Share and Enjoy !

As part of ThreeWill’s core focus to help employees thrive using Microsoft technologies, we want to make collaboration within your organization a source of accomplishment and not frustration. This article will describe three methods for better collaboration in Microsoft Teams.

Do you ever try to find that message or file that you know someone sent you, but you can’t remember where it is?  You go searching around and waste 15 minutes of time while your blood pressure and frustration rises with every minute? 

Many people use the chat and meetings features of Microsoft Teams. This is a good start. However, they miss out on additional collaboration in Teams and Channels. At ThreeWill, our goal is to help individuals and organizations. We want them to get the most out of their Microsoft 365 investment. Collaboration can bring a “1+1=3” level of accomplishment. This happens when different skills and talents come together. They can accomplish something greater. We do it here at ThreeWill. I’ve seen other companies do it too. My goal is to help you and your organization achieve this.

Here are the three methods for better collaboration in Microsoft Teams through standardization:

  • Method 1: Standard Teams naming conventions
  • Method 2: Standard Teams structures
  • Method 3: Standard Teams applications

Method 1: Standard Teams Naming Conventions


I know.  What could sound more boring than standard naming conventions.  But as your use of Microsoft Teams grows to have 50, 100 or more Teams, this will be important for you as a user and for your IT organization who is managing all these Teams and associated M365 Groups.

At ThreeWill, we have four primary types of Teams: Org-Wide Team, Account Teams, Program Teams, and Department Teams.

Our org-wide Team is called “The Café” and is where general announcements, praise and other company-wide information is shared.  I keep this positioned at the top of my Teams list…just below my pinned channels.

Account Teams are focused on each client we work with and are prefixed with “Account –“.  So, an account Team for a client named Contoso would have a Team named “Account – Contoso”.  This is where our Business Development and Delivery Organization collaborate to establish an agreement with our client for one of our services.  I can easily filter for “Account” or “Contoso” or even “Account – Contoso” to easily find any contract or business development information related to Contoso.

Program Teams are focused on services that we deliver to the client and are primarily used by the Delivery organization to collaborate on delivering the service.  A program team for Contoso would be named “Program – CONT – 01 Teams Enablement”.  So, I can use the filter option in Teams to either search for “Program” or “CONT” to narrow down the long list of Teams to 2-3 that are associated with my client.

Department Teams are straightforward.  This is all about collaboration within a department.  I’m part of the Delivery organization so my department Team is named “Department – Delivery”.  So I can easily find this team by filtering on “Delivery” or “Department” to narrow down the list of Teams to a few.

For those of you with only a few teams displaying in your list of Teams, this probably seems like overkill, but as you see the value of collaboration in Teams, your list of Teams will grow and you will better understand why this is necessary.

Method 2: Standard Teams Structures


When I go to an Account Team or a Program Team, I need to know where I can find the things I’m looking for.  And because I can work across many Account Teams and Program Teams at one time, I need consistency as I move from one team to another.  This will help avoid a lot of frustration.  But, this only happens when it is approached with purpose.  You won’t get it perfect the first time, so things can adapt over time if necessary.

As part of our Teams Enablement service, we work with your Team to help establish the appropriate structure for each of your types of Teams.  Microsoft Teams has standard channels, private channels and shared channels and each has pros/cons and even limitations that need to be considered when establishing the structure.

In addition, each channel has a place to store files related to the workstream that is happening within the channel.  Behind the scenes, this is a SharePoint document library which supports folders and metadata to help organize the files on which you are collaborating.  And, you get version history as you all collaborate.  Everyone can update the single “source of truth” document and, if you need to go back to a previous version, you can.  This is yet another point of standardization that can be helpful to your team as you collaborate.

Method 3: Standard Teams Applications


In addition to the valuable features of threaded discussions and document storage within a Teams Channel, Teams Apps add even more capability to enhance the level of collaboration. Some of my favorites and most widely used are Notes and Planner.

I like to keep all notes in the OneNote application and make them accessible as a tab in the channel.  This way everyone can find all the notes that have been taken in the meetings.  Pretty simple, but definitely a time-saver.

Also, Planner is a great application that allows you to manage both personal tasks and tasks assigned to you as part of the business process.  Whether it is tasks related to Employee Onboarding or transitioning a property between one tenant and another, a check list where assignments can be made and tracked is an invaluable tool to ensure everything is accomplished within the deadline.

Lastly, the List app is great to be able to create an excel-like list where you can create custom attributes that you want to track and create different views of the data for simple reporting and tracking.  The foundation of this is a SharePoint list, so if you are familiar with SharePoint, you can leverage those skills to do even more advanced things.

Next Steps

Sometimes the solution to a problem can be simple. Standard Teams naming conventions, structures, and applications are simple concepts. But managing change within an organization is often harder than imagined. The ThreeWill Teams Enablement service offering is not a “one and done” service. We don’t come in, set things up, and leave. We provide three months of managed services with each engagement. We continue to help mentor your teams in the use of Microsoft Teams. We mature business processes to include Automation. This handles redundant, mundane tasks like creating a Planner board and assigning tasks. We expect to demonstrate a level of value within those three months. You will continue the relationship through our managed services. This is one example of ways we can leverage the Microsoft technology stack. It enhances your collaboration in Teams.

In my next blog, I’ll introduce the Request-A-Team app and the Teams Disposition app which are important parts of bringing control to the chaos.


Share and Enjoy !

Related Content: