treasure hunt photo

Today I’m going to meander through Teams. Let’s see how many useful tips I can dredge up!

These are several questions which arose in my mind while playing in Teams. Both in the client, and in its Office 365 backend. As a result, I cannot promise a logical flow of information.

But it’ll be an adventure! And you might just find something useful.

1. How do I chat with an external Skype for Business contact when I’m on Teams?

A common question. One that will slowly become redundant, as well. But still quite useful for now!

As longtime Skype for Business users, we know the term needed here: Federation. The Office 365 admin must enable federation between your Teams tenant & your contact’s Skype for Business (Online) tenant.

Thankfully, we have fewer headaches setting up federation than we used to on Lync. The steps for doing so are right here: Allow Users to Contact External Skype for Business Users – Office Support

Essentially, you add their domain to the “Blocked or Allowed Domains” list in the Skype for Business Admin Center. Wait 24 hours. Make sure the firewall isn’t blocking your ports. And voila!

(If the external contact is on Skype for Business Server user though, this won’t work. Such contacts are not part of Office 365, and as such, are considered “external users.” Teams still doesn’t support external users. Microsoft, we’re waiting here!)

2. When should I use the Teams browser app/desktop client?

Teams has several client apps!
Get Clients for Microsoft Teams – MS Docs
A browser-based Web app, a desktop client, and mobile apps. So which do you use?

The Web app has one major limitation:

“At this point, the web client does not support real-time communications (i.e. joining meetings and having one-to-one calls).”

The mobile apps CAN facilitate audio calls. However, they don’t allow for adding or discovering teams.

This makes the desktop client essential if you want to use all of Teams’ tools. The mobile apps are a close second, and the Web app a close third.

I would presume that Microsoft will add real-time communications into the Teams Web app as the Skype4B integration proceeds. But for now, we have a distinct difference between the two.

3a. Teams Settings: How to Preserve Messages

Then I found myself in the Teams backend. Now, this is not just one single menu in Office 365. Teams’ controls, like most other O365 apps, are spread through its admin menus. Not impossible, but you sometimes have to hunt for things!

Fortunately, one such setting isn’t hard to find. Namely, the option to allow users to delete their Teams messages or not. Why do this? Simple—regulatory compliance. Turning message deletion off preserves all Teams messages in the cloud. This eliminates one potential source of lost communications…which can really gum up compliance audits!

  • Open Office 365 Admin Center.
  • Click Settings.
  • Click Services & Add-Ins.
  • Select “Microsoft Teams” in the list.
  • Open Teams’ Messaging menu.
  • Click the “All users to delete their own messages” switch to turn it OFF.
    Users Cannot Delete Teams Messages
  • Click Save.

This is turned ON by default. If you don’t have to worry about compliance requirements like SOX, you’re fine. If you do, better turn this off. (We check this with all Office 365 customers.)

3b. Teams Settings: How to Make Groups into Teams

(Ooh, bonus tip!)

I already had a Team set up in my demo account. But as I wandered, I came across the Office 365 Groups menu. Hmmm, I wondered. What’s the difference between an O365 Group and a Team anyway? Aren’t all Teams Groups, and all Groups Teams?

The answer is no. Creating an O365 group does NOT automatically make it a Team. To make a Team from a Group, you must go into Teams and add the Teams functionality to the existing group.

Here’s how to do this. (These steps assume you already created the Office 365 Group.)

  1. Within Teams, select the Teams menu. Click the “Add Team” button at the bottom.
  2. Click “Create Team.”
  3. You’ll see this window. What we want is at the bottom (highlighted in red): “Add Microsoft Teams Functionality.”
    Add Teams Functionality
  4. Click this link. You’ll see a list of groups that don’t have Teams functionality added yet.
  5. Click the appropriate group (you’ll see I clicked my “PM Tester 2 Group”).
    Choose Your Team
  6. Click the “Choose Team” button.
  7. Teams does its thing, and poof! A new Team now shows up. Proceed to add people & channels as you like.
    New Team Created

Plenty More to Discover in Teams

I realize the tips in this post might look a bit random. Honestly, that’s because they are. Like many of you, I’m feeling my way around Teams every chance I get. We still use Skype for Business Server in-house, so I’m sneaking off the reservation to play around in Teams. All for the sake of this blog!

Do you have a Teams question to which you can’t find an answer? Please share it with us! Let’s find you a solution.


P.S. – To the readers who asked me to do a Fuze vs. Skype for Business comparison? Unfortunately I have not been able to secure a demo from the folks at Fuze. I did comb through its feature set, reviews, and industry sources. Took plenty of notes. But without a demo, it would not be an authentic comparison.

If you would like me to publish those notes anyway, I’m happy to do so (with that caveat). Please comment or email your thoughts.

A Trio of Technical Teams Tips

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