Microsoft Teams Basics
Microsoft Teams is a collaborative tool released by Microsoft in 2017 that is transforming the way people work and communicate with each other. With an ongoing global pandemic, Microsoft Teams usage has grown exponentially, reaching more than 250 million active users as of July 2021.
Workers spend part of their day switching between platforms to chat with their peers, accessing project documentation, scheduling meetings, sharing files, and more. All these tasks can be centralized in a single workspace, and that workspace is Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft has a lot of experience with communication and collaborative tools, and Microsoft Teams is an evolution of their previous solutions. Teams inherits all the experience and know-how acquired from other Microsoft enterprise solutions over the last 20 years, and is the natural successor of Microsoft Lync and Skype for Business.
If you are reading this book, you have probably asked yourself, why Microsoft...
Accessing Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams plans
If you are just starting your Microsoft Teams journey now, the first thing you must do is select the plan that best suits your business needs. Teams has four different plans: a free version that is available for anyone to use and three different paid versions that are included in the Microsoft 365 business plans and Office 365.
If you are planning the implementation of Microsoft Teams, it is recommended to carefully check the features and the limits included in each of the plans – be aware of the limitations and make sure you choose whichever version best suits your needs.
Table 1.1 shows a comparison between all the plans, with their main features and respective limitations.
How to sign in to Microsoft Teams
After installing Microsoft Teams, you will need to sign in to the application. You can do this using your work, school, or Microsoft account. When you first open the Microsoft Teams application, you will be asked for your email, as shown in Figure 1.2.1. Once you have typed in your email, click on Sign in. When you do this, the application will request your password:
Figure 1.2.1: Microsoft Teams will ask for the email and password of your Microsoft account
When using the web version of Microsoft Teams, the sign-in process is a bit different. The first thing you need to do is enter https://teams.microsoft.com into the address bar of your browser. If your email account has not been authenticated for any Microsoft service, you will be redirected to the default federation...
What does Microsoft Teams look like?
Now that you have Microsoft Teams installed on one or more devices, it is time to take a look at the application layout and learn how it is organized. Figure 1.3.1 represents the web or desktop version of Microsoft Teams with all the major components identified with numbers.
Figure 1.3.1: The Microsoft Teams user interface upon launch, for desktop
- Personal app bar: By default, the app bar shows Activity, Chat, Teams, Calendar, Calls, and Files. These are the main default features of Microsoft Teams. This bar can be customized by the user or by an administrator to decide which apps are displayed and in what order. As a user, you will have the ability to pin and unpin new apps to the bar, including the default ones. Unpinned apps or apps that don't fit in the available space for the personal bar are moved to...
What is a team?
A team is a group of people that can represent a department, a project, a class, or even a sports team. Besides grouping people, Microsoft Teams also gathers a set of tools that allows members to share information and work together.
The following scenarios will be used to explain how you can tailor a team according to a set of predefined requirements. In this book you will find a few scenarios used to explain Microsoft Teams' features. They do not cover all the industry sectors but can be easily adjusted to other contexts.
Team scenario #1: Mary, the marketing manager
Mary is the marketing manager for a multinational company, leading a global marketing team currently working on a worldwide campaign for the holidays. Mary has created a team in Microsoft Teams that allows her to do the following:
- Keep conversations about the campaign with other members of the marketing department
- Share documents about the campaign ...
What is a channel?
A Teams channel is a section inside of a team that helps you organize conversations, files, and applications inside a container. By default, all teams are created with the General channel, which, by default, includes the conversations tab, files, and wiki.
Channels are public by default, but if it has been enabled by the administrator, it is also possible to create private or shared channels. Private and shared channels will be explained in detail in Chapter 5, Private vs Public vs Shared: Teams and Channels.
Channel scenario #1: Mary, the marketing manager
Mary is the marketing manager for a multinational company, leading a global marketing team currently working on a worldwide campaign for the holidays. She is working with the company designers to create advertisements for the campaign. To avoid distracting other members and to keep the information about this topic centralized, Mary has created a new channel inside the team. In the...
What is a tab?
In Teams, tabs allow team members to access applications and content in the context of a channel inside a team. Tabs also allow team members to have conversations in the context of a tab to discuss the content the tab is displaying.
On Microsoft Teams, you will find two types of tabs: the built-in ones that come by default with the application and the custom ones that are added by applications that can be installed on Microsoft Teams, either from the store or manually uploaded.
Tab scenario #1: Mary, the marketing manager
Mary wants to make sure the advertisements for the campaign are on track, and to do this she has added a new tab to the channel with the Tasks by Planner and To Do applications, showing the tasks of each designer.
In this chapter, you learned about the basic concepts and operations within Microsoft Teams. Now, you are ready to start building your own teams. We can compare Microsoft Teams components to Russian dolls, with the team, channel, and tab structure being the nested components inside of a team structure.
The three base concepts of Microsoft Teams are organized hierarchically and have dependencies between them. A tab can only exist inside of a channel and a channel can only exist inside of a team. This structure gives you the flexibility you need to build your teams by following the internal organization of companies or schools.
In the next chapter, you will learn how to use the main features of Microsoft Teams to communicate with other members of Teams.