13 things I did in 1 hour with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams went GA this week.  I took it for a test drive Wednesday night, and I couldn’t believe what I got done in just an hour (be forewarned: the screenshots were taken Friday when I wrote this blog!)…

1. Created a new Team

…And with it got a shiny new Office 365 Group, Exchange Distribution List, SharePoint Site, Exchange calendar, etc.

This is the typical case for Microsoft Teams: collaborate with a team (get it?) on a business process.

I work with our other directors, our partners and our sales team to collaborate on sales pursuits.  Our current process uses SharePoint document sets, but it’s a little cumbersome, so I built a new process in Teams.

We’re all on the team– the 4 other directors, the partners and the sales team.  Different sub-groups of us collaborate on different pursuits, so we create a channel for each pursuit.  This automatically creates a folder in the SharePoint Documents library on the Team site, accessible in the Files tab for each channel.

Files

The same files appear in SharePoint when clicking the Open in SharePoint button.

SharePoint.png

 

2. Chatted with my team and @mentioned team members by name

Another cut-and-dry use case here, but it’s smooth as butter.  Anyone I @mention gets a notification.

I also downloaded Teams app for iOS.  Works as expected, and I get notifications when someone @mentions me.

3. Got silly

I can send images, gifs and smileys right inside the rich text message editor.  There’s even a handy meme generator for putting my coworkers in their place:

Meme.png
I saved the “Broke the build” sticker for my dev channel.

4. Pinned a document for quick access & chat

With a proposal due Friday, I decided it made sense to pin our roadmap presentation to our pursuit channel to make it easier for everyone to find.  Teams let me choose the document to pin and added the tab (which I renamed to “Roadmap Deck”).  Clicking the tab shows the presentation and allows me to edit it in PowerPoint or PowerPoint Online.

choose presentationdeck.png

The possibilities here speak for themselves: if you need to collaborate around a document for a short period of time, or you use something like an Excel workbook to manage a team process, pinning a document as a channel tab just makes too much sense.

 

DocChat.png
You can even chat about the document right in the tab.

 

 

5. Created a Wiki to help the old fogies learn how to use Teams

This is one of those features I didn’t know I needed until I used it.  When I created my Sales Pursuits team, I noticed a Wiki tab was created in the General channel (in fact, a Wiki tab gets created for every channel by default).  I renamed the tab to “Using Teams for Sales Pursuits” and began filling it with how-to instructions to help some of my less-technically-inclined coworkers learn how to use Teams for collaborating on pursuits.

I created two pages, each of which appeared in the Wiki navigation with sections on the page listed beneath it for easy navigation. I imagine this being even more essential when Microsoft opens up Teams for external users.

Wiki1.png

6. Cut the clutter from my list of Teams and Channels

One.  Hour.

One hour is all it took for me and the other geeks at PSC to start creating teams an inviting everyone and their brother to join them.  So I favorited the teams and channels I cared about and hid the rest.

Favorites.png
Favorite teams are shown at the top of the Teams list, with non-favorites hidden beneath the “More” button until it’s expanded.

Hiding a team channel is easy, too. Just remove it as a favorite (by default, channels you create are marked as favorites):

Manage clutter 1

Non-favorited channels are hidden in the “{n} more channels” button and can be opened or re-added as a favorite by clicking the “{n} more channel(s)” button.

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7. Connected my team to a different SharePoint document library

I already mentioned that we had a document-set-based collaboration process for sales pursuits.  I know that introducing new technology without a change management plan is bad practice, so I added a tab to our General channel so my team can easily find all the documents in our “legacy” SharePoint site.

Adding a tab for a SharePoint site is easy: just paste the site URL, click Go, and select the site after Teams verifies that it’s actually a SharePoint site (hint: don’t hit Enter, because that triggers the back button :-O).

Add sharepoint site
Adding a SharePoint site as a tab in my channel is easy… unless I hit Enter on my keyboard.

Once the site is loaded, I picked the document library I wanted in my tab from the list of site libraries:

Pick library

 

I even got the option to rename my tab and post about it in the conversations for the channel:

Legacy

 

8. Added a new Team on top of an existing Office 365 Group

We recently began using Office Groups for each of our client projects; when we start a project, we create a Project Group for the project team and our clients.

Of course, I wanted to spread the Teams love to my project teams using existing Office 365 Groups.  In Apple-like fashion, it just worked.

