Microsoft Teams: Your Popular Questions
Microsoft Teams FAQs
As the world’s shutters closed in the war against the coronavirus, millions of us united digitally using Microsoft Teams. In the space of a single week in March, Teams users surged from 32 million to 44 million. And across the IT Lab group, we received an unprecedented volume of calls from organisations needing assistance.
We recently ran a poll to identify the most popular Teams questions. It was open to clients and non-clients alike, Teams users and Teams admins. The most-asked questions feature in our on-demand webinar: Microsoft Teams ‘Ask the Experts’. These experts are two of our Microsoft MVPs (Most Valued Professionals) – Steve Goodman and Jason Wynn.
Steve specialises in Microsoft 365, focussing on Teams. Jason is an Office 365 expert and has a holistic view of Microsoft Teams and Skype for business.
Here, we list the popular Teams questions and distil the answers from the webinar. And if your burning query isn’t listed, worry not – you can ask us here.
What are the latest features in Teams?
Teams has over 300 updates a year. Most of the highest-profile features improve meetings, filling the gaps that have surfaced while more people are working from home. Here are just some of the updates launched in recent weeks:
- Raise your hand – indicate you have something to say without interrupting the person speaking.
- Roll call – enabling you to download a participant report during and after a meeting, so you can see who joined and when.
- 3 x 3 video grid – enables up to nine video streams at once, with more planned over the coming months.
- Background effects – provides a virtual green-screen, replacing your home office with something more professional or fun.
- Pop-out chat – making it easy for you to have a side-chat while you work on a document in Teams or during a meeting. Pop-out meetings are coming soon too.
What new Teams features can I expect?
At the recent Microsoft Build digital event, the tech behemoth announced more new features for Teams, including:
- Teams Templates – starting with 12 templates for typical team types. Examples include crisis response, bank branch and hospital ward, and each template comes with pre-defined channels and apps. IT pros can also create custom templates for their organisation-specific scenarios.
- Pop-out apps – not only will chats and meetings pop out; end-users will be able to ‘pop-out’ personal apps across multiple separate windows. Organise the tools and screens you need for your day without having to switch context in the app.
- Virtual Teams appointments – building on the Microsoft Bookings scheduling tool, this feature makes it easy for customer-facing scenarios – whether that’s healthcare, a car dealership or retail – allowing customers to book appointment slots with representatives and meet virtually using Teams.
- Advanced integration with video production tools – using NDI (Network Device Interface) output and Skype TX interoperability. Behind the scenes, many broadcasters are using Skype to interview guests without the low-fi feel of Zoom. This same functionality is coming to Teams and will make it easy for any organisation – not only broadcasters – to live stream events and meetings. And they’ll be able to do this via any platform – whether it’s a professional broadcast, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, with advanced controls over what viewers see.
- Microsoft Lists – finally joining Microsoft 365 as a new first-party application. It doesn’t replace To Do and Planner but makes it easy for teams to create inventories, deal with approvals, record incidents and more. Microsoft Lists launches in June and will integrate directly into Teams.
This Microsoft article is kept up-to-date with what’s new in Microsoft Teams, so a good one to bookmark. You can also follow Steve Goodman’s Practical 365 weekly updates for step-by-step guidance on the latest Microsoft Teams features.
What are the typical timelines for new feature launches in Microsoft Teams?
The Microsoft 365 roadmap is the timeline for new feature launches, but dates do change occasionally. Office 365 updates – including Teams, are classified by rings. The stage between each ring can be weeks or even months.
Ring 0. The feature teams of engineers who build and test proposed changes.
Ring 1. The Office 365 team take a test drive.
Ring 2. All Microsoft employees
Ring 3. A preview ring for first release customers – those willing to report bugs and give feedback.
Ring 4 – The official worldwide rollout. Access is not simultaneous, though; even people in the same organisation can get updates days apart.
Your organisation will almost certainly be in Ring 4, meaning that when you get updates, they’ve been tested over multiple stages. “Unlike other Microsoft 365 apps and the service,” says Steve Goodman, “it’s not possible to add some users to a targeted release or hold updates on the same cadence as Microsoft 365 apps such as Word or Outlook.”
