Microsoft Teams Etiquette Part 5: Channels

04 Jun 2020, MOQdigital

Business Insights

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With Microsoft Teams rapidly (and mandatorily) succeeding Skype for Business, a lot of people are going to need to learn about an unfamiliar software program – fast. Here’s Part 5 of our series on how to make Teams into a fun and productive experience for your entire department.

How do channels work in Microsoft Teams?

Teams and Channels are the two major functional divisions within Microsoft Teams. Teams are groups of people – either a departmental organisation, or a cross-functional group dedicated to a particular project or long-term goal. Channels exist within the Team structure.

Channels are designed as a functional subunit of Teams. If a Team is a corporate department, for example, then a Channel might be organised around a project within that department, or a specific departmental task force. In a finance department team, you might have a channel dedicated to performing audits. In a Team devoted to a project – such as a product launch – you might have an individual channel devoted to sub-tasks such as creating marketing content or package design.

By default, all Team members can post in every Channel, with the exception of private channels, but the Channels exist to keep the topics organised and on-task.

Making channels easier in Microsoft Teams

When creating Channels, start small at first. You probably don’t need a channel for every topic under the sun. Instead, try to keep it to five channels or less. In a Team set up for a sales organisation, for example, you might have:

  • General conversations

  • Account planning

  • New sales opportunities

  • Sales training material

  • Sales strategies

 If a Channel starts going severely off-topic, or if people start to have a lot of questions about things not mentioned in the list above, then you can start new Channels. You should be very careful about renaming existing channels, however – it’s very easy to get people confused.

Don’t underestimate the purpose of the “General” channel. This serves as a great place to make team-wide announcements, to provide help for those new to using Microsoft Teams, and to conduct the normal administrative business of working in an office. It’s a great place to conduct a morning stand up or scrum meeting.

Lastly, be aware that every post exists forever within Channels. Each piece of information is fully searchable, which means that you can always find historical announcements, notifications where you were mentioned, and other important events.

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