Where to start and what to do: An overview of implementing Microsoft Teams for Team Leaders

Microsoft Teams has quickly become one of the most popular Modern Workplace tools on the market, and for good reason.  Microsoft Teams allows staff to collaborate and communicate in a fast and effective way. Decisions are made quickly and in an open forum whilst content can be accessed, edited and shared without the need to send and save multiple documents.

If you have made the decision that Microsoft Teams is the right platform for your business or department then this article will help to provide an overview of how to best set your Team up for a successful and smooth experience.

How to structure your Team

Deciding exactly how to set up a Team and its Channels will be determined by your staff and how they currently work. However, unlike in a physical office, there is no location restriction so Teams can consist of staff from multiple offices.

First, identify who to add to your Team. Think about who will need to have access, even if just to be aware of, conversations, files and notes. Next, think about the projects or subgroups within this Team. These subgroups – known as Channels should ideally reflect projects your Team is working on. These can be permanent and remain open or can be closed off upon completion.

If you work regularly with clients, partners or vendors, consider setting up a Team per client and at least one general internal Team. For example, if you set up a project Team, you might include the following channels:

  • General
  • Timeline
  • Budget
  • Collateral
  • Project Management
  • Suppliers

In the most basic terms, your Team is the project group and the Channels are the subprojects. How you structure your Team is entirely up to you and different businesses may find, even within the same organisation, that there are different preferences.

Each Channel has tabs that can be added to include other Microsoft and third-party applications. This means you can set up task management systems like Planner, Asana or Trello within your Channel or create shared spreadsheets or PowerPoint slides to collaborate on.

Tip: Start small. If you have a large team, consider starting by moving one project to be run through Teams. If you can engage and onboard a small group of staff, they can then help their peers as you roll out the platform.

Team Members, Roles & Settings

Before launching your Team, take the time to work out who in your Team needs access to what. Remember that access does not mean active participation, you may need to allow access for senior team members who just need to have transparency across certain Teams.

Whilst it may be tempting to limit Team Owners to retain control, having multiple people in Owner roles can be a useful way of sharing setting and membership management responsibilities.

If you are already using Group in Office 365, you can create Teams by syncing the Team automatically. This will also sync the associated files. You may then need to spend time defining the Channels.

Tip: Don’t feel rushed to create Channels, often when a Team is created, the Channels will evolve organically and can be added with the necessary tabs as you go.

To check which roles to have what admin rights, you can check a full list of permissions.

Going Live

When you are ready to hit go on your Team, get everyone involved together. Schedule a meeting to introduce Teams and focus on the basic functionality – whether that just be chat, file sharing or meetings.

Share your goals and visions for the platform. Be honest and upfront with your plans and note that this will be rolled out in phases.

Tip: Share your favourite feature of Teams and explain why you like it and when to use it. Make your demonstration personal and engaging. Remember not to introduce too much at once to avoid overwhelm.

Open the floor for discussions and invite questions and comments from the Team. Explain the permissions set up and ask if staff agree with this.

Ask staff attending to try and use Teams as their primary form of contact with this specific group of colleagues from now on. Set up and send out test chats and social conversations to kickstart the activity.

After the meeting, check in with staff regularly – ideally on Teams and encourage open conversation about their experiences in a transparent forum to allow others to learn from their experiences.

Staying engaged

Once your staff have familiarised themselves with the basics, start introducing additional functionality. A good way to do this is to introduce a weekly / daily tip post in Teams. These tips can include introducing adding apps to the Channel tabs, saving messages to create a to-do list and customising notification settings.

Running a regular feedback session online can also allow for staff to post questions and feedback and gain insight from team members.

Training will always speed up and improve adoption

If you have good internal IT support, be sure to include the IT team in your plans and ask for help. If you do not have internal IT support consider seeking external support. Training is the single most important activity when rolling out Teams. Inadequate training, or even worse no training at all, can result in slow and complicated adoption times.

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