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Microsoft Teams has become an essential tool for many organizations, providing a centralized platform for communication, collaboration, and teamwork. Teams can be created for a variety of purposes, from departmental collaboration to cross-functional project teams. It turns out that knowing when and why you should be using a team is one of the first challenges new users of Microsoft Teams seem to struggle with.

Understanding what types of teams you’ll need is important, as it helps you to establish naming conventions that everyone will come to recognize and associate with the purpose of the team; not to mention that it makes finding the right team much easier, but that’s another blog for another time.

So, in this post, we’ll explore the five most common types of teams in Microsoft Teams and how they can benefit your organization, based on my experiences helping people make the most of Microsoft 365.

#1 – Department teams

Department teams are one of the most common types of teams in Microsoft Teams. They allow members of the same department to communicate and collaborate on work related to their department’s function. Department teams can improve the efficiency of the department’s work and foster a sense of community and collaboration among team members. They can also provide a centralized location for department-specific information, meetings, and recordings, reducing the need for multiple tools or systems.

#2 – Project teams

Project teams are created to work on a specific project or initiative, bringing together individuals with diverse skill sets and backgrounds to achieve a common goal. Microsoft Teams can be used to collaborate on project tasks, share files, and hold meetings related to the project. Project teams can improve project management and communication, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal.

#3 – Cross-Functional teams (aka Collaborative teams)

Cross-functional teams, which I prefer to call collaborative teams, are made up of individuals from different departments or functions within an organization, who work together to address a specific business challenge or opportunity. Microsoft Teams can facilitate communication and collaboration between team members from different departments. Cross-functional teams can improve organizational alignment and help to break down silos, promoting collaboration and knowledge sharing across the organization.

Project teams and Collaborative teams are similar in that they bring people together from across the organization but, unlike a project team, a collaborative effort doesn’t necessarily have an expected conclusion (like the project ending). An example of this might be an employee onboarding team that brings together everyone from across your organization to ensure that the newest member of your team’s first experience is a positive one.

#4 – Leadership Teams

Leadership teams are made up of top executives and senior leaders within an organization, who work together to make strategic decisions and guide the direction of the company. Microsoft Teams can be used to facilitate communication and collaboration between leadership team members, as well as to hold virtual meetings and discussions. Leadership teams can benefit from the ability to quickly share information and make decisions in a timely manner.

#5 – Social Teams

Social teams are created to facilitate social connections and engagement among employees, particularly in a remote or hybrid work environment. Microsoft Teams can be used to host virtual team-building activities, happy hours, or other social events, as well as to provide a platform for employees to connect and share non-work-related information. Social teams can improve employee engagement and morale, helping to build a stronger sense of community and culture within the organization.

Book clubs are a great example of social teams at work.

Roll Out

Microsoft Teams provides a flexible and versatile platform for teams to collaborate and work together, no matter where they are located. However, Microsoft Teams is just a tool and it’s up to us to try and use it effectively. Unfortunately, many organizations conflate giving their people access to the tool as the same as “rolling it out”, leaving their people to sort it out for themselves. In the end, though, the only thing they’ll sort out is that the whole experience was awful for them.

Whether you’re thinking about moving to Microsoft 365, just getting started with using Microsoft Teams, or you’re finding yourself wondering why your people aren’t thriving on Microsoft Teams, we can help you make it work for you, your business, and more importantly your people. Check out our Teams Enablement service or give us a call today to get started!


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