To gain a good insight of when your tenant will get a new feature, cross-check the Microsoft 365 roadmap with the Message Center, which you’ll find in your Microsoft 365 Admin Center.
When is it best to use Teams instead of other collaboration tools, like Outlook, SharePoint or Yammer?
There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question, as it depends on the circumstances and needs of your organisation. But as a rule of thumb:
- Teams – for groups of people working on projects, where you collaborate with your team and hold meetings.
- Yammer – for broader communications and commentary across your organisation. Different teams and departments can come together on a variety of topics and share expertise. Using Teams and Yammer together helps to cut down on internal email.
- OneDrive – for your draft documents.
- SharePoint – a central location for your organisation’s documents. Fits inside Teams.
- Email – comms with external people.
- Company intranet – a hub for company information, and the go-to place for employees, where they can access all their apps, including Teams.
For a deeper dive into this topic, choose from these webinars: Microsoft Teams vs Groups vs Yammer – what’s the right tool to use and when? and The Intranet: Your Crisis Management Tool.
But if you need guidance on the best way forward and are short on time, click below for a free half-day expert consultation.
What steps can I take so that my Teams environment has the best possible call quality during meetings?
The biggest inhibitor to call quality is how you connect to Teams. Remember; all Teams meetings happen in the cloud: ensure you have the correct configuration set up. Here are some helpful resources:
- If you’re using an ExpressRoute, you can use QoS – Quality of Service. For guidance, check out: Implement Quality of Service (QoS) in Microsoft Teams.
- If you’re using a VPN concentrator, best practice is not to encrypt your information. Teams encrypts all media automatically, so effectively you’d be double encrypting.
- If you’re using proxy servers, this is a two-minute read from Microsoft: Proxy Servers for Teams or Skype for Business Online.
- You can test your call quality using a CQD – Call Quality Dashboard. Check this out: Call Analytics and Call Quality Dashboard.
- Use the Microsoft Admin Centre to validate and troubleshoot call quality problems. This advice is also useful: Microsoft Teams Analytics and Reporting.
What’s the best way switch between Teams tenants?
If you’re using your organisation’s Teams plus a different organisation’s as a guest, the best way is to use the desktop version for your employer’s Teams, and a web browser for your guest access – shown below. For other scenarios using different instances of Teams, watch our webinar: Microsoft Teams ‘Ask the Experts’ and pick up technical tips from Steve Goodman.
Are you finding these FAQs helpful? You may also like these: FAQs: How to collaborate with External Users in Microsoft Teams.
Are Zoom-style breakout rooms coming to Microsoft Teams?
Zoom breakout rooms are popular in education; they allow some of the participants to exit the meeting and collaborate in a virtual space. The meeting organiser can check on them, and they can re-join the central meeting later. This feature is not yet available in Teams; Microsoft has told us it is working on it, albeit it’s not on the product roadmap for now.
How does a Teams private channel work with SharePoint?
When you create a private channel, Teams creates a new SharePoint site collection. The rights to the SharePoint content are restricted to those with access to the private channel. The collection has a prefix which relates to the Office 365 group.
A site collection and a private channel are not like a sub Office 365 group. You have a private channel stored inside Teams, and a site collection is attached to it. You won’t see a list of private channels in the admin centre. If you’re an admin and want an overview of them, use PowerShell for the reports you need.
You might also like this: How to get the best from SharePoint and OneDrive webinar
Where to from here?
You can watch the full Microsoft Teams ‘Ask the Experts’ webinar on-demand, where Steve and Jason elaborate on the above answers and reply to more questions. And you can secure your place at our upcoming webinar: How to Use Power Apps to Transform Your Microsoft Teams Meetings.
And we’re offering Teams FastStart packages which are helping organisations to manage Teams better, as well as those new to it.
Or you could choose to take advantage of our free half-day consultation – learn more here: Meet our Tech Experts. Demand is high, so please don’t delay. Thanks for reading and stay safe.
Content Manager, IT Lab Group
Christine joined the IT Lab marketing team in 2017, following the acquisition of cybersecurity specialists Perspective Risk. Her focus is on delivering content that meets the needs of a diverse client base, and that demonstrates the group’s expanding portfolio of solutions and services. Quality and the customer are at the heart of everything she does.
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