When creating a new team, I had the option to add a Team to an existing Office 365 Group:

add team

 

WARNING:  If you create a Team for an existing Office 365 Group and decide to delete the Team, doing so deletes the whole Office 365 Group! 

Delete.png

Sure, there’s a safety checkbox, but be careful.  You’ve been warned.

9. Created a Planner plan for my project Team

We’ve gotten in the habit of using Planner to handle PM for our small-to-midsize projects because Microsoft Project is just overkill unless the project is large and we’re managing 5+ resources.

After adding a new tab to the project team’s General channel and choosing Planner, I got to choose between creating a new plan or using an existing one (for Teams created from existing Office 365 Groups, chances are you already have a Planner plan created for your group).  This means that Teams opens up the ability to create multiple plans for a single Office 365 Group, which was not previously possible.

Choose a plan.png

Boom! My plan showed up in the Planner tab and I could immediately create and move cards and buckets.

Planner.png

10. Added Kanban board tabs to track features and user stories

This is where Teams’ potential to revolutionize our project collaboration flow really began to stand out.

We decided to use the project team’s General channel for PM work and handle all of our development conversation in a separate, nerdier Dev channel.  And you can’t spell modern development PM without “K-a-n-b-a-n”, right?

Enter the Visual Studio Team Services tab.  In seconds, I added the feature-level work board (you can choose to show epics, features or user stories when adding the tab) directly to  our PM channel.  Doing so was as simple as connecting to Visual Studio Team Services with my Azure AD account and choosing the team project (note: Microsoft Account VSTS boards are not yet accessible in the Visual Studio Team Services work board tab).

Features.png
I chose to add a Visual Studio Team Services work board, but Jira tabs are supported, too.

And on our Dev channel, I added a Kanban board for user stories:

MoneyGo.png

11. Pinged some code with Markdown

Speaking of our Dev channel, it turns out that Teams announced full support for Markdown (including pre-formatted code!) in chat:

Markdown1.png

12. Connected a Power BI dashboard

Still on the Dev thing, although the PM in me appreciates this one, too.

We already use Power BI to roll up bug, build, sprint and Git commit/pull request reports from our Visual Studio Team Services projects.  A couple weeks ago, I geeked out about the ability to embed these dashboards in modern SharePoint sites with the new Power BI SPFx web part.

Welp, you can do the same thing in Teams, now, and it’s awesome:

powerbi.png

13. Joined a meeting

This next one makes the case for being able to stay in Teams for most of my work day.  The Meetings section in the Teams app showed me all my meetings for the day (and coming days) and let me join Skype meetings directly with a single button click.

 

meeting.png
This screenshot is from a different day, but you get the point.

 

What didn’t I do?

That’s the beauty… a lot.

In an hour, I did all this (not the blog, that took longer).  The sky is the limit for Teams, and I get the feeling that I haven’t even scratched the surface.  I played with connectors and some of the other tab apps, but the things I covered in this blog were so stupid simple that anyone can do them without training.

I’m looking forward to peeling back the layers and seeing what Microsoft has in store for extensibility…

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New in Office 365: Copy files from OneDrive to Groups and SharePoint sites

This morning, a much-anticipated feature hit our Office-365 tenant: the ability to copy files directly from the OneDrive to SharePoint sites, all in the OneDrive interface.

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I was greeted with this message when I logged into OneDrive.

I gave it a test drive, and it works more or less as you would expect.  To copy a file, select the checkbox next a OneDrive file (there is no option yet in the “right click” menu), then click Copy to in the ribbon.

 

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***(I edited this image to protect my clients’ privacy)

 

By default, you are shown a list of your most recent sites.  Clicking Browse sites displays sites you follow at the top, and recent sites below.  You can click Show more to show more sites.

 

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I was pleasantly surprised that subsites (not just root sites of site collections) were also displayed in my list of recent sites.

 

I was slightly disappointed at the lack of search functionality or the ability to browse a complete list of sites, but hey, this is a great start.  Selecting a site brings up a menu that allows you to choose a document library; once inside a library, you can even create a new folder.

 

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After selecting a site, you can choose the destination library and even create a folder once a library is selected.

The rest is gravy.

 

Happy file copying!  If you don’t see this functionality in your tenant just yet, don’t worry– it’s rolling out to First Release customers now, and will be generally available later this year.