I still believe #MicrosoftTeams to be the ultimate user adoption catalyst, and the gateway drug that leads to the consumption of the other #Office365 apps and services. The tool however is too powerful to just roll out with an email campaign.
Note: Riding a car is not intuitive and easy if all you’ve had for years were a bicycle.
1. Purpose: Communicating your digital strategy
If you do not communicate the purpose of #MicrosoftTeams (#OneDrive / #SharePoint and the other apps in #Office365) users will feel confused and experience “when to use what” . Infographic posters work great for these. Document your current way of working and the new suggested way of working. It’s also important to share why the new apps are better (with examples of what sucked in the ‘old way of working’).
2. Consumption vs Adoption:
If users do not get training they will create unnecessary Microsoft Teams and eventually feel overwhelmed. This is classic ‘over adoption’, just like we did with folders in Outlook as well as nested folders in file shares.
Don’t’ fool yourself into thinking that if thousands of Teams get created in your company you have adoption. You are not a winner. This is not a number game. Users who have not had training to understand what happens in the background when a Team is created or what the purpose of Teams is and fully utilize all the features, correctly, should NOT be creating Teams. It’s not fair to them.
Consumption is number of Teams created (doing things), Adoption is actually “doing things right, and doing the right things.” If they’re not enjoying using Teams, belong to gazillions of unnecessary Teams and it doesn’t make their lives easier – then we’re doing this wrong.
Note: We have approximately 1.5 billion cars, buses & trucks on our roads. That’s consumption NOT adoption. Believe me, many people with driver’s licenses should not be driving. #JustSaying
3. Too much of a good thing
There’s this methodology that I follow “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two“. Without overcomplicating this, it means that the human brain remembers and deals with pockets of information in a certain way. I use this to guide the number of root folders I create or number of Teams and channels I have. Of course this does not apply to temporary folders / Teams (projects for example). As soon as you have too many Teams with too many channels, users will get confused about “where what goes”.
Example: Instead of having a Training Registers Channel, rather have one for Administration, and in the Files Tab have subfolders for Registers etc.
4. Naming Conventions and Search
We all come from an environment where we worked with folders inception. That’s folders inside folders inside folders inside folders etc. With the improvements in search over the last couple of years this is not necessary and frankly slows us down. Companies who migrate users’ file shares as is to Teams / OneDrive and SharePoint are making a huge mistake. Users will have a bad experience with navigating to content in Teams if they don’t adopt search vs navigate. The 256 character limit on pc’s has caused issues with this for years and believe me the new 400 character limit in online storage does not give you more folder depth – it’s less.
“The entire path, including the file name, must contain fewer than 400 characters for OneDrive, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online.” Read more.
Users need to change their “information architecture” to be flatter – less folders. And adopt new naming conventions. This will help a lot when searching for content as well. See below image:
If you need to update the document daily for a month don’t add the day, only use the year / month which means you’ll have one document each month as SharePoint keeps 500 electronic versions (will change to 100 versions soon).
Just using the date in the document already improves search experience in Teams as well as on my PC. At least now when I search I know exactly what I’m looking at, I don’t have to go to the folder first to see which document it is. And remember in Teams, you don’t have to navigate to the Team or the Channel to find the document. You can search across Teams in the Command Box at the top.
5. Private Channels
Mmmmmhhhh. I’ve waited a bit before having my say about this.
A Private Channel gives users the ability to create a channel which has different permissions but still shows as a Channel in the same Team. This Private Channel creates a new separate Site Collection. Apart from the unnecessary MASSIVE resource / storage, I can bet you we’ll start supporting the fact that users accidentally put content into the channel above or below it or forget who has permissions to see it. My brain deals with business rules, and it’s easier to separate rules if it looks different. Imagine I had a rule where I could drink wine everywhere in my house / lounge, except the square meter to the left of the coffee table in my lounge. Yup, not going to happen. Rather have a separate room where wine drinking is not allowed.
