Dark stories, tales of whimsy and random brain droppings.

Don’t Change That Channel

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So, yeah, I love Microsoft Teams.

As I mentioned last week, most of the tool is very familiar. You got all the basics covered:

  • 1:1 and Group Chat– CHECK!
  • Voice and Video Chat – CHECK!
  • Voice and Video Meetings – CHECK!
  • 1-Click desktop screen sharing – CHECK!
  • For every device, there’s an app-for-that – CHECK!
Well, I haven’t fought one person for so long. I’ve been specialized in groups, battling gangs for local charities, that kind of thing […] You use different moves when you’re fighting half a dozen people, than when you only have to be worried about one.

To be honest, these things aren’t by themselves particularly innovative or even all that interesting. I mean, we have iMessage, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Zoom, PolyCom and, yes, even Skype for Business.

Arguably, you could say that Microsoft Teams does all these things better (and it does, jussayin). It’s slick and it works everywhere. Like any good technology, it gets out of the way so you can use the tool, not be trapped by it.

We didn’t spend time last week on the namesake feature of Microsoft Teams. That is: what the blazes is this Teams thing?

Alright, let’s do this up.

Microsoft Office 365 is many things. It’s a licensing model for the software suite. It’s a unifying brand for the Exchange-based products. And it’s a platform for a bunch of things built in SharePoint.

What Happens when you Create a Team:

  • An Outlook Group is created
    • Inbox & Calendar
  • A SharePoint Collaboration Team site is created
    • Document Library
    • OneNote Notebook
  • A Microsoft Team is created.
    • Channels

All of that other stuff is very nice and all, but it’s all about the Channels.

You came for the Channels. You stayed for the memes.

You can also choose to connect a Microsoft Team to an existing SharePoint Collaboration site. Which totally makes sense.

If you’re an owner of a SharePoint Collaboration Team site, you’ll see a prompt at the bottom left to provision a Microsoft Team associated with the SharePoint site. Also: quite sensible.

It’s actually quite a bit of infrastructure that’s provisioned when you make a new Team. That’s fine. We ask the Owners once a year if their Team is still needed. If not then BAM.

The point is: Microsoft really really REALLY wants you to use Microsoft Teams.

Here’s How Teams Works

  • Every Team has at least one Owner who can DO ALL THE THINGS.
  • Everyone else who is a Member and can Read and Contribute all content. Read this again.
  • Teams are Private by default but you can choose to make them Public to NSCC. Please don’t.
  • Teams are discoverable in that you can search for a Team and request membership from the Owner.
  • There is no deeper level of granularity.

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Here’s How Channels Work

Every Team has a General channel that is essentially for broadcast messaging. If you’re a member of a Team, you’re gonna get notified of stuff that is talked about in the General channel.

The Team owner can make other channels to organize the conversation by topic, project or interest.

The first channel you should make is Off-topic, so all the cat videos, animated gifs and memes stay out of the General channel. You’re welcome.

You can have as many channels as you deem necessary, but remember that too many will fracture the conversation.

Also: Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig. By this I mean that you’re going to have to let go and not hyper-manage the channels. People gonna do what they gonna do.

Conversations in Channels are threaded so it’s easier to read.

See that great big space at the top of the Teams client? Search is your friend.

Files and Notes

This is where the SharePoint-y bits start to show up. In every Channel, you’ll see a Files and a Notes tab. These point to folders in the associated Document Library and OneNote notebook.

What’s cool about this is that you can collaborate on a document right within the Teams Channel.

Remember

There’s no right or wrong way to use Microsoft Teams. Some ways may be better than others, but if you can make it work, then go for it.

Got a question about Microsoft Teams?

Ask away below and I’ll do my very best!

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