Get Going with Microsoft Teams

Posted on 24 March 2020

Microsoft Teams has seen explosive usage growth in the past few weeks as companies look for tools to allow more staff to work from home. 12 Million new users were added last week alone. I’ve seen some people doing this very well and others struggling to know where to start. Microsoft provide some good resources to get you and your team up to speed quickly.

Teams is a hub for team work. At the most basic level it provides three essential tools:

  • Online meetings with video and screen sharing
  • Chat for communicating with team members or individuals (privately)
  • File access for document collaboration

That isn’t the full story, Teams has many other features but lets walk before we run! Once you are ready, consider adding Tabs to present SharePoint Content, Planner, OneNote along with other applications and content.

Getting Started

Users need an Office 365 Plan with Microsoft Teams. Most Business, Enterprise, Academic and Government Plans include Teams as standard. There is also a free edition of Teams,

Consider security requirements. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is included in some Office 365 Plans and it is recommended to have this enabled, so you don’t open yourself up to a security risk.

Consider who can create Teams. You can use an AD Group to control who has permission to create Teams.

Consider your external Sharing and Guest users. Do you want to allow external sharing or turn it off by default? Turning it off reduces the ability for people to collaborate externally. It can be enabled or disabled at the Team level.

Create Teams either via the Teams Admin Portal or using PowerShell.

Users can access Teams via and either access it via the Web Browser or Teams App for Windows.

Install the Mobile App, to provide calling, chat and file sharing to users on their phones.

How to Structure your Teams

Getting going quickly means not spending a lot of time on Information Architecture, but it is still important to consider structure so you can apply policies, keep content secure and allow the right people to collaborate. You might want Teams for:

  • Communicating to the entire organisation
  • Team or Departments to collaborate together
  • A specific business function e.g. emergency response, health and safety, social club
  • Projects
  • Interest Groups

At the Team level you can:

  • Assign Owners, Members (can edit) and Visitors (can read only)
  • You can invite external guest users (they will see all content by default)
  • Setup Channels to keep related content and communications together
  • Apply a retention policy
  • Apply a sensitivity label (in preview currently) to secure content later
  • Enable or disable external sharing

Microsoft has a guide to organising Teams covering best practice.

Free training

Learning how to use Teams is important. To get yourself and your team working well, have a look at these resources:

A few last thoughts

Some organisations will have compliance requirements that applies to the content stored in Teams. The Office 365 Security and Compliance features can help with this, but may not deliver everything you need. Keep that in mind as you may need to address these requirements later, especially if you’re doing a rapid deployment.

Migrating large amounts of content is also something to avoid if you’re in a rush. Just focus on what is important and priorities must have over nice to have content. Your users will more likely need access to key documents like procedures, policies and work in progress rather than archived or inactive content from several years ago. I like to use a spreadsheet to track the content moves, so I have a reference later when it comes time to find content that wasn’t migrated or remember where something was moved to.

This post was put together quickly to help answer questions I’ve been getting from the community. I’ll add more resources over the next few days and expand on the points above.

Contact Us

Level 1
518 Colombo Street
Christchurch Central

PO Box 2386
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

+64-3 376 4525

Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved