Setting up Microsoft Teams for Your Project
Microsoft Teams is the latest and greatest from Microsoft in their suite of collaboration tools. Teams is gaining a solid foothold in the industry as a de-facto tool for online team collaboration. This post will speak to some of the key things that you as a project manager can do to get the most out of your team’s Team.
Adding Tabs for Other Information Sources
Teams boasts a very strong library of integration with other systems that you may be using as part of your project management tool kit. Tools such as Planner, Power BI, Trello, SharePoint, Smartsheet and Microsoft Forms are just a few of the many out of the box services available to be quickly and easily integrated into Teams with just a few button clicks. While you don’t want to overload your Team with too much, having critical systems that you use for project management are great to have on your Team to provide quick and easy access. Things like Planner (for task management), Power BI (for any reporting you want to surface) and Smartsheet (your schedule) are key items that I would heavily recommend adding to your Team.
Adding Channels for Work Streams
Teams boasts a great way to separate audiences and conversations and that is through setting up multiple channels. Each Team instance comes with a ‘General’ (or default) channel. As you define your streams of work in your project, you can utilize multiple channels to streamline communications regarding those streams of work. Perhaps you have a large data migration component to your project – you could set up a separate channel for this work which can include its own document library, links to migration-specific documents and most importantly, a conversation thread focused solely on your data migration. This not only helps to streamline communications but it also allows you as the project manager to quickly and effectively change focus as needed without needing to claw through a mountain of documents or emails.
Utilizing Chat & Meetings
As more and more teams are geographically dispersed, the importance of electronic communication is becoming stronger and stronger. Skype is a wonderful tool for instant messaging and meetings, however it is another tool, widening the tool set footprint. Teams offers both a chat and meetings space that functions very closely to Skype, except you have the ability to @ mention recipients to notify them. While these two features are probably less utilized than most other features in Teams, it does make Teams a somewhat all-encompassing tool that fosters communications through your project team.
Microsoft Teams, while still relatively new to the PM industry, is quickly gaining a strong foothold in the market and is quickly becoming a darling among the project management community with its simplistic approach to team collaboration and document management.