status message is often not used but can be quite helpful. People can instantly see what you are up to when they chat with you.
It tells people 3 things:
- What project you’re working on
- The people that you need to speak to (they will get the notifications)
- The location of where you are
To update the status message, follow these steps:
- On the top right, click on your photo
- Click on the pencil icon to edit the status message
The status message is helpful when it contains:
- Project: xxx (the product/project you’re working on) | yyy (the tasks you’re working on)
- Need: xxx (team members that you’re working with – use @mention to tag these members)
- Location: xxx (where you’re working from e.g. Home, SSW Melbourne, CBA, etc.)
Note: the benefit of using the field names with the colon is that it allows you to programmatically extract the information e.g. on SSW SophieBot when you ask who is Patrick, you could also see this information and query why the location field is different from the Wi-Fi he is connected to.
- Enable “Show when people message me”
- For “Clear status message after”, select Never (to prevent Microsoft from deleting the status message)
- Click Done once complete
Every phone number should include the country code (with the + sign) so people in another country can call/text without having to look for the special numbers to go international. Make sure you always set your mobile number in the correct format.
Bad example: (503) 629-4000 (missing international format)
OK example: +1 (503) 629-4000 (don't need brackets)
Good example: +1 503 629 4000 (do need spaces)
Note: In Australia, mobile numbers are in the format +61 4XX XXX XXX
There is a myriad of options to choose from when storing and sharing documents: SharePoint, or OneDrive/Dropbox/Google Drive, or Microsoft Teams. The best choice is Microsoft Teams because it brings together the best of SharePoint, cloud file storage, real time collaboration and more into a single location.
Warwick Leahy tells us why it's so important to save our files in the right place:
Want to learn more? Watch Jean Thirion's longer video on this topic:
Don't start searching from your start menu either for a program whether that be Notepad, Notepad++, OneNote or even Word. This will open the new file locally on your laptop which requires manual copying/sharing later. It's easy to forget to do.
Instead create your file in the Team for a start. It is immediately backed up and shared to the entire Team.
The great thing about having conversations next to the file is that it is always in context. Also, future users can view the conversation when they open the file in teams.
Behind the scenes, storage is provided by a SharePoint site; so that is there if you want to use it. As an added bonus thanks to this; you can take the files offline by syncing with OneDrive for Business and by default each channel gets its own folder.
Note If you realise later that you have created a client document and not saved it to Teams but have uploaded it to Onedrive instead then to keep the file history you should Sync Teams to your drive and copy the file locally. This will keep the file version history. Uploading the file in Teams loses that history so you may end up with an old client Team containing notes that appear to be new.
- For developers,
- For designers with large files, OneDrive is a better choice. See: Do you know the best Source Control for Designers?
Documents with user names and passwords should not be stored in Microsoft Teams. Security is very important for everyone and every company. Use a password manager to store usernames and passwords.
Note: API keys, whether generic or for the individual should also be stored in a password manager.
Note: You can add other cloud storage providers for file storage e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.
This is not recommended - as they aren't first-class citizens i.e. if you want to share files from them, you need to go to the provider's sharing settings outside of Teams.
Warning: By using Teams instead of SharePoint, you are losing a number of key features:
- No full fidelity support for Metadata in Document Libraries e.g. can’t add extra columns into the “Files” tab
- No support for private channels e.g. you will need a team per subset of users with different permissions
- No direct access to version history from Teams UI (still exists on SharePoint UI)
- No access to the cross-office365 Search feature e.g. SharePoint search is better (see video: https://youtu.be/TiWzzdASVWE)
- No access to external content in the search feature e.g. can’t search rules.ssw.com.au
- No access to SharePoint designer workflows (although the new way to do it is Microsoft Flow)
Microsoft Teams gives you the ability to sync your files to File Explorer. A lot of people don't realize this feature exits. Let's see how to do this.
Instead of going to Teams | Files to upload or find a file, you can:
- Find you Team folder in Teams
- Open the folder in SharePoint
- Click Sync (signed on OneDrive)
- Done - a new folder will be available in your File Explorer
Now you can manage your files just as a normal document in your machine.
Warning: If you don't want to be part of that Team anymore, don't delete the folder in File Explorer - This will sync with Teams and remove the files there too. You should go to OneDrive | Settings | Stop Sync.
Have you ever made a spelling mistake when you named a Teams channel? Have you then tried to rename the Channel? If so you will notice that the underlying SharePoint folder is still named incorrectly.
There is a workaround to rename the folder correctly.
Rename the Team channel.
::: greyboxNote: This hasn't changed the name of the folder in SharePoint!:::
Delete the channel
Now in SharePoint we can rename the folder.
Make sure that you rename the folder exactly the same as you named the channel.
Click the ellipses beside the Team name | Manage Team.
