Tim Coalson is a Senior Consultant in the Transformation Practice at ThreeWill. Tim has been developing solutions on the SharePoint platform for over 15 years and has been a developer/consultant for over 30 years. Tim has been involved in migrating SharePoint on-premises farms to the Microsoft Cloud, Power Apps, and Power Automate (aka Flow) which are part of the Microsoft no code/low code solutions.
Microsoft Teams has a long-term future with Microsoft as it pertains to Collaboration. Given the focus that Microsoft continues to give to Teams, I decided to take a deeper dive in understanding the features available in Teams and the Administration of Teams.
Some responses to the 5 things I mention will be, “duh”. I get that. These are not intended to change your life. However, you might find one or more of these useful so I hope it will be worth your while. A great resource I have been using for my deeper dive is a PluralSight course, “Getting Started with Microsoft Teams and Office 365 Groups Administration” by Vlad Catrinescu.
So, here’s my top 5 (so far). I say, “so far”, because I’m not finished with my learning yet but wanted to share what I’ve learned so far. And, since this is all software running in the cloud, it continues to change. New features are added over time and some even taken away, so your learning can never stop.
1. Office 365 Group Creation
The foundation of Microsoft Teams is the Office 365 group. However, Office 365 groups exist outside of Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is just one of several services that can be associated with an Office 365 group.
An Office 365 group can be created in Outlook, SharePoint, Stream, Teams, Yammer, and Planner. Depending upon where the Office 365 group is created, it may be associated with different services. For example, an Office 365 group created in SharePoint, Outlook, or Stream does not have an association with Microsoft Teams or Planner. These can be configured later, but they are not available upon initial creation.
Group Creation From Outlook
2. Files View
This “interesting thing” may draw the most “duh” response but I had never paid much attention to the Files View that is visible on the left navigation bar in Teams.
When you are a member of a number of Teams, it is easy to lose track of what file I was editing last and in what Team it was located. The “Recent” view in the Files app is helpful to show files you have recently created or updated.
In addition to listing the files, the location is also displayed which can be helpful
You will see files from Teams but also files from your OneDrive. In addition to OneDrive, you can also add other Cloud Storage file locations such as Google Drive if your System Administrator does not prevent it. It’s great to have one place to see the various file locations to which you have access.
3. Archiving Teams
For many enterprise companies, archiving is important for compliance reasons. Some Microsoft Teams are created for a limited life span and once that duration is complete, they can be deleted or archived if necessary. Microsoft Teams has the archiving functionality built-in to the product. While it is simple to archive a Team, the challenge can be to find the option.
If you navigate to the Teams view, you will find a gear on the bottom of the Teams display.
If you click the gear, the Teams for which you are a Member or Owner will show up in the display. You can click on the ellipsis next to the Team you want to archive and select the Archive team as shown below.
After you select the Archive option, you will be prompted as to whether to make the corresponding SharePoint site read-only. Check the box “Make the SharePoint site read-only for team members” if you want to do this.
Once a Team is Archived, it will show up in the Archived list.
4. Channel Rename Problem
The good news is that if you want to change the name of a channel in Microsoft Teams, you can. The bad news is the underlying SharePoint folder does NOT get renamed which can lead to confusion, especially if you have users that like to interact directly with SharePoint. So, ideally, avoid renaming Channels. If you need to rename the Channel, understand the underlying SharePoint folder will NOT be renamed. If you go rename the SharePoint folder to match the new Channel name, Microsoft Teams will automatically recreate a new folder with the original folder name and the folder will be empty. And the Files tab in the renamed Channel will display with no files.
Brian Siefferman did a very thorough job documenting this problem so I will point you to his blog for more detailed information if you are interested:
Tags are a relatively new feature that makes @mentioning subsets of users much easier. @mentioning users is a great way to draw more direct attention to your post through a notification. If you are a Team Owner or the Team Owner has configured Tag creation to be available for Team Members, you can Manage the tag by clicking on the ellipsis next to the Team name.
The first time you do this you will see the following prompt:
If you select the Create tag button, you are then prompted to create the new tag and associate any people to the tag.
Now that I have created a tag called Teams Experts when I hit the “@” key while creating a Post, I can select the @Teams Experts tag and the members listed above will receive notifications.
Well, that concludes my “Top 5 Interesting Things I’ve Learned about Microsoft Teams (So far)”. I hope you have found at least one of these interesting or helpful to you. I think “so far” is important as Teams continues to evolve and suggestions from the community continue to be implemented. I look forward to hearing from you about anything that the Teams Community finds helpful!