As we approach the end of 2018, Project Manager Lyndsay Ansell reflects on her top twelve learnings from using Microsoft Teams as part of her daily workload, including the importance of establishing clear use cases, whether Teams can replace email and managing 'Teams sprawl'.
Love it or hate it, Christmas is coming. I always find that with the impending arrival of a New Year comes the urge to reflect back on the previous one. Ideally this is to celebrate successes gained from working towards goals, but it also involves marvelling at the unexpected surprises that you didn't see coming.
I've taken this opportunity to look back at the last twelve months with Teams and round up my highlights:
1. Microsoft Teams in a nutshell
In the words of a classic, "let's start at the very beginning": Teams is a place for calls, chats, meetings, file sharing, collaboration and a whole lot more. If you need more insight, check out my colleague Tom Arbuthnot’s ‘…Teams without the buzzwords and jargon’ blog.
2. Teams is the tip of the app-berg
Once you get familiar with using Teams, it exposes you to lots of other handy tools, both inside and outside the Microsoft 365 world. There are SO MANY opportunities for increasing productivity. Here are my top five Teams apps, and this list evolves for me all the time!
3. You can go your own way
Use cases for Teams and channels are many and varied, and what might work for some users can be baffling to others. In my experience, Teams works really well for Project Management.
4. Email still has its place
Teams discussions seems to come with either an overt or underlying cry of 'down with email!'. I agree with Tony Redmond who spoke at this year's Evolve Conference - email still has its place as a communication tool for certain scenarios. There is functionality to send emails directly into Teams; however, there are certain scenarios in which including emails in Teams channels can be a bad idea.
5. Life moves pretty fast...!
Sometimes it can be difficult to keep up with all the features and functionality that are 'current' in Microsoft Teams - Microsoft releases new things all the time! Keep up-to-date by checking out the Microsoft Teams blog.
6. Customisation, customisation, customisation…
There's a lot going on inside the Teams client. Between likes, @mentions and thread responses, you might find yourself overwhelmed by notifications. Luckily Teams has many notification options, so you can customise away to your heart's content, and choose the Teams alerts that matter to you.
7. Storms in the Cloud
As with all technology, it's fabulous when it's working, which is almost all of the time. For the rare occasions when things don't seem to be working as you think they should, you can check out Microsoft's 365 status Twitter feed for service health updates.
8. Use case is king
It may be tempting to use Teams just because it's new and getting a lot of attention. Really effective use of the tool only comes when people truly consider what it is they are trying to achieve, and establish clear use cases that Teams can add value to; something I discussed in a recent webinar, ‘How well do you know Microsoft Teams?’.
9. ‘Teams sprawl’ will happen
For organisations that are brave enough to just 'turn on Teams and see what happens', Teams sprawl can be a real problem once users get trigger-happy and start setting up teams and channels. Putting aside the obvious need here for organisational policies and guidance, there are a few ways that end users can combat Teams Sprawl for themselves.
10. Collaboration in the spotlight
Teams is a little different to what might be a familiar way of working for lots of people; squirrelling yourself away to develop documents or content and only sharing when you're happy for other people to see them. Working out loud with colleagues in a really visible space that encourages more co-authoring, collaboration and real-time feedback can be a daunting prospect, but it's one that really pays dividends when done well. I think one of the keys to this is good communication habits in Microsoft Teams.
11. Microsoft listens to feedback
I often hear people say "Teams is great, but I wish it did [insert cool feature here]…" - this is exactly the kind of thing the Microsoft Teams team wants to hear, and they really listen to it to help shape the future of the product. If you have lots of ideas on how Teams functionality could be enhanced, check out UserVoice to submit a new idea or add your vote to existing ones. This is how features end up on the roadmap so it's not just for show.
There's no getting around it - using Teams can be a huge change, for both businesses and individuals. If a technology change is made without bringing the people along on the journey, you can end up facing a lot of resistance.
With that, I say so long to 2018 and all its lessons! I hope you are finding my Microsoft Teams blogs useful. If you have any questions or would just like to stay connected, follow me on one of my social channels below – I’d love to meet you.
Project Manager | Modality Systems
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