Introduction to Microsoft Teams

Welcome to an O365 journey! Within the next couple of weeks we’ll have a closer look to the different services like PowerApps, Flow, Planner, PowerBI and so on – of course in combination with Project Online.

This blog article is about a tool, which I have learned to love in the daily virtual collaboration of projects – Microsoft Teams. Microsoft describes it as “[…] a messaging app for teams where all conversations, meetings, files, and notes can be accessed by everyone on the team. It’s a place for collaboration and work to happen in the open.” 


How does it work?

You’ll select the “Teams” tile in your Office 365 environment and see the general user interface:

The navigation bar gives you the possibility to see a feed about the recent activities within the teams you are part of. If you’re working in multiple teams, you can filter the feed by unread messages, mentions (@), replies, followings and likes.
Microsoft Teams also includes a chat, where you can communicate 1:1 but also with larger audiences. Besides the simple exchange of information, there’s a tab to share files, see the recent activities of you colleagues and also their position within the organization:

The next navigation object is the place where most of the magic is going to happen, your Teams:

Each Team gets initially one channel, called “General” but you can add more. Channels will help you to see the wood for the trees and do allow a grouping (channeling) of topics. As you can see above, my team is a knowledge hub for all relevant O365 topics. Team members can subscribe to each channel individually. Furthermore, different connectors are available to push information from other applications like Jira, Trello, Wunderlist, etc. automatically to your channel:

A project online connector is not available, yet. However, the list of connectors is growing and growing, so there’s a lot to expect!
On the top of each channel, there are multiple tabs. These are also extendable:

In the example above I’ll added some Sites to the respective Team, which might also be relevant for you:

How to create a Team and what happens in the background?

Click on “Add team” and “Create a team”. Type in a team name which speaks for itself and choose, if you make the Team private or public. A Team comes always with an O365 group in the background. “Next” will create a group with the name you already typed in, but it is also possible to add Team functionality to an existing group by clicking on “Yes, add Microsoft Teams functionality”. You’ll find more information about the Teams vs. Groups topic here.

What Admin options in Teams do I have as a Team Owner?

The Team settings are a little bit hidden – right click on the team and “View Team”. Here you can find the members, channels, settings and bots options. The security in terms of user roles is pretty simple, because there are solely members and owners. Regarding settings, you have the following possibilities:

Bots enable to interact with Microsoft Teams users naturally through chat to get quick automated answers, updates and further assistance. E.g. I included a bot from SurveyMonkey to get fast and uncomplicated feedback from my coworkers.

What licenses are required to use Team?

  • Office 365 Business Essentials,
  • Office 365 Business Premium,
  • Office 365 Enterprise E1, E3, and E5 plans.

…so it is available for entry-level subscriptions, which is really great!

How to access Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams comes with a web interface, which is working in most of the browsers. Furthermore you can use it on your mobile device with an App. The Apple AppStore, Google Play and Microsoft – general availability in the stores is ensured.

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