Best Practices when Deploying Microsoft Teams

By Steve Crawford

Do you remember 25 years ago when email was first invented and various professional insisted that it was ‘just a fad?’ Well, email is now used globally by nearly every single company in the world. While email still the main form of workplace communication for most organizations, the invention of Microsoft Teams and other collaboration tools is beginning to take over. 

In one of our previous articles, we discussed the various benefits that collaboration toolsincluding Microsoft Teams, can bring to organizations, such as saving time, decreasing confusion, and increasing organizational transparency. All of which tie in to increasing the organization’s overall revenue and profit, especially considering one study found that the average ROI for Microsoft Teams is 832%. What we didn’t discuss in that article, however, was how deploying Teams in the wrong way can actually hinder productivity rather than help it.  

What most of us tend to overlook, is that if organizational leaders don’t create and enforce the right standards for Microsoft Teams, it can result in even more issues than before. Without a customized infrastructure in place, Microsoft Teams can and will become a free for all, and employees will start using it without intention, which ultimately drives away from organizational goals.  If you want your organization to reap all of the possible benefits that Teams can bring, you have to make sure you’re implementing these best practices for the tool’s deployment.

Using Teams as a Team Tool

Despite the opposing intentions behind Outlook and Teams, many organizations are using them identically, which is simply for individual communication purposes. While one of the purposes behind Microsoft Teams was to provide instantaneous messages, that wasn’t intended to be the sole and main use of the tool. One study discovered that employees at large companies are sending an average of 200 collaboration tool messages each week, and more often than not, only a small number of those messages are related to organizational goals.

If your organization is already using Teams, or maybe Slack, you probably know the types of messages that are typically sent in Teams and Channels. Sometimes there’s personal messages about what someone is doing, often times there are memes and gifs being shared, and as a user, it’s hard to decipher and filter the important messages from the unimportant ones. If Teams is consistently misused like this by employees, it will just become a second inbox for them—one that takes even more time to manage!

Invest in Comprehensive Training Programs

Rather than considering the consequences that a rushed digital tool training could have on their employees and their productivity,  some organizations tend to push out the quickest and easiest training program they have at their disposal. This quick and easy training program is generally the included “how-to” Teams instructions from Microsoft, which is focused on features and benefits of the tool versus how to use it for maximum effectiveness in specific roles. While these training’s provide a basic knowledge of how to use a tool,  they don’t go in to depth about how each person will use that tool for their own role and expectations. 

If your Microsoft Teams training isn’t role-specific, employees will never know if they’re using the tool productively or not. Further more, employees might not be using Teams as productively as they could be, which, if they were to focus on reaching their maximum productivity potential with it, could save a lot of time and energy for both the individual and organization. Pushing out the quickest training option may seem like the best decision in the moment; however, slowing down and investing in customized training is undoubtedly the best option long-term. 

Set and Enforce Clear Usage Standards

Setting up and enforcing usage standards is essential for the productive use of any company-wide tool. As one of the most common pitfalls of Microsoft Teams, a lack of governance is the key difference between sustainable and short-term tool adoption. 

To enforce a governance process, organizational leaders should be making decisions about usage rules before they deploy Teams to the rest of the company. For example, Microsoft suggests that organizations clarify and adhere to strict usage rules, such as deciding who can create teams, what the naming conventions for teams will be, and what the guest access capabilities will be. This process will reduce confusion and overcommunication, as it limits who has access to Teams’ main usage settings. It will also prevent individuals from sending personal or unimportant messages in Teams and Channels, which would drastically reduce the number of messages that employees are using each week. 

Make Sure You’re Deploying Teams the RIGHT Way 

In order to experienceall of the benefits that can come from collaboration tools, organizations must ensure they’re deploying Teams the right way. Focusing on these best practices will not only make your organization and employees more productive, but it will also set you up for long-term success. When a tool is deployed and adopted in a sustainable manner, the benefits that can come from it are limitless.  

For more information on how to properly deploy Teams, check out our new White Paper, Creating Infrastructure and Governance for Productivity in Microsoft Teams. You can also contact us today to hear more about how our Driving Productivity Through Microsoft Teams program can help your organization. Whether you’ve already deployed Teams or are looking to do so soon, our consultants can help you figure out how to productively implement the tool in to your organization.  

Learn More About Microsoft Teams Adoption

Our Driving Productivity Through Microsoft Teams course is designed to help organizations use Microsoft Teams to create an infrastructure designed for success, enforce governance by setting team standards, and better manage their workflows to focus on achieving team goals.

Learn More
By |2019-08-22T17:05:16-06:00August 19th, 2019|

About the Author:

Over the span of his career, Senior Consultant and Director of Alignment and Accountability, Steven Crawford has established a well-deserved reputation as the go-to resource for resolving the most demanding business operations challenges, achieving critical operational and financial goals. Particularly effective in leading operations struggling with tough economic, competitive and regulatory conditions – he has mastered organizational, financial and leadership skills critical to strong, integrated operational planning and management.