Rules to Better Microsoft Teams

​​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.

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​:


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  1. Do you know the best place to store documents and share them?

    There is a myriad of options to choose from when storing and sharing documents, some examples include:

    • SharePoint
    • OneDrive or Dropbox or Google Drive
    • Microsoft Teams | Team Site
    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.

    teams - network share.png
    Figure: Bad Example - You shouldn't look for files on network shares
    teams - file tab.png
    Figure: Good Example - You can use the files tab in Teams (without leaving the app)

    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.

    teams - document conversation.png
    Figure: Good Example - You can have a conversation about a file

    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.

    teams - open sharepoint.png
    Figure: Good Example - You can open the files in SharePoint
    teams - sync onedrive.png
    Figure: Good Example - You can sync the files in SharePoint with your current machine through OneDrive. A toast notification should popup indicating that files will be synced.

    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

  2. Do you add the right tabs when creating a new Teams conversation?

    ​​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.​​

    Figure: There is a virtual smorgasbord of tabs to add the conversation – aggregating all your necessary work parts into one easy, accessible location
    Figure: Beyond our "​​conversations", we have 4 tabs – our "files", our "VSTS backlog", our "workflow notes", and our "stakeholders in Excel"
  3. Do you avoid using the conversation tab to task out work?

    ​​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.
    teams - tasking in conversation.png
    ​Figure: Bad Example - asking someone to do work in a conversation
    teams - add to backlog.png
    ​Figure: Good Example - task is added to the backlog

    ​TODO: Have the bot listen in on the conversations to remind you about the rule

  4. Do you know the best wiki for Microsoft Teams?

    ​​You should use OneNote instead of the default Wiki. This way you can use it offline on your mobile apps.

    Bad Example: Default tab – Wiki. There is no offline mobile application
    Good Example: Use OneNote. Now you can use the normal OneNote Desktop and Mobile app for iOS and Android (including offline support)

    ​Note: Rename the tab to show that it is a OneNote Tab. E.g.:​ "OneNote - SSW Reno Sydney"​​

  5. Do you know how to see what’s going on in your project?

    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, Apps! You can add Apps that let you, for example, be notified of any # uses in Twitter that you want to monitor, or Facebook Pages that you want to follow. This is great for the Marketing team!

    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.

    Teams Notifications.png​​​

    Good example: See that a record of team conversations, builds, and deployments