Deliver superpowers to your people with Teams (pt. 1)

Published 10-17-2018 09:31 AM 33.9K Views

A little background … 

Over the past five years at Microsoft, one thing has become abundantly clear to me: while the evolution of technology has and continues to support many organizations in becoming more efficient, the foundation for future success lies in delivering work practices and culturesthat people desire. This is exactly why we built Microsoft Teams. It's not simply the hot new messaging and collaboration tool, it's a new way of working that is aligned to the modern ways in which people naturally interact with one another. I would not be writing this if I couldn't confidently say that...  


          I spend the majority of my day in Microsoft Teams and it has drastically improved the way I work, saved
countless hours, and is one of those products that fires me up when I see a new feature. 


What to expect from this series … 

Many of you ask Microsoft and our partners how to deliver the work practices and culture your people desire using Microsoft Teams. 


          How do you get your people, particularly the laggards, to adopt and love Teams? 


This is a great question, and as one of Microsoft's Teams Champions I feel compelled to address it. Each post in this series will contain details on a new productivity hack, or superpower*, with some real-life examples, as well as updates sharing where we are investing in Teams to enhance this experience. 


Why do you care about superpowers? 

While adoption requires some effort, getting people to adopt and love Teams is probably easier than you'd thinkThe key is to give people a compelling reason. How do you do that? By leveraging the Teams platform, which will help you deliver experiences that make the least productive tasks at work, easy, giving your people superpowers to do their jobs better, more efficiently and more transparently.  


Talk to me more about this Teams platform … 

We know that every workplace team is unique, though one commonality all teams share is the need for a variety of apps and tools to get work done. While there is no such thing as a universal tool for work, we believe that Teams is the universal toolkit to infuse all those apps and tools together. The extensibility of the Teams platform allows you to bring together all the apps and tools you love - whether or not Microsoft built them - into one application. In order to deliver that experience, we have a publicly available Teams Store with 200+ applications and growing**,  

 Teams Store.jpg


and we are regularly releasing APIs to help you integrate any additional tools and apps you'd like into your Teams experience.  


How do you get started? 

  • Second post in this series can be read here
  • Guidance for "the first ten things to do on Teams": see below and attached. I've made some minor adjustments to a great document that one of my colleagues created. 
  • Success with Teams page: further guidance and materials to support your Teams adoption efforts. 


The first ten things to do in Teams (#6 and #7 are personal faves): 


  1. Connect from anywhere. 

Download the Microsoft Teams desktop and mobile apps to enable teamwork from anywhere. Free version here and if your company has Office 365 already you can download the Teams desktop app either in your Office 365 portal or by contacting your IT admin. Mobile app is downloadable in your respective mobile app store. 


  1. Start with chat.  

Create a small group chat with colleagues you work with most closely, a great way to communicate in the moment. You can name and ‘pin’ the chat for easy locating.  


  1. Create new teams, thoughtfully. 

Create larger teams with dedicated channels around specific topics, projects, disciplines—whatever you like. Better to have fewer, larger teams with more channels than many, small teams with few channels. The Microsoft Graph APIs will allow you to better manage this process within your organization.  


  1. Customize channels.  

Upload files to the appropriate channel and add frequently used files to a tab to make them easier for everyone to find.  


  1. Help foster active channels. 

Be personally active in channels and @team name or @general to highlight posts for the whole group, and @ mention individuals if not relevant for the entire team.  


  1. Add your favorite apps to your Teams experience.  

Do more in one place by bringing your favorite apps and services—such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PowerBI, Trello, Polly YouTube and more—into Teams chats and channels.  


  1. Customize your activity feed. 

Follow the channels (within Teams) that are most relevant to you. This will allow you to get activity notifications any time something is posted in that channel and focus on the content that’s only most important to you and reduce information overload. 


  1. Spotlight key resources. 

Pin key websites used to track news, performance, live site monitoring or metric tracking so everyone can access this information right within Teams.  


  1. Elevate email conversations. 

Forward email to a team channel to continue the discussion in a threaded chat conversation, with attachments automatically uploaded for easy team co-authoring. This is my polite way of telling my colleagues to start using Teams.  


  1. Share content from other services. 

Set up connectors to push content into Microsoft Teams from services like GitHub or Twitter.


* shout out to my good friend Steve Moses for the superpowers concept

Part 2 of the series: How to deliver superpowers to your people with Teams (pt. 2)

Senior Member
Occasional Contributor

How about delivering the top requests on UserVoice first? Things like private channels, compact mode, multi-window support, reliable notifications. Many of these have been in "working on it" state for 600+ days.


You mention "customize channels" - there are very few customization options in Teams. You can't rename or delete the default channel. You can't choose which teams appear on the side bar. You can't move channels from one team to another, or group them, or create groups of teams. You can't set the notification settings differently on different channels.


"No options" is not an option.

Senior Member

@Sean Ellis Most of what you mention is true, but few points from my side :)


You can choose which teams you want to appear on the side bar - use the favorites for that. You can also decide the order by dragging and dropping the Teams name.


As for the notifications on channels - probably not what you are looking for, but there is an option to 'follow' channel - which will give you notification anytime there is something new posted.


Private channels tho… It's 'almost done' for at least half a year ehhh :(

Occasional Contributor

@Ray Borowski - "You can choose what teams you want to appear on the side bar"


I have just tried that and it doesn't work. Despite having a tall, narrow window with plenty of space, I am stuck with Activity, Chat, Teams, Meetings, Files and a "..." menu for the rest (which would easily fit in the remaining space - don't get me started on that one). I can't drag these around, hide them, rename them, or drag new teams into this area.


The notification granularity I would like to see should be customization of what kind of notification I get for each different event, globally, per-channel, and per-person. So I'd like to be notified with a pop-up and sound on the "Important Team News" channel, not be notified at all on the "Gossip" channel, and be notified by taskbar badge only on the "General" channel unless it's Graham because he only ever posts "amusing" gifs, or if it's an explicit @mention, also display a pop-up and a sound. Just a global "all off" and "all on" is not enough.


Compact mode is even worse than private channels. They have been "working on it" for 600+ days, and four separate people in the UserVoice chat (including me) have actually changed the CSS to make it work on the web version. Given that the Electron App is just a web page in a box, it should be nearly-trivial to allow a switch so a different CSS file. The latest attempt (by Emannuel) is by far the most complete, and took him 4 days. How can it take the development team 150x as long? Unless, of course, they are actually not working on it at all.

Senior Member

Oh, my bad, I thought you wanted to decide the order and visibility of Teams, not the options :) 



Occasional Contributor
@Ray - Yes, I wasn't very clear. As I use Teams in a narrow window (not narrow enough; compact mode needed) the teams selector is usually collapsed. It would therefore be very useful to me to be able to customize the sidebar to make use of that valuable space. It should ideally be able to contain anything - teams, channels, file folders, etc. as well as the existing links to functions.
Occasional Visitor

How about allowing users to select date and time format independently from language? I want my user inteface in English but not the date formats that come with that language. I want ISO format, YYYY-MM-DD.Language and date format in Microsoft Teams.png

It feels like a very basic setting to allow.

Version history
Last update:
‎Jan 26 2021 01:36 PM
Updated by: