5 things to avoid when rolling out Microsoft Teams

We’re often told about best practices and how they should be implemented but what about those practices we should avoid, the worst practices? 

As part of SWOOP Analytics’ world-first benchmarking of Microsoft Teams, we interviewed six of the world’s top Microsoft consultancy firms to find the emerging worst practices when rolling out Teams. 

We thought it prudent to warn adopters of Teams of some practices our partners believe could cause real problems over time or, at worst, derail the whole adoption process.  

These consultants are the experts in their field from around the world, having helped multi-national conglomerates right down to small-sized organisations implement Teams. We have interviewed Adopt & EmbraceAvanadeCarpoolEngage SquaredInnosis and WM Reply

Common themes emerged during each interview, which we’ve collated into five “worst practices”. 

Worst Practice # 1:

Educating and training employees on every aspect of Teams before rolling it out. 

A certain way for Teams to fail dismally is to spend months training every employee on how to use it, when to use it and what to use it for before rolling it out. Employees will be overwhelmed, confused and, at best, double their regular work by replicating it all in Teams because they don’t really know why they’re using it or what they’re doing. 

Instead, don’t be fearful in rolling out Teams. Make Teams available to all and allow staff to start using it before introducing business-case training scenarios. People will start to use Teams for calls, meetings and chat, learn to become comfortable with it and, slowly, day-to-day work will be shifted to Teams with the help of training and leadership. 

Worst Practice # 2:

Allowing the IT department to dictate how the business uses Teams, not allowing other aspects of the business have a say in how it should be used. 

Allowing IT departments to force Teams on employees without engaging other aspects of the business, or taking into account employees’ experience, is a sure-fire way to ensure Teams adoption will fail. 

The most successful rollouts, our experts said, were the ones where IT worked in partnership with other areas of the business, like Learning and Development and HR, to look at it from an employee experience point of view. Factor in the behavioural element of Teams and focus on how people work and how Teams can improve their way of working. 

Don’t allow IT to turn off aspects of Teams – like video calls or external sharing – with no good reason. Always question why IT has decided to limit Teams functions. Often, our consultants said, it’s to limit IT support requests. 

Worst Practice # 3:

Replicating the status quo in Teams. Transferring everything already in place into Teams. 

Teams is the opportunity to change the way you work, not just replicate what you’re already doing in the real world. 

Use Teams to improve the way you work. Get rid of bad behaviours. Stop and think – what problem are you trying to solve? What is the purpose of this team and who are the right people to be involved in that?  

Never use an email distribution list to create a new team on Teams. For example, the HR department might be responsible for organizing the work Christmas party but not everyone in the HR team needs to be in the Christmas party team. Invite only those that need to be involved into the channel. Ensure work in Teams is meaningful. Teams can replace almost every other tool and change the way you work. 

Worst Practice # 4:

Ensuring executive leaders are involved in every team and relying on them to lead the charge 

Imagine it, your CEO or COO has been invited into every team as a sign of leadership. They can’t cope with the notifications, they can’t navigate their way to see what’s really important and employees are wondering why their boss is there overseeing their day-to-day work. 

It is important to have leaders using Teams to model behaviours but these are direct leaders – line managers, team managers – bringing their team into Teams by sharing files, working and talking in Teams, as opposed to sending emails. If the manager isn’t using Teams and guiding staff, their team simply won’t follow. At best, they’ll be replicating work conducted on other platforms into Teams. 

Worst Practice # 5:

Use Teams to replace Yammer (and SharePoint and One Note…). 

You’d be surprised at how many organisations think there’s no need for Yammer now Teams is up and running. Wrong! Teams is the place for day-to-day work, ideally in small teams of no more than 10 people. Yammer is the all-company communications tool. Yammer is where people can go to ask questions, find answers, involve other departments. Yammer is where executives can engage with staff while Teams allows employees to get their work done. 

We’ve collated these top five general themes of “worst practice” we encountered when speaking with our partners. However, each partner shared their own experiences in the full benchmarking report, along with their best practice alternatives. 

Download the full report

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