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Four top tips for Developers using Microsoft Teams

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Four top tips for Developers using Microsoft Teams

Written by Modality Newsroom on 6, February 2018

Following our ‘How Microsoft Teams works for Devs’  vlog, Tom Morgan, Product Innovation Architect at Modality Systems, shares his four top tips for developers using Microsoft Teams.

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If you’re a software developer, you’ll be all too aware of how much ‘stuff’ you generate in the development of new programs, and how difficult it can be to keep track of everything. With this in mind, I thought I’d share my four top tips for Developers using Teams (it will make your life so much easier – trust me!):


1. Everything goes in Teams

Regardless of what it is, think of Teams as a good place to store stuff when you’re not sure where else to put it – just like a garage – because you never know when you might need it again.

Being a Dev, you’ve obviously got your code repositories; TFS, GitHub etc, those are good places for storing code. You might also have a support tracking system, which you should definitely keep up-to-date as well. I’m talking about all the other little things – the things that get lost. For instance, the bug write-ups that get distributed around your team and forgotten about. Or the code-fix conversations and little config files. All this stuff is really important. You don’t think about it at the time, you just do it in the moment and then it disappears. This is the stuff you should track and keep in Teams - it will really help you.


 2. Keep the channel list fresh

Tom_Teams-List.pngLook after your Teams! If you look down the left-hand side of your Teams client, you’ll see all the teams that you’re a member of. It’s a really good idea to have different Teams, or different channels, for individual projects currently in the works, and this can be really granular.

Let’s say this month you’re working on one particular project. You might have one channel for the current version under development, but you might also have a channel for bugs and fixes, a channel for an archived version of an older program a couple of clients are still using, and you might have another channel for features in future versions you’ve already started talking about. Your involvement in each channel will change over time – and that’s ok. This is where the Favourites feature comes in, enabling you to track the things you care about and avoid an overwhelming list of updates. Use this to curate your teams so you see what’s important to you. This way, you don’t need to worry about missing things.


 3. Love the activity feed

The activity feed is one of the greatest features in Teams – make it your friend! Anything that happens in Teams that you should care about will show up here. And it’s not just where you or your team might get mentioned, it’s where people have replied to conversation threads that you’ve started or have been involved in, even meetings you should be in that you may have forgotten about (which I personally find quite useful, from time to time!).

Live by the activity feed. If you do that, you will always seem responsive. People will always think you’re on top of things, and you won’t have to constantly sift through different Teams to find out what’s going on.


4. Explore the Tabs

Don’t think of Teams as just a Skype for Business or IM replacement - it’s so much more than that. Look at the tabs across the top. You’ve got Conversations, but there’s also Files and Notes. I refer back to my first point about putting everything in Teams; these are really good places to start doing that.


Build out OneNote with useful information, upload files relevant to projects you’re working on, and also look in the app store. There are lots of great application add-ons being built that could really help you. For instance, there’s now a VSTS app, so you can bring VSTS information in as a tab alongside conversations you’re having about a project. You can also bring in popular apps like Trello, PowerBI and other third-party tools.

These features are really useful to a Developer. If you’re flipping around different projects and you suddenly have to jump in and troubleshoot a particular problem, for a program you haven’t looked at in weeks, it’s helpful to have all the information you need right in front of you, rather than switching between different applications and emails to get back up to speed (or wishing you’d kept that bug fix file that’s now vanished off the face of the earth!)


I hope you find these tips useful! To keep up with what our Dev team has been up to, follow Modality Labs for news on our latest projects.


Tom Morgan

Product Innovation Architect | Modality Systems

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Blog: Confessions of a Project Manager – Why Teams is great (and it’s not just because of dancing penguins)


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