Click Channels | Select the arrow beside deleted | Choose restore beside the channel that you wish to restore.
When you're having a discussion about the Northwind ordering system that you're building, you need to see your backlog, and of course, it would be handy to see a OneNote diagram of the workflow. It might also be handy to see an Excel spreadsheet of the stakeholders and testers.
What separates Teams from other chat programs, such as Slack and Skype, is the ability to add Tabs to your conversations.
The number of tabs is really broad and starts with the standard Microsoft products such as Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. You can also create tabs using Trello, YouTube, Zendesk, and more. The usefulness of this feature cannot be understated – it is so handy to have all your work items in one place.
Some information sent via email, such as an event agenda will often be accessed multiple times by recipients. Instead of having to search through your mailbox every time you need the details of an invitation, if you are using Microsoft Teams you can easily set up a page as a tab inside your Team.
A SharePoint page can also have dynamic content such as Document Library views, Youtube players, and much more. You can even embed your own custom web parts, rendered in Teams with full fidelity.
To set up a SharePoint Page as a Tab in Teams, follow these steps:
- Navigate to SharePoint:
- Create a SharePoint page
- Customize it
- Publish it (tips: you can even share it via Email or Promote it as a News)
- Go To Teams and Add new Tab
- Select “SharePoint”
- Select the page you just published and hit “save”
Tasking out work means adding it to the backlog. Adding it to the backlog has project management benefits and is easy to do if you have a tab for VSTS in the channel.
TODO: Have the bot listen in on the conversations to remind you about the rule
You should use OneNote instead of the default Wiki. This way you can use it offline on your mobile apps.
Note: Rename the tab to show that it is a OneNote Tab. E.g.: " OneNote - SSW Reno Sydney "
Microsoft Teams search is designed to help you quickly find the files you are collaborating on.
From the main search box, you can search for:
If you start typing in the search box, you will see a dropdown with the main results that matches your query divided by type, prioritizing Teams and Channels:
Tip: Apart from the little heading, as per the image above, you can recognize a Teams result when it only shows up the title, while a Channel result shows the title with the name of the associated Team underneath.
Once you hit "enter", you will be directed to all results, separated by Messages, People, and Files tabs:
Tip: After hiting "enter", to see the Teams and Channels results, simply click the search box again.
You may use built-in filters to refine your search under each of the tabs:
Important: Even though Teams search gives you quick access to all your messages and documents; the search is scoped to Teams only, which means you cannot search for files hosted on SharePoint, OneDrive, other Office365 products (E.g. Delve/UserProfile), or external sources (E.g. sugarlearning.com).
When you need to do a more extensive search, it is advised to use SharePoint search instead.
Imagine you’ve been on vacation for several weeks (lucky you!) and on returning you want to see what’s been happening in your project in your absence. If your project used a “team” within Microsoft Teams, you’d easily be able to review the team’s conversations and progress. You’d be able to see what issues have arisen and where the team has been spending their time.
A "team" is a great way for teams to communicate and have a persistent forum to share information and discuss project related topics. The extensibility of a team also allows the addition of tabs that integrate with 3rd party applications to bring timely and relevant information into the team site. This allows team members to see at a glance what has been happening on the project.
You can also add Bots to communicate on your channel, or even better, Connectors! You can add Connectors that, for example, notify you of any new pull requests in Azure DevOps or GitHub. Microsoft used to have several social media Connectors, but these have been retired. It is possible, but more difficult, to add social media notifications with Power Automate, or with a third-party service such as IFTTT.
To: All Developers
Subject: What’s been happening on SSWTimePro in the last couple of weeks
Hi Devs, I’ve been away for a couple of weeks. Can you tell me what’s the latest?
Figure: Bad example - Broad email asking what’s been happening
Teams can keep you abreast of all the events happening on your project.
It is important to have a feed of what is happening in your project while still keeping a clean space to have discussions. This is why your Team should always have a Notifications channel.
A majority of these notifications can be created using the connectors that are built into Teams. To create a connection:
- Select the three dots in the top right of the screen and select "Connectors."
Figure: This is how you begin the process of adding a connector.
- Select "Add" on the connector that you want to use.
Figure: This is the pop-up that allows you to select which connector to add.
- Give the Connector a name that describes what it does.
- Complete the other configuration options for the Connector and click "Save."
Figure: The configuration page for the RSS Connector that notifies of a new video being uploaded to the SSW TV Youtube channel with a name that describes what it does.
Sometimes you may have to choose between multiple connectors that can serve the same base purpose. In this situation, it is good to choose the one that provides the important information in the easiest way.
Figure: Bad example – There is no thumbnail and no link to the video. (It is nice that you can add custom text – inside the 2 emoijs)
Figure: Good example – There is a thumbnail and a link to the video. (Although there is no custom text)
- In Teams, add a Dynamics tab
- In Dynamics, add a Teams URL field
At your company, you never want to have a person asking "Where is that file?"The answer should be "The answer is Teams, the question is irrelevant".
