The PMA Blog

Ramping up Quickly with Microsoft Teams

Posted by Stephanie Sibille and Deb Cullerton on 3/16/22 7:25 AM


Image of business friends discussing brainstorming and ideas at meeting inside beautiful modern building place

So, you just got Microsoft what? It’s just another Skype, right? Not really.

 We've all heard it by now. The low-pitched "ding" that comes through your speakers, usually accompanied by a concurrent purple pop-up window. It can mean lots of things - a response to a question that you have been needing to get answered, more work that you need to complete - or random chatter from a distribution list that you have never signed up for. But dig a little deeper, and things can start to get messy. There's a flurry of IMs coming through, and you can't keep up. Or you've been added to channels than you don’t even recognize, and you don’t know why. Or you get notified any time a file or tab gets added to a team, and you have no idea if you should ignore it or if you are suddenly missing something important that you need to be diligently checking.

 So, the big question becomes: Is Microsoft Teams a productivity goldmine or a reactivity trap?

 While it may feel like Teams has quickly gone from instant answers to firefighting central, there are some ways to bring it back to what it was designed to be – a central hub for all of your internal communication, where you can find what you need in an instant.

 While that may sound too good to be true, our years of using Teams and many conversations with internal experts have allowed us to build a strategy to get a handle on your Teams quickly.

Below are three of our top tips:

 Avoid Team Sprawl. This one only sounds easy - you create a team, and then add channels depending on who you want to collaborate with. But this can get out of control really fast. One team is added and then everyone decides to create new and different teams. For every. Single. Topic. It's like a game of whack-a-mole just to stay up to date.

 By investing a little time at the beginning to be intentional - about who needs to be on the team and which topics are necessary to create channels for - you can save yourself and those around you a lot of headaches. Our best advice? Fewer teams, more channels. You can always add more teams later, but it’s much harder to collapse existing teams/conversations.

 Use the Tabs. Most of the Teams users that we encounter live and die by chat, whether it’s through one-on-one conversations or using the @ to get someone’s attention. But the real value in working collaboratively comes from the wealth of tabs/apps you can add – from OneNote notebooks to Excel spreadsheets to websites that you’re referencing all the time anyway. Consider tabs as the tools you need to do the actual work of the channel. Imagine everyone editing a document at the same time (or at any time) with no more need for version control. And, if everyone can edit that PowerPoint file at the same, it’s one less meeting that you have to attend to collect data!

 Be Deliberate about your Notifications. Some of those dings are important - they could represent information that you have been waiting for, or a fire that you'll need to put out. But there are others that you could do without. Even if you cannot control how many channels you are added to, you do have control of a host of other notification settings, including which channels you want to hide or mute. The “Notifications” area in your settings offers a wealth of custom options, while ensuring you never miss a message from someone who really needs you.


Sounds like a lot to wrap your head around? It doesn’t have to be. Try choosing one area to focus on first.

For more information about the WS + Teams program, download a program description with this link: WorkingSm@rt + Teams.




Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, Productivity for All, All About Teams, Leadership Matters

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