Why does Teams use folders for channels?

%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-85525%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3EWhy%20does%20Teams%20use%20folders%20for%20channels%3F%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-85525%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EMy%20department%20loves%20Teams%20and%20I'm%20sure%20we'll%20be%20using%20it%20on%20a%20wider%20scale%20at%20my%20organisation%20soon.%3CBR%20%2F%3EHowever%2C%20I'm%20surprised%20how%20files%20are%20structured%20in%20SharePoint%20'behind'%20Teams.%20Each%20channel%20has%20it's%20own%20folder%20in%20the%20supporting%20SharePoint%20site's%20document%20library.%3CBR%20%2F%3EI%20spend%20quite%20a%20bit%20of%20my%20time%20convincing%20people%20to%20use%20metadata%20instead%20of%20folders%20for%20categorising%20their%20data%2C%20so%20it's%20a%20bit%20weird%20that%20Teams%20uses%20this%20method.%20Why%20could%20we%20not%20have%20had%20a%20channel%20column%20and%20pre-defined%2C%20filtered%20views%3F%20(I%20also%20don't%20like%20that%20you%20can't%20customise%20the%20file%20view%20in%20a%20team%2Fchannel%20but%20that's%20another%20story%20%3A)%3C%2Fimg%3E%20)%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-LABS%20id%3D%22lingo-labs-85525%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CLINGO-LABEL%3EFiles%3C%2FLINGO-LABEL%3E%3CLINGO-LABEL%3EMicrosoft%20Teams%3C%2FLINGO-LABEL%3E%3C%2FLINGO-LABS%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-86557%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20Why%20does%20Teams%20use%20folders%20for%20channels%3F%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-86557%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EI%20agree%2C%20Christopher.%20Our%20CRM%20system%20allows%20us%20to%20tag%20metadata%20to%20a%20support%20ticket%2C%20which%20makes%20it%20easy%20to%20find%20--%20even%20auto%20tags%20if%20we%20so%20choose%20(with%20some%20misses).%20In%20the%20end%2C%20no%20one%20uses%20it.%20They%20search%20for%20tickets%20by%20user%20(a%20single%2C%20key%20piece%20of%20metadata).%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EIn%20the%20case%20of%20Teams%2C%20if%20metadata%20is%20not%20effectively%20adopted%2C%20you%20have%20a%20single%20piece%20of%20metadata%20--%20the%20Teams%20directory%20--%20and%20a%20whole%20lot%20of%20junk%20in%20it.%20Subdirectories%20are%20the%20key%20pieces%20of%20metadata%20that%20help%20keep%20the%20mess%20cleaned%20up.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EI%20also%20agree%20on%20linking%2C%20rather%20than%20storage.%20Why%20in%20the%20heck%20bother%20to%20store%20multiple%20copies%20of%20the%20same%20document%2C%20when%20all%20anybody%20wants%20is%20simply%20access%20to%20that%20document%3F%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-86480%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20Why%20does%20Teams%20use%20folders%20for%20channels%3F%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-86480%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3EThe%20folder%20keeps%20messes%20organized.%20Otherwise%20you%20would%20have%20one%20giant%20library%20of%20documents%20for%20a%20Team.%20At%20least%20it%20keeps%20things%20pasted%20into%20the%20chat%20stream%20in%20that%20folder%20for%20the%20channel.%20I%20honestly%20don't%20like%20the%20files%20even%20being%20stored%20period%20into%20SharePoint%20when%20just%20adhoc'ing%20into%20Teams.%20They%20should%20either%20be%20linked%20from%20a%20saved%20permanent%20location%2C%20or%20just%20temporarily%20available%20to%20use%20in%20the%20Team%20chat%20stream.%20Trying%20to%20rely%20on%20the%20folder%20it%20stores%20documents%20in%20as%20your%20permanent%20source%20for%20documents%20isn't%20a%20good%20idea.%20It's%20really%20just%20a%20temporary%20junk%20drawer.%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-85531%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20Why%20does%20Teams%20use%20folders%20for%20channels%3F%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-85531%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EI%20have%20been%20telling%20my%20users%20for%20a%20long%20time%20that%20folders%20are%20a%20bad%20thing%2C%20however%20over%20time%20I%20have%20adjusted%20my%20view%20on%20this.%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EMy%201st%20approach%3A%20don't%20use%20folders%20and%20use%20metadata%2C%20even%20multiple%20sites%20and%20libraries%20etc.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EMy%202nd%20approach%3A%20If%20metadata%20controls%20the%20data%20then%20you%20don't%20really%20need%20subsites%20etc%2C%20just%20control%20the%20presentation%20using%20the%20metadata%20to%20create%20views.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EThen%20my%203rd%20approach%20as%20search%20became%20more%20important%20and%20useful%3A%20I%20don't%20care%20where%20the%20documents%20are%20stored%20from%20a%20data%20presentation%20point%20of%20view.%20We%20might%20as%20well%20make%20it%20easy%20for%20people%20to%20upload%20documents%20in%20their%20favourite%20sites%20and%20let%20search%20pull%20it%20all%20together.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EAs%20we%20then%20think%20about%20making%20things%20easy%20for%20users...%20quite%20a%20few%20of%20them%20are%20used%20to%20folders.%20why%20not%20give%20them%20what%20they%20are%20used%20to%20for%20upload%20purposes%20(%20I'm%20already%20quite%20happy%20that%20they%20are%20uploading%20their%20documents%20%3B)%3C%2Fimg%3E%20)%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EOne%20problem%20I%20do%20have%20with%20folders%20however%20is%20having%20multiple%20levels%20of%20folders.%20A%20single%20level%20of%20folders%20is%20still%20giving%20a%20simple%20overview%20at%20the%20top%20level%20and%20nothing%20(other%20than%20the%20documents)%20are%20hidden%20away.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EYes%2C%20I%20agree%20fodlers%20aren't%20a%20great%20way%20to%20organise%20things%20but%20as%20long%20as%20you%20keep%20it%20down%20to%20one%20level%20of%20foldering%20it%20does%20help%20user%20adoption.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EBack%20to%20Teams%2C%20the%20alternative%20would%20probably%20have%20been%20to%20create%20separate%20libraries%20for%20teams%2C%20but%20that%20might%20not%20make%20it%20any%20easier%20to%20manage%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-1506015%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20Why%20does%20Teams%20use%20folders%20for%20channels%3F%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-1506015%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EToo%20bad%20this%20discussion%20stopped.%20I%20would%20be%20interested%20to%20see%20why%20MS%20abandoned%20the%20%22folders%20are%20bad%22%20strategy.%3CBR%20%2F%3E%3CBR%20%2F%3E%3CA%20href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Ftechcommunity.microsoft.com%2Ft5%2Fuser%2Fviewprofilepage%2Fuser-id%2F7738%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3E%40David%20McKnight%3C%2FA%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E
Highlighted
Occasional Contributor

