Just like in any leadership role, whether it’s for a sports team, corporate role, or mentorship, being a Microsoft Teams team owner comes with responsibilities and demands. Being a team owner can also be fulfilling as you see your co-workers achieve success by working more effectively using the Teams application. Let’s first define your role as a team owner.
A team owner is responsible for the day-to-day membership management and activity governance for a team. A team owner is most successful when they embrace the following principles:
• Reduce context-switching (minimize the number of separate windows someone needs)
• Keep your team members up-to-date (evangelize the newest innovations)
• Understand membership management and settings (get the right people to the right spaces)
reduce context switching
A team owner keeps team members engaged and using built-in Teams tools effectively. Why have your co-workers jockey around to other applications when you can house them all in the same location? The idea behind this is to save time and reduce context-switching. You can organize your team’s work into logical channels and tabs that incorporate all of your team’s tools and information. Whether this is adding a tab for Service Now, embedding your Planner plan as a tab, or just using Files (SharePoint) and posts, your team will be able to go to a single location (your team) to access everything they need to digitally work together efficiently.
Use the default General channel as a place to house fun and timely information for your Team, small talk like welcoming new employees, general surveys or polls, etc.
Creating new channels is an excellent way to keep conversations, files, and other content focused on a particular topic in one location. Create additional channels for these specific topics, not dissimilar to how you’d organize files into different folders based on their function/role/topic. This might include channels focused on content types, geographies, reports, projects, clients, initiatives, etc.
Each channel’s files will be housed in their own SharePoint folder within the SharePoint site associated with your team. Should you decide to allow for Private channels, it is vital you understand this content is housed in a separate SharePoint site and has unique permissions. Private channels also limit what other applications you can incorporate.
Channels are not just for conversations and file sharing. Channels can be built out by adding in additional tabs; I call this adding the meat and potatoes to your channel. By selecting the + symbol you can display/collaborate on files, incorporate a M365 survey and the results, add your OneNote as a place to house notes, share a Stream video of a meeting, display a Power BI report or bring in part of your SharePoint site. Can you think of a more effective way to have the resources you need all in one location? The possibilities are endless; and these tabs can be customized to be in the order you find most useful. tabs can be renamed and removed at any time; remember the ability to manage these tabs is set in your team permissions.
keep your team members up-to-date
Part of owning a team also involves keeping your members educated on new Teams features, functions, and useful applications that can make your team more efficient. One way to accomplish this might be sharing Teams Tech Community blog posts or Teams Twitter updates to your General Channel when relevant, or even adding the RSS app to your team or creating a Power Automate flow to help automate posting blog updates.
Remind your team to check the Help area inside the application (lower-left corner); there you’ll find a What’s New location that will keep everyone updated on the newest key features being launched.
team membership and settings
As a team owner you are also responsible for the management of its members and guests. You should have a good understanding of permissions and roles within a team. It is highly recommended you always have at least two team owners for a team in case someone goes on vacation or would leave the company. Using the ellipsis (three dots) next to your team name you can access or manage your Team. This takes you to a screen to manage your members initially (see the following screenshot). From this first tab (Members) you can add, delete, edit members, or manage guests (people outside your company, if allowed by administrators). I might recommend adding Tags to your team members as way to describe their roles or locations. These tags can be used to notify people by using the @ mention symbol.
Along with handling the Team membership comes the responsibility of the team’s settings. This is where you can customize and manage what your team members can and cannot do. Here you will determine permissions for both your team members and its guests. Examples of these permissions would be can members create private channels, add, or remove apps or give members the ability to add tags? You can also adjust guest permissions; however, it is important to know your guest permissions cannot be more permissive than your member permissions.
From this menu you can also control the use (or over-use) of the @ mention concept. The Team code can also be generated from this location and used to join a Team. Here you can manage the “Fun Stuff” side of Teams, which allows for emojis. memes, GIFS or stickers. Teams also provides these methods to make work a little more fun, adding a lighthearted humor to your daily conversations. There are also other applications to engage, show gratitude, and encourage your teammates such as the Praise application. Using applications like Praise is a great way to personally call out and enforce positive relationships with your team members; especially while many of us are working virtually.
By using the Channels tab, you can choose which channels are shown for all users (restrict hiding) and see last activity date (such as a visit by a member) to see what channels can possibly be deleted or repurposed. As mentioned earlier engagement is key to the success of the Teams application.
Along the lines of focusing on engagement, be sure to check out the Analytics tab in settings as well. This will give you an idea of social engagement (posts, reactions, etc.), channels activity, file activity, and more.
As I’ve mentioned throughout keeping your team educated and informed about the various functions Teams provides is essential. Educate your team on all the meeting functions; whether they are scheduling regular meetings or using the Meet Now feature. Teach them how to manage their team navigation panel (or rail) so that important channels are pinned to the top. The Teams application has many ways to bookmark conversations, files, channels or posts so that they can get to the content they need in a timely manner. Lastly educate your teammates on how to manage notifications; you don’t want anyone to miss an important announcement or post.
At Centriq, we offer two courses to help learners understand how to best utilize the Teams application. Whether you are an every day user of Teams or you are looking for some of the more advanced features of Teams, we have you covered. We understand employees are a company’s most important investment and utilizing the Teams application to its fullest helps them, and your organization, find success. Get started with your M365 Subscription adoption journey with help from Centriq. For individual training classes and Microclasses, check out our options.
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