Best Practice Cloud Collaboration Microsoft

Microsoft Teams Best Practice

It would be fair to say that I have become something of a Teams convert. Maybe even an evangelist. With that in mind, here is a round up of what I consider to be some good and best practice for use with Microsoft Teams. Teams is so new that new features are emerging all the time and use cases and associated practice are also emerging, so any of this is subject to change.

  1. Turn it on! You can do this in the O365 Portal and you can assign licences to all users or a selection. PowerShell scripts can help if you need to be selective.
  2. Call each team in Teams the ‘Teams Area’ or ‘Area’ for short. The language gets really messy otherwise.
  3. Have a naming convention for each Teams Area. At the minimum this should include the owning department or function and the purpose of the Team, e.g. Sales – Tendersteams request flow
    1. Have a clear naming convention to differentiate between Live and Test Team sites. You could add -Test on the end or add an asterisk or other character to indicate temporary or test Areas
    2. It’s also useful to add the date it was created, so dormant Areas can be removed.
    3. Remember that each Area also gets an email address. Make sure these group addresses don’t conflict with existing email groups.
    4. If you need extra control, only let new Areas be created via a Flow, with approval. See the screen shot for what you might want to capture; you then need to use a Custom Connector (as there isn’t a direct option in the Teams connector yet), but there is a useful option already on Github for this
  4. If you want a SharePoint Site, but also use Teams then make sure that you create the Teams area first; it will create a group and a Modern SharePoint site for you.
    1. You can do it the other way and link a new Area to an existing site, but only of that site has a Group already.
  5. Ensure that someone reviews the range of Teams from time to time and ensures that they meet the naming convention, as well as removing dormant or duplicate Areas.
    1. Create a Flow to notify an Admin whenever a new Area s created
    2. Check that every Area has more than one owner, just in case one of those knocked over by a bus scenarios happens; or that the Area owner is on leave.
  6. Use Channels to separate out different workstreams, topic areas etc.
  7. Remember that there is currently security at the Areas level but not at the Channel level. Anyone in a specific team can see all the content of all the channels in that Team Area. Don’t share sensitive Areas; consider having a second Area for each external person or group you share with. Use the Move or Copy function to shift files etc between the two.
  8. Get to grips with tabs
    1. Remove the Wiki tab – it’s hopeless. Add a link to your own OneNote pages, tabs etc instead
    2. Add pages, applications and SharePoint libraries and Lists as tabs in channels, to create a joined up working environment.
    3. If you use Dynamics, read this:
  9. Add metadata to the libraries (via the SharePoint site), even though it doesn’t currently appear in the Files tab in Teams. It will at some point and you’ll be glad you have the extra control, filtering etc.
  10. Learn about Guest access
    1. Guests users have a bunch of restrictions – make sure people (and your help desk) know about them:
    2. Remember that you can only have 5 guest users per real user – actively remove dormant guests from time to time
    3. An Admin can invite up to 2000 guests at a time, via a CSV file and using Active Directory B2B (
    4. You need to turn on and manage Guest access:
      1. Sign in at Office 365 global admin portal; in the navigation menu, choose Settings and select Services & add-ins; Select Microsoft Teams;
      2. In Select the user/license type you want to configure, select Guest; Click or tap the toggle next to Turn Microsoft Teams on or off for all users of this type to On; Choose Save.
    5. Global admins can choose, who will be able to invite guest users to an organisation:
      1. Directory admins and users in the guest inviter role;
      2. AAD members;
      3. Guests.
  11. Don’t forget that every Area has an associated SharePoint site.
    1. Make sure users know how to easily access those; ensure that these sites are discoverable from within your intranet (i.e. add them to your navigation), and encourage Area owners to update and format their sites.
    2. It’s a good idea to create a SharePoint Hub site and associate all the Teams Areas sites to that hub.
  12. Establish some Chat etiquette. Area owners should help police this and remind users of the etiquette
    1. Use @name in a team chat to ensure someone gets a notification
    2. Always use Reply to add commentary to a thread
    3. Keep conversations focused in the right channel and Area.
    4. Don’t say thanks etc to every chat; you can hover over the chat and click the Like icon if you want to acknowledge someone.
  13. Consider setting up some policies for how Teams should be used
    1. Review the audit log for events etc. from time to time (; you need to turn it on though. It can tell you about:
      • Team creation
      • Team deletion
      • Added channel
      • Changed setting
  14. Get familiar with the Security and Compliance Centre, so you can check that you users are following the policy.
  15. Get users to learn the Search box. E.g. Type @name in the top centre search box to start a chat with someone
  16. Check out all the add ins and connectors – there are many. Take a view on which add value and provide guidance to staff on these.teams connectors
  17. Consider writing Flows to inject messages, updates and even email into the Chat streams in channels – you can probably reduce email by 10% or more
  18. ‘Favourite’ teams and channels for people, so that they can find the Areas they want more easily.
    • Try to keep the number of Favourites to no more than a dozen
    • Link to Teams Areas from SharePoint (and anywhere else relevant), especially for less commonly used Teams
  19. Consider keeping a log /directory of all your Areas.
  20. If you have less than 1000 staff, create an All Staff Area and use it for general communications etc. similar to how you might have with a discussion group or Yammer. Consider adding your Company News feed to a tab or as a channel
  21. Create a Feedback channel in the All Staff Area
  22. Decline to travel to meetings; suggest that they can be done via Teams instead.
    1. Ensure the New Teams Meeting button is enabled in Outlook for 1-click online meeting creation.
    2. Do the same with your clients
    3. Ensure users have access to headsets.
    4. Consider using video too
  23. Turn off Skype for Business



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By Simon Hudson

Simon Hudson is an entrepreneur, health sector specialist and founder of Cloud2 Ltd. and Kinata Ltd. and, most recently, Novia Works Ltd. He has an abiding, evangelical interest in information, knowledge management and has a lot to say on best practice use of Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and cloud technologies, the health sector, sustainability and more. He has had articles and editorials published in a variety of knowledge management, clinical benchmarking and health journals. He is a co-facilitator of the M365 North User Group Leeds and is Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Hull.

Simon is passionate about rather too many things, including science, music (he writes and plays guitar & mandola), skiing, classic cars, technology and, by no means least, his family.


One reply on “Microsoft Teams Best Practice”

Teams conversations are a UX nightmare. I now have muscle memory due to writing something, posting it. Realising I haven’t replied but started a new thing. Delete it. Paste as a reply instead. Again and again and again….

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