So, I’m a huge Microsoft Teams fan, but that doesn’t stop there from making improvements every organization would appreciate. Let’s talk about the things I love and the things I hate about Microsoft Teams.
LOVE #1: Integrated Applications
The relationship between the applications and the interface is incredibly useful. I will often create a Planner app or leverage Azure DevOps (Azure Boards) within the Teams interface. The ability to natively plug in applications and have the experience occur in the context of the files, chats, etc. is really powerful.
LOVE #2: File Interface that Acts Like a File Interface
Call me simple, but I love that the Microsoft Teams file interface just works. I can use it like a regular file interface, but also bring advanced features to the table with it. In addition, you can create files from template right in the interface, such as a PowerPoint, which I do pretty often. Plus, the ability to interact with the file in the way I intended (even set the default file open type).
Finally, the relationship to OneDrive and the “Recent Files” feature is really helpful
LOVE 3: Persistent Chat
This may seem obvious, but persistent chat and normalizing asynchronous chat (not the expectations of immediacy) is a huge game-changer in the way people interact. It especially takes meetings or emails and substantially replaces them with shorter interactions. The chat is also not just text, but as you’d expect from a modern chat platform, allows for forms, polls, files, and other assets to be brought to the table. Further, you can “pin” your non-Team/Group oriented chats, which is a huge plus.
LOVE #4: Chat, Meetings, and Content Together
Unlike platforms like Zoom or Slack, the Microsoft Teams platform brings all the functions of Chat, Meetings, and Content together. Frankly, when I use Zoom it feels like half a tool. Same for Slack. The platforms just do not provide the complete end-to-end experience and just feel missing. I’m somewhat surprised a company hasn’t bought both and integrated them instead of allow them to continue to be siloed tools. Microsoft Teams brings all the functions together, such as the below with the integration of Microsoft Whiteboard into the historical record of the meeting:
LOVE #5: Voice
I’ll say, once you use Microsoft Teams as your voice system you really wonder what you did before. First, you somewhat naturally start using it the second you get Teams, because the legacy voice system just seems so archaic. Second, the capability to transfer your calls or meetings between your desktop and mobile device is AMAZING. I’ll start a call on my desktop that needs to be done by a certain time, but then the call goes long and I need to drive my kids to swimming… I simply transfer it to my mobile device and nobody knows the difference (apart from perhaps some road noise or reception). I love taking walking meetings and seeing the content from my mobile device. The experience of voice on Microsoft Teams is just top notch and a drastic improvement over other voice platforms. I see companies try to cling to their old voice systems and they frankly don’t know what they are missing.
OK… so, we know you love Teams… but there must be some things that can be improved, right? YES… very much. So, without further adeu, here are the 5 things I hate about Microsoft Teams.
HATE #1: Missing “Recent Files” Feature
This is odd, because I LOVE the “Recent files” feature in Microsoft Outlook when sending content. It is SO much easier than looking for the file in whatever content directory I used it last in. Why not integrate this into the interface in Microsoft Teams? I can’t imagine it would be difficult to implement and would be much more efficient than looking for it. Further, why do I only get the option to look in OneDrive or upload? Aren’t there other places in SharePoint I could link to? Come on Microsoft! Do something about this!
Here is the same interface in Outlook, which is magical!
HATE #2: Why can’t I pin a Team?
Ok, so I LOVE the capability to “pin a contact” so the people you frequently chat with are at the top. Why can’t I do that with Teams? Look… I know you can move them up and down, but the interface for that is terrible. Further, there really isn’t a filter capability, so navigating the 100 different Teams I’m in is a hassle. All you can do is filter on name and it’s more of a searching process vs. a true retained filter.
HATE #3: Switching Between Tenants
The whole idea of switching between tenants if bonkers. For instance, I was attending a NDA conference and I needed to use a guest user account in the tenant of the company vs. just use my own. This is really annoying because while you are doing that you can’t function with chat/communications in your own Team. I know this is being addressed bit by bit, but Teams should be able to share content across tenants seemlessly and apply the necessary security controls.
HATE #4: Lack of other Chat Categories
Why only have “pinned” and “recent”? Could you not create other categories of chat targets as well? I know you can search for them, etc. but categories would be a nice addition and fairly easy to implement.
HATE #5: “Mark All as Read”
Look, we’re all busy, and we’re overwhelmed with the notifications we get on posts, etc. Can we please have a “Mark All as Read” button? This was huge in the email world to get back to inbox zero. Also, sometimes, just sometimes, the interface messes up and there seems to be no way to get all the notifications cleared. For the love of all that is holy, please give me a “Mark All as Read” button… soon. Here is a copy of what the peeps over at Microsoft Outlook did… just copy them:
OK, so these are my 5 LOVES and 5 HATES of Microsoft Teams. If you’re listening Microsoft, keep the good work. I love Microsoft Teams, but if you address my 5 hates I’ll love you more.