Best practices for organizing teams in Microsoft Teams


Do you have a best practice or tip for using Teams? Share it with us in the Comments section at the end of this article.

Teams are collections of people who gather together around a common goal. This group of people may be within a department or across the organization. What brings them together is the outcome they are driving toward. Members of a team may work at a different pace or create assets differently, but in our experience they often collaborate quickly with each other, a process we call "high velocity teamwork."

Before creating a team, think about the goal, project, or work items and who in your organization can help deliver it collaboratively. Once you've identified them, add these people or groups to a team to start collaborating. Because membership can change over time, it's a good idea to designate multiple owners for each team. For more information, see Managing teams.

Take a look at this short video to see some examples of how to structure cross-organizational or single purpose teams:

Build your team gradually

You may start with a small number of team members to brainstorm as you move forward, and then add new people or groups as you go. The great thing with Microsoft Teams, is that when you add new people or groups, they can quickly get up to speed on what has already been discussed as the conversations and files are available to users regardless of when they join. Try to avoid creating different teams that have the same set of members, as this approach may not provide the desired focus to deliver the project or goal. Outlook is a great tool for sharing those types of group-wide communications.

Create channels to focus discussions

Once you've created your team, it’s a good idea to start to think about the different areas of conversations that you want to have to drive towards your goal and create initial channels so that people know where to contribute and to find existing conversations. Be descriptive when naming channels to make it easier to understand what the conversation in the channel is there to achieve. You can add new tabs to channels to add tools like OneNote, PowerBI, or links to web pages and other content to make it easy for people to find content and share their thoughts.

Learn more about working in teams with these quick tips for end users.

Our best practice guidance is to create teams with a larger set of members and more channels. To maintain a high quality user experience it is helpful to minimize the number of teams that require a person's participation. Channels within a team should be thought of as topics or workstreams to aid the team in organizing their work to deliver on their join objectives. There is no specific number of channels that should be created. Each team should craft channels based on their work, priorities and style.

Use standard channels for conversations that everyone on the team can contribute to and private channels when a more focused collaboration space is needed for a subset of people on the team. To learn more about private channels and when to create them, see Private channels in Teams.

Larger organizations may want to create teams as "templates" to standardize the information they capture about specific types of work. This is useful for strategic customer management, classroom management, health care scenarios, claim management, incident management and other scenarios appropriate to a specific industry.

Use the General channel

By default, the General channel is created for you when you create the team. There are many useful purposes for this channel:

Learn more about working in channels with these quick tips for end users.

  • Use it to share an overview of what the team wants to achieve such as a project charter or who's who in the team.
  • Use it for new team member onboarding and other high-level information that a new team member would find useful.
  • Use it for announcements, or configure the SharePoint News connector to post your modern status reports to this channel.
  • For new or single purpose teams, it may be the only channel at the beginning as you decide how Teams can best support your goals.

Currently, you cannot remove or unfavorite the General channel. When naming channels, remember that the channels will be ordered alphabetically after the General channel. In teams with many channels use the "Favorite a channel" feature to control the channels you automatically see when navigating to the team.

Consider setting up moderation in your channels

Team owners can turn on moderation for a channel to control who can start new posts and reply to posts in that channel. When you set up moderation, you can choose one or more team members to be moderators. (Team owners are moderators by default.) For more information, see Set up and manage channel moderation in Microsoft Teams.