Best practices for organizing teams in Microsoft Teams

Tip

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 a collection of people who gather together around a common goal. This "tribe" of people may be within or across the organization. What brings them together is the outcome they are driving toward. Members of this team may have different velocities of work or different behavior in creating assets for other team members. In our experience they often collaborate quickly with each other lending to our term, "high velocity teamwork".

Before creating a team in our product, it's a good practice to think about the goal, project, or work items and the organization’s people who can help deliver it collaboratively. Once created, add these people or groups to a team to start collaborating. It's a good idea to designate multiple owners for each team - see Managing teams.

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

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.

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.

Channel Best Practices

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. 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 managment, health care scenarios, claim management, incident management and other scenarios appropriate to a specific industry.

The General channel is created for you when you create the team by default. There are many useful purposes to this channel:

  • Use this to share an overview of what the team wants to achieve such as a project charter or who's who in the team
  • Use this channel 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.

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