Teams Best Practices & Considerations

Teams can seem overwhelming when you first start using them. While the interface is simple, the ability to add files, users and plug ins can feel unwieldy. Below you will find some tips for using Teams within the Loyola environment, as well as a more general article provided by Microsoft.

The Loyola Perspective

Teams are flexible and can be used for just about any group endeavor. Consider some of these ideas and how they might work in your office or with your projects. You will also find some questions to ask yourself before you begin to set up your Microsoft Team environment.

  • Teams as a replacement H: drive -- at the bare minimum Teams can work as a file repository for your department.  
    • Example -- Enterprise Applications (within Technology Services) used this change as an opportunity to merge several storage locations into one, and we created processes around our versions and document edits, including parameters for changes that require documenting (small spelling corrections, not a big deal, but major changes to the steps needs a second set of eyes). We set a goal of the end of 2019 to have our files moved, and older versions archived or deleted (as identified in our process steps). By the end of 2019 we will have a single repository for our internal SOP documents.
  • Small projects -- are you working on a revamp of an event or activity that crosses into another department or division? A Team would be a good central space to share ideas, edit documents and communicate outside of your email.  
    • One of the biggest wins to having a Team that is used effectively is that you have a single place for all communication and documentation. No more jumping between your inbox and your files, all of it can be done in a single location, and the best part is, if you hire someone new mid way through a project, the new person will have the full history in one place.

Need a refresher on the difference between a Team and a Channel??? 

Remember

  • Always assign a second Team owner. This helps if you are out of town, or if you need to hand off the Team because of a promotion or other departure from your work.  

  • It’s easy to think about Channels as part of the file structure. If there are different groups in your department, maybe each would have a Channel. If it’s a project you’re working on with Teams as your central location, maybe there are different functional teams in the project that are task based. Those could be their own Channels.

Data Management

  • This move from H: and Inside.Loyola Team sites is a great time to think about data retention for your department. Are there legal requirements that you have to follow for data retention? If so, do you have a process to follow once those dates pass? While keeping data "forever" seems like a good idea, it adds risk to the University. Consider a reasonable cycle for data clean up within your OneDrive and Teams files.

Managing Student Access

  • If you already created a team, you may want to consider creating another Team just for communicating with students
  • Otherwise, consider using a Team with all private channels, except the channels you want the students to have access to
  • Please review and update student access to your Teams and channels every semester

Guest Access and Member Management

  • It is a good idea for Team Owners to look at the membership of the Team twice a year to validate that only those who need access have access. This is particularly true for sites that have "Guests" as a members.

  • We have enabled Guest access for all Teams. Guest access enables an owner to invite someone from outside of Loyola to participate in a Team. Guest access is a bit more limited than Participant access, but it does enable those with non-Loyola emails to work with individuals within Loyola. Since these users manage their own email outside of Loyola's security constraints, it is important that Team Owners monitor Guest access and remove these users when their access is no longer needed. 

Guidelines for Creating a Team with Guest Users

  • Remember that Guests have access to everything members do, including any senstitve files stored in the Teams

  • Does this guest need access to this team or should a seperate team be created for communication with the guest?

  • The guest must be a trusted contact who with whom Loyola has a contractual relationship

  • Owner responsibility: Delete the guest when access is no longer needed

Getting Started with Teams

  • Before you create your Team, consider the goal of the product you are working on with others. This can drive some of the decisions you will make such as:  
    • Channel structure and Channel privacy.  
    • Will you allow everyone in the Team to add new tabs, apps, people??? Or do you want to restrict that ability?  
    • Who will be your back up Team owner?  
    • These questions allow you to tweak settings at the creation of the Team (but don’t worry they can be adjusted along the way too!).  
  • Start off small:
    • Use Teams as a replacement to email so that communication can be central for everyone involved
    • Use just the file repository. It’s ok to start here and build out as you and your team members become comfortable with the tool.  
    • Maybe you have a team member who likes to tinker with new tools, maybe they can take the lead on new ways of using Teams?  

Types of Teams

Types of Teams to Choose From

Loyola’s Team Naming Convention

Description

Class

Teachers and students collaborating on group projects, assignments, and more.

General Team

Staff leaders and staff members collaborating on University administration and development.

Student Organization

Student organizations or groups collaborating on University initatives and development.

Department or Team

Students and University employees collaborating in interest groups and clubs.

Learn more about each team owners/members, permissions, features & educational goals.