Microsoft Teams is a great solution for organizing client files and conversations. Create a new Team for each of your clients, and if you have multiple projects for one client, use Channels to keep them separate. There's no need to create a new Team just for a new project.
Once you have this set up, it is likely that you want to have a link between your Teams instances and the associated CRM record.
In the video, Adam Cogan describes how they connect Dynamics 365 and Teams with an extra field. They change the Account table to add a custom column 'Teams-URL'.
Note: Each client should have its own Team. You might have two associated clients - e.g. Northwind Australia and Northwind USA - but if they are separate legal entities and have separate accounts in CRM, they should have separate Teams.
To get that URL, simply click the ellipsis next to your Team name and click "Get link to Team".
Add a button to the Ribbon to provision a new team and link to it.
How to add the button to the Dynamics Ribbon?
- Customize the command bar - Power Apps | Microsoft Docs (new approach - customizing command bar using the command designers)
- Ribbon Workbench (old approach - using the ribbon workbench)
Using a PCF control you can add a button directly into the form that can do everything for you.
Click on this section on your CRM Dynamics to have a Team created:
Note #1: Alternatively, this process can even be automated using Azure functions and Graph API to provision a new Team every time a new client is created in CRM. This has the disadvantage that every single Account would get a Team...and that could create a real mess of unused Teams.
Note #2: The Team's name can get out of sync if the Dynamics client name is changed, therefore you need one extra flow that is called when the client name is changed to keep them in sync.
Within a team or project-based organization, the number of Teams can rapidly grow out of control. The more active Teams you have, the harder it gets to find the right information when you need it.
Hiding teams works well enough for end users but doesn't help administrators figure out which teams are actually in use. You should "Archive" unused teams instead – making the team unavailable read-only.
To archive a Team, follow these steps:
- Click on "Manage Teams"
- Choose the team you want to archive (you must be owner of that Team)
- Click the "..." (ellipsis)
- Click "Archive team"
Note: Archived teams can be restored at any time to be made available again.
When creating a new Team in Microsoft Teams, you can add Tabs to keep track of important information and you can also add Apps (generally bots) to channels.
Apps enhance your Teams experience in various ways e.g.:
- Apps can be bots, and you can talk and interact with them
- Apps can add and change your messages in Teams
- Apps can also be Tabs, they overlap a little
You can also read more about Apps at Five things to know about apps in Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Forms is a great way to send out a quick survey to a group of people to get feedback, come to a consensus, or organize team events.
It’s very easy to log in and send one out from your own Office 365 account, but then only you can see the results. A better way is instead to create it from a Group (note every Microsoft Team has a Group).
- To do this, follow these steps:
- Go to Microsoft Teams
- Navigate to the team you’d like to be able to see the results of the form
If you do accidentally create a personal form instead of a group form, you can move it to a group in http://forms.microsoft.com by clicking “All my forms” | … | “Move”
Using the Yearlink-T55A-Microsoft teams phone when transferring a call, creating a conference call, or making an internal call, is very easy.
Yealink helps to migrate voice from Skype for Business to Teams - if you are thinking of replace Skype for Business with Microsoft Teams (note: Microsoft plans to provide support for Skype for Business Online and client till July 31, 2021.).
Having poor performance on video chat?
In Windows 10/11 you need to set your video chat app (i.e. Teams) to use the GPU.
- Open Settings | System | Display
Scroll down a bit and click Graphics settings
Either choose Microsoft Store apps and choose the relevant app or choose Desktop apps and browse for the executable
Note: Microsoft Teams is a desktop app under your local user profile i.e. C:\Users%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Teams\current\teams.exe
Select options and choose High Performance GPU
When you send a meeting appointment to someone, it’s important to put the meeting join information (e.g. Microsoft Teams Meeting URL) at the top of the email body as whoever is invited will be able to quickly find the link.
If the meeting URL is placed under the email body, there are more chances the receiver could miss out on your meeting URL.
By doing this, you will make it clear it is a remote meeting held via the tool you decided to use. This gives the receiver more time to get prepared for the meeting (e.g. Download and test a software they are not familiar with).
If often you see yourself trying to find an easy way to share an image or a note from your mobile to your laptop, this is a quick and easy tip to help you do this through Microsoft Teams.
Here are the steps to send a message to yourself on Teams:
- Schedule a meeting with just yourself and give it a title like “Just me” or anything similar that is obvious to you
- Open the meeting request like any other meeting on Teams
- Open the chat feature and write yourself a “test” message
- You should see a new conversation next to all your other groups and private chats
- Pin it, and now you have a wall for your thoughts 💭 🧱