Example: In your company there’s a team for Human Resources, Procurement, Sales, IT, Finance etc. Each of these teams requires a Private Channel for the Management reports that not everyone in the Team should see. Makes absolute sense. BUT. What is the chances that the audience of these different Private Channels could be in one separate Team where they have a (non private) Channel for each department. At management level, they’re normally allowed to see each others reports, whether it’s relevant or not.
I wrote a blog recently where I create a Vault Site Collection (no Team associated with it) with different libraries for sharing cross department or Ad Hoc documents. I prefer doing this through SharePoint as I can have multiple owners of the folder, in OneDrive that’s not possible. I add this Vault on Teams as a Tab, so users can find “micro-managed permission content. One page, for all users, it will only show the folders they have access to.
I strongly advise my customers against using Private Channels, but I also give them enough information to make better informed decisions. So when they do use it, they know and manage it maturely.
6. Org-wide Teams
Org-Wide Teams with 2 way communication will work great in smaller companies, but definitely not in large companies. It will be chaos. I do however love the idea of a global Team as I can add the Intranet as a Tab and many of the important processes and Yammer groups for example. I can also publish communications on this Team when new News Site Pages are published on the Intranet (see article from Joanne Klein to help with this). Users are automatically added to this Team, so it’s also great for induction and training resources.
7. Permissions: Owners / Members
A Team has Owners and Members. They can do the same except that Owners can add new Members. Both can edit and delete anything. Yes. You read that right. It’s not that it’s different when you had file shares, but still this freaks people out. Please do not start modifying permissions on folder / subfolder levels. If some people only need Read access to content, rather publish the documents with a PowerAutomate to another environment (Vault or Intranet) with read access.
I train users to do the following when they get added to a Team:
- Before posting any content, first check who the members and owners are to understand the audience.
- Navigate to the SharePoint site behind the Team (go to any channel > Files Tab . Open in SharePoint. The library will open in a folder, navigate back to the root > Documents
- Setup an Alert on the library to notify you of deleted documents > Weekly summary
- Sync the library down (will talk about this in next)
- Owners : check settings on Team and Channels regarding permissions (see Settings below), and make necessary changes.
8. Sync, create, edit, delete and co-author documents
As mentioned, all members and owners can edit and delete documents. Use the Alerts and Versions to manage this risk. When online, users can co-author documents which will merge changes as you make them. On Production Teams (that they use every day) I suggest users Sync the library down to their PC. Open the SharePoint Site, navigate back to the root folder (Documents library) and Sync the library down.
The library with folders will now show on your PC, similar to your OneDrive. This is much easier to save files to.
- Users need to understand that it’s not their copies, they’re working on the content of the team. If they delete documents or folders, it will update to the site when online.
- Also, when multiple users work on the same document when offline, it will replace the document as they go online, it will not merge their changes.
- Ensure that users understand how Files on Demand works, as they do not have to physically store all documents on their pc.
9. Creation of Teams / Settings
You can restrict the creation of Teams until you feel that all users are trained or mature enough to handle the responsibility. Read more.
If SharePoint Team Sites were created before Teams were rolled out, you can create a Team and link it to the existing Site (Office 365 Group). If you don’t do this, the department will have 2 SharePoint Sites instead of 1. The old site needs an Office 365 Group for this to be possible.
Settings can be applied on Tenant level and on the Team UI, read my blog below to help with all the settings.
Apparently there’s a hidden menu as well, can’t say I’ve managed to open it, but here’s a blog that explains: The hidden Microsoft Teams menu
10. Value Add
There’s so much more to Teams than just Conversations and Documents. Ensure your users have had training on the Tabs and Apps that can be added. Here’s some cool features as well:
I hope this article helps you and your users love Teams as much as I do. 🙂
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Disclaimer: I create content about Office / Microsoft 365. Content is accurate at time of publication, however updates and new additions happen daily which could change the accuracy or relevance. Please keep this in mind when using my blogs as guidelines. And yes, I change my mind all the time as well, because “The only thing that is constant, is change”.
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