Microsoft’s Teams is a great way to communicate with everyone in your organization. While it doesn’t totally replace email, it can replace text messages and phone calls, so most of your everyday conversations can be made easier and more focused by using Teams. Making sure that you have the right channels set up to effectively communicate can really keep your office organized and responsive. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the ins and outs of setting up effective teams and channels, as well as how the collaboration software integrates with SharePoint for greater organization and control of files and collaboration.

Channels Give your Team Greater Focus

By default, Teams will create a place to communicate for your entire organization. This can be a good platform for organization-wide announcements, but it doesn’t help you create focused, ongoing communication between people in the organization. Within the organization, you can create smaller teams based on who works closely with one another, such as a department or a discipline. By creating public and private teams—teams that can either be joined at will, or by invitation, respectively—you can keep specific people in closer contact with each other for specific tasks, roles, or projects.

Those teams can then have channels created inside of them. Channels are usually about particular topics or projects, where people within the team can share and chat with one another in a very focused way. Channels can also be private or shared; private channels are channels that can be accessed by some of the members of the team, and shared channels are channels that can be accessed by people in the organization but from outside the team.

SharePoint Integration

All of the sharing that is done in Teams is connected to your SharePoint sites in the background. When you create a new team, a SharePoint site is created for that team. This makes it easy for a team to have their files organized or build a SharePoint site together. If you create a channel for a team, then that channel gets its own folder in the team’s SharePoint site. That way, the files that are shared in the channel are in that folder, but could be shared with anyone in your organization with the usual link sharing.

Because private and shared channels have more exclusive membership, when you create them, each channel gets its own SharePoint site. This comes in handy for channels that are based on a particular project, since it helps keep the data separate from the rest of the team, which makes sure that data is only accessible by those who need it—minimizing the possibilities of accidental deletion or malicious user access. Files and folders from shared and private channels’ SharePoint sites are still shareable with people in the team, or in the organization, but the files and folders from a shared channel are not able to be shared outside of the organization.

Site Permissions

Teams and SharePoint’s integration means that there’s a little planning to be done regarding who has permissions to access the sites that are associated with channels. Overall, these settings are more related to SharePoint’s permissions and are managed from SharePoint’s end, but some important permissions are inherited from how you’ve set up your teams. Specifically, the SharePoint site for an entire team is managed based on who is a member of that team, meaning that there aren’t any permissions to be changed in SharePoint, since everything associated with the team is accessible to the team.

Channels don’t just inherit the permissions from the team, because not every team member has access to them. When creating the channels, you’re also creating SharePoint sites that are connected to them, which can then be managed from SharePoint. This includes guest access, sensitivity labels, quotas and default sharing link types. These settings should be accessible to users who have created the channels, or in the case of the main site for the team, the team owners.

-Written by Derek Jeppsen on Behalf of Sean Goss and Crown Computers Team