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Collaboration with Microsoft Teams? – tested for you!

Tobias Kablitz
March 26, 2018

We at Made in Office have taken a closer look at Microsoft Teams, and would like to show you how you, too, can make communication and collaboration within your corporation more efficient.

The importance of autonomous team work within the corporation is ever-growing. According to a survey conducted by Microsoft and the University of Darmstadt, work groups are becoming more efficient with the aid of specialized tools (Deutsche Social Collaboration Study 2016). The main goal of Microsoft Teams is intuitive and spontaneous communication, and to always be up to date on chats, calls and meetings.

By definition, Microsoft Teams is a chat environment in Office 365, that primarily serves as a communication tool within work groups as well as private conversations. In addition, the application is linked to Skype for Business. This allows you to invite all team members to audio and video calls. In the long run, Microsoft aims to integrate Skype for Business functions directly into Teams, which will eventually replace Skype altogether. A connection to Drive for Business also makes Teams a collaborative platform with integrated access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint. This way, you can edit documents directly via Microsoft Teams.

This chat-based application has chat histories and tabs that allow quick access to all documents and tools such as “Planner” with which tasks can be clearly displayed on a Kanban board and assigned to colleagues. Tools from third-party developers, such as SurveyMonkey, can also be integrated. External users, for example agencies, can also be invited to individual teams.

For some time now, we at Made in Office have been using Microsoft Teams as a communication tool, which facilitates collaboration independent of department or location. An example is a discussion platform on which our sales department, which is spread across two continents and our locations in Cologne, New York, Paris, London, and Zurich, confer client requests and specific requirements. Cross-departmental projects that our development, product services, and sales departments, and many other sections are working on can be easily planned and executed without time-constrained meetings in a conference room.

Since the beginning of the year, we have also begun using Microsoft Teams as an internal short news channel. This way, all colleagues are kept up to date, and everyone can “tweet” helpful or interesting notes such as new clients or pastries in the office kitchen.

 

Conclusion:

The numerous benefits aside, the tool lacks some pro-features especially concerning the over display of channels or notification settings. For example, to date it is not possible to archive channels. Users run the risk of becoming overwhelmed once they have accumulated a considerable number of channels in Teams. New channels also automatically vanish in the drop-down menu of a team and can be overlooked, if more than three channels already exist.

As a workaround, we at Made in Office have come up with our own solution. Each team has a general channel in which new topics are announced. To retain clarity and to avoid to many parallel conversations within a team we advise to open a new channel for every new range of topics. In order to avoid overlooking the new channels and to make them directly visible in the feed it is advisable to mark them as favourites. You can also adjust the notification settings to be notified of new messages in a chat via email. Currently, this very intuitive and requires not only the activation of notifications but also that you follow the channel you wish to be notified of.

Regardless of these initial teething troubles we cherish the advantages of Teams and use it daily to improve communication and collaboration in our corporation. Conclusively, Microsoft Teams is a trendsetting collaboration tool, which will also make teamwork in your organization easier and more efficient.

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