My department loves Teams and I'm sure we'll be using it on a wider scale at my organisation soon.
However, I'm surprised how files are structured in SharePoint 'behind' Teams. Each channel has it's own folder in the supporting SharePoint site's document library.
I spend quite a bit of my time convincing people to use metadata instead of folders for categorising their data, so it's a bit weird that Teams uses this method. Why could we not have had a channel column and pre-defined, filtered views? (I also don't like that you can't customise the file view in a team/channel but that's another story :) )

4 Replies
Highlighted

I have been telling my users for a long time that folders are a bad thing, however over time I have adjusted my view on this. 

 

My 1st approach: don't use folders and use metadata, even multiple sites and libraries etc.

 

My 2nd approach: If metadata controls the data then you don't really need subsites etc, just control the presentation using the metadata to create views.

 

Then my 3rd approach as search became more important and useful: I don't care where the documents are stored from a data presentation point of view. We might as well make it easy for people to upload documents in their favourite sites and let search pull it all together.

 

As we then think about making things easy for users... quite a few of them are used to folders. why not give them what they are used to for upload purposes ( I'm already quite happy that they are uploading their documents ;) )

One problem I do have with folders however is having multiple levels of folders. A single level of folders is still giving a simple overview at the top level and nothing (other than the documents) are hidden away.

 

Yes, I agree fodlers aren't a great way to organise things but as long as you keep it down to one level of foldering it does help user adoption.

 

Back to Teams, the alternative would probably have been to create separate libraries for teams, but that might not make it any easier to manage

 

Highlighted
The folder keeps messes organized. Otherwise you would have one giant library of documents for a Team. At least it keeps things pasted into the chat stream in that folder for the channel. I honestly don't like the files even being stored period into SharePoint when just adhoc'ing into Teams. They should either be linked from a saved permanent location, or just temporarily available to use in the Team chat stream. Trying to rely on the folder it stores documents in as your permanent source for documents isn't a good idea. It's really just a temporary junk drawer.
Highlighted

I agree, Christopher. Our CRM system allows us to tag metadata to a support ticket, which makes it easy to find -- even auto tags if we so choose (with some misses). In the end, no one uses it. They search for tickets by user (a single, key piece of metadata). 

 

In the case of Teams, if metadata is not effectively adopted, you have a single piece of metadata -- the Teams directory -- and a whole lot of junk in it. Subdirectories are the key pieces of metadata that help keep the mess cleaned up.

 

I also agree on linking, rather than storage. Why in the heck bother to store multiple copies of the same document, when all anybody wants is simply access to that document?

Highlighted

Too bad this discussion stopped. I would be interested to see why MS abandoned the "folders are bad" strategy.

@David McKnight