Nov 12 2020 08:31 AM
Nov 12 2020 08:31 AM
Disclaimer: Please take this as constructive criticism - it is meant as such. You could also see it as things to be aware of, if you're considering going all in on Teams as we have - or maybe you can give me some tips/pointers for things that I may have overlooked?
We've started using Teams in our organization and I myself am project manager for the rollout. Our usage has started pretty abruptly in that we've migrated everything from file shares to Teams in an educational organization with 2000 employees and 20000 students.
While the migration has gone pretty well without major issues, we're starting to see some challenges where Teams as a product just isn't fully baked yet, the way I see it. Especially when it comes to working with files. It is a great product chat in channels and groups of people and occasional collaboration on files, but files really aren't a first class citizen as of yet. We're seeing challenges when it comes to some of the most common usage scenarios - especially if you don't sync folders from Teams to File Explorer. We're starting to move away from file explorer, as it is giving some challenges when synchronizing too many files.
You might say that we're trying to use it for what it wasn't meant for, and I get that, but I hope that by giving this feedback, I might help shed some light on some of the issues that need some work. Some of these issues are currently represented on uservoice, but they often drown or are disjointed and don't give an coherent picture of how challenging it can be to work with files in Teams and do some of the most basic tasks. I'd say the overarching theme is that Teams and Office 365 in general seems more catered to people who work on the same stuff again and again (with a focus on recent files, pinned files, etc.) and not so much on people who need to browse their way to stuff - we have a lot of people who like to find their stuff like this.
1. Creating files directly from Office apps
If I want to start from Word and create a new file (from a template for instance), it is not easy to navigate to a Teams file structure and find the right folder to save it to. If I'm lucky, I can save it to a folder that I've recently worked in or that I have pinned for that particular app. I cannot pin folders across Office apps and pinned folders don't show up on the front page of office.com
2. Opening files directly from Office apps
This has gotten a lot better over the past year or so and works well for files that I have worked on recently, but I can't easily browse my way to files in a team. If I go to the File->Open dialogue, and go to Sites (SharePoint) it shows me nothing.
3. Save files from Outlook to Teams
If I receive one or more file attachments in a mail, it's again not easy to save those files directly to Teams (unless I have synced folders to file explorer). In Outlook on the web I can save attachments to OneDrive, but only to a predetermined folder. It doesn't let me decide where in Teams or any other place in Office 365 I want to save it. This can be a cumbersome process, if I don't have the folder I need in file explorer, where I save the files to the desktop first and then drag'n'drop to Teams (once I've found the right folder in Teams).
4. Copy/move files and folders
Copying and moving files and folders could be better. If I want to move or copy a file, I can do that via the Teams UI, but if I want to move or copy a folder, I have to open in SharePoint first and do it from there. This is a bit of a confusing experience for normal users who won't understand when to do what.
5. Sharing files from Teams
Currently you have to open in SharePoint, if you want to share files with people who are not already part of the team. I know that there's this new feature rolling out where you can "change sharing settings from Teams" but that only pertains to files that you share in chats and such. There is no easy way to share a link to a file or send one (or more) files as attachments. I can go to Outlook on the web and attach files from there, where I can select files from Groups (Teams), but that's a very specific way of doing it and not very obvious.
6. Clear identification of Teams/Groups/SharePoint sites
Places are referred to differently, depending on where you are. Sometimes they're called groups (in Outlook and Outlook online), even if there is a team connected. Sometimes they're called SharePoint sites (in Word, Excel, etc.). But rarely is Teams actually referred to outside of the Teams app itself. This is an issue for our users, who are very confused about the whole thing.
Right now many of our users live in file explorer and don't really care about Teams as such, only the files that are sync'ed. But we're trying to get them to adopt Teams more fully and these a just a small sample of some of the very practical problems we face in trying to do so.
Thank you for listening :)
Nov 12 2020 09:33 AM
The best place to leave feedback would be UserVoice, some of the items you mentioned are already posted there so you can vote them up.
No issue with having a discussion here too, it's just that not many Microsoft folks participate, or at least not as frequently.
Nov 14 2020 08:54 AM
@Vasil Michev Thank you for responding :)
I do agree that UserVoice is a good place to provide feedback. The problem with uservoice, as I point to above, is that even though many of these issues do already exist, the story becomes disjointed and sometimes the solutions provided to suggestions on UserVoice don't always correspond to what was originally suggested.
My hope was that by posting it here, I could maybe help shed some light on how the experience as a whole, working with files in Teams, needs to be looked at in a continuous flow and not as separate issues.