An Introduction to Office365 Teams
Anyone keeping an eye on what’s going on in Office365 will know that Microsoft Teams is rolling out across tenants right now. It’s a brilliant new collaboration tool allowing groups of people to chat with each other, work on documents, keep notes and create project plans all in one place.
This sounds all very familiar, right? Office365 groups and SharePoint offer most of these features in a single place. Teams goes that little bit further and adds some new functionality that could see it become your main hub for working with your team mates.
Let’s take a quick look over the features available, why not login now and take a look for yourself.
If you don’t see teams available in the Office365 app launcher, then no problem. First ensure you have logged into the Office365 portal then browse to https://teams.microsoft.com/ and it should automatically log you in and give you sneaky access to the new feature.
Once logged in you should already have one team setup to start playing with.
Within the Activity section you can see everything that’s been happening. All notifications and new chat messages from any of your teams or channels will be listed here. Its a good place to go to have a quick catch up. Here we can see lots of activity in a new team we created to implement a documentation system called IT Glue. Here one of my colleagues has been posting lot’s of useful training links in the teams chat area
In the chat section, you can search for colleagues and chat directly with them just as you can when using Skype. These messages are private to you and the recipient but you can also start a video or audio call and even invite other users. What’s great about this chat feature is that you can attach notes and files and these will be saved here for future reference. You can already start to see how well Teams has integrated other services from SharePoint and Skype for Business.
The meetings section shows you all meeting you have scheduled in Outlook. Looks like i’m not very busy this week, oh well it is Christmas week!
Scheduling a team meeting is super easy and a great way to get all of your team members into a team chat at once. Here I am setting up a team meeting and specifying the channel to attend. This will send out a meeting request to all of the invited users and even place a note in the teams chat so everyone knows there is a meeting to attend.
The files section gives you quick and easy access to your personal one drive, I love having quick easy access this way. The files section also gives you a quick overview of files added by other team members so you can check up on what’s recently been added.
And Finally the meat and potatoes, the Teams section
The teams section is where its at, here will list all of the teams you are a member of. You can create teams based on the area of the business you work in such as design, sales, marketing or HR for example. Each team has sub sections called channels and these can be used for separate projects being worked on. You can create teams for separate projects if you prefer to work that way. We are experimenting with a mix by creating a new team for different projects we are working on because team members are set at the team level not the channel level so its easer to say who is working on a specific team. This way team members only see the projects they are working on but this may not be an issue. Its probably nicer to have teams setup and then use channels for individual projects. Would love to hear how you use them!
Each channel has its own Conversation / chat board any all chat is saved for team members to see at any time. This is where you communicate with the whole team. From here you can also attach files, One notes and even task lists from Office365 planner! If you haven’t used Planner yet then you should, its a great way to create a task lists and assign tasks to users when working on projects.
At first Teams looks like just another way to bring various pieces of Office365 together and in many ways it is but it does a very good job of it. The more I use it the more I’m liking it. I think this has the potential to become the central hub for many small businesses. You can even install the desktop app which will automatically load up and log in when the user signs into their PC. Just login to your PC and your main work hub is ready to go with easy access to your team, projects and files!