Microsoft recently announced Microsoft Teams. Microsoft states this is an “entirely new experience that brings together people, conversations and content, along with the tools that teams need.” I am all for providing organisations, teams and users choice when deciding on how they want to work and the introduction of Microsoft Teams gives just that. Remember, not every team or individual works the same so giving them different ways of working together is a must in this day and age.
I am a huge fan of Office 365 Groups and what they bring to organisations in the way of improved collaboration, allowing teams to work better and be more productive and simply get their work done easier and better. As with all new Microsoft services, the underlying fabric of Microsoft Teams is Office 365 Groups. They provide membership, access control and other services to a Microsoft Team. Did I mention that I love Groups?
During the process of creating a Team, a Private Office 365 Group is provisioned that provides the Team with file storage, task management via Planner, a OneNote Notebook, Team Calendar all the goodness of what Office 365 Groups bring. One good thing about the Team creation process is that you can add Teams functionality to an existing Office 365 Group, but this this group must be a PRIVATE Group.
By default every Team gets a “General” Channel, now if you have added Teams functionality to an existing Office 365 Group then what that does is create a folder called “General” in the default document library of that group. When you create different Channels in a Team and upload files to that channel, a folder for that channel is created in the document library also.
While adding Team functionality to an exisiting Groups is a great feature, one little nuance that I have found is that you cannot see any existing content from the Group’s document library. You can only see files for each channel (which live in the channel folder in the library). You can however add a “SharePoint” tab that can allow you to point to another document library from another site and surface the content from that tab.
What I did notice is that if you point to the existing Office 365 Group Library, you get full visibility to the library and can see the channel folders, so you can upload files from the newly created tab into a channel folder as well and those files will appear in the files tab of the channel.
When scheduling a meeting in a Team, again through the integration here with Office 365 Groups, the meeting is added to the Exchange Calendar of the Group and an invitation is sent to the mailbox of that Group. Nice.
Primary Team Platform?
I can certainly see the potential with Microsoft Teams and I can see this being the primary platform for a number of organisations as they quickly bring everyone in a team together to collaborate and communicate.
Something else that I think Teams can do is by making it easy for users to decide where to store their files. As mentioned earlier files a stores in the underlying Group Document Library.
One thing that I can see happening is users being confused about where to have discussions through. So with Teams we add another “option” to the email based conversations of an Office 365 Group and of course Yammer.
There is a good post over at Sharegate by Ben Niaulin on Microsoft Teams vs Yammer that is worth a read.
It will be interesting to see where this goes as Teams mature.