Microsoft Teams Use Cases

Microsoft Teams offers incredible opportunities for collaboration, but the options for setup can be overwhelming. We offer some use cases to help give you ideas about how groups are using Teams for their work. More will be added over time, so check back to see how units are using Microsoft Teams.

In considering your Teams space design, you’re encouraged to focus on permissions, channels, and purpose. Use cases are labeled by the purpose of the Teams space: Community-based, Committee/Group-based, Working-based.

Community-based Teams spaces are designed to bring people together in a less formal manner than other Teams spaces.

Committee/Group-based Teams spaces are designed to facilitate discussion

Working Teams-based spaces are designed to be behind-the-scenes collaboration spaces for individual teams or groups that are generally secured to a very small number of people.


In 2021, we designed a self-study to collect feedback via a survey and focus groups. Of that feedback, we found that several faculty and staff addressed concerns over the consistency of our committee workspaces. At the time, we had different committees posting content on either Wikis, Canvas, Moodle, or in Box folders. In order to address the consistency issues, and address overall an overall need for community building during COVID-19, we opted to develop a team for each of our eight regular committees.

The intention was to create a more consistent platform for communicating and storing committee agenda items, meeting notices, and other resources. In addition, we chose Teams since it also allows for asynchronous discussion.

Design: Teams Membership

Membership for each team was initially granted to all faculty and staff. We also allow students to request membership since most of the committees have student representatives, and there are agenda items that are often of student interest.

Design: Channels

Each team has several channels listed below:

  • General – default, reserved only for content pertaining to using or learning how to use Teams
  • Open Committee Discussion AY20XX – open to all members of the team and designed to share only public information, non-sensitive discussions, agendas, etc.
  • Private Committee Discussion AY 20XX – open to only those with the owner or member role within the team. Intended for sensitive documents or discussions, or other matters not ready for public consumption (e.g. document drafts).
  • Private [Subcommittee Name] Discussion AY 20XX – Open to only select members of a specific subcommittee. Intended to house documents drafts, discussions, or other content not ready for public consumption.
  • Events and Announcements – Used to cut down on the number of emails sent out about various events and other info. All members of this team have access to this channel.

Each of the channels with “AY20XX” in them is designed to only be used for the current academic year. Once the academic year has concluded, a new channel with the same title and updated academic year will be created. The old channel is then hidden. These hidden channels are basically treated as an archive for any member to access.

In addition to the channels we created, we also designed a file structure that was consistent across units, and included folders for each committee meeting scheduled that year. After which, committees were free to create additional folders, links, and other items that could help them organize their content.

Design: Settings

The committee pages provide several features and functions to help centralize resources and information. One feature common across channels is a file system. Any channel with “AY 20XX” in its title has a file system to organize the materials that committees and subcommittees would use that year. In addition, the Open Committee Discussion AY 20XX channel has a tab for the next Zoom meeting link. This was implemented as a way to provide inclusive access to meetings to prevent anyone who wants to participate from being left out. Moving forward, we are going to expand what is available on a committee tab by sharing program-specific links to our official page, as well as other materials relevant to the work of the program committee.

After Launch: Training, Adoption, Challenges, and Successes

Once the teams were designed, we provided training to willing program chairs, committee members, and support staff that were tasked with supporting the teams.

We also engage support staff in quarterly training meetings where we can discuss best practices on how to properly maintain our teams.


In 2021, we designed a self-study to collect feedback via a survey and focus groups. Of the feedback we found, people wanted a better way to connect with others at a distance. In addition, people noted substantial email overload. As a way to address these concerns, as well as other issues, it was determined that we should use Microsoft Teams to create a dedicated space for faculty and staff to share and receive congratulations, events, and announcements, as well as have casual conversations with one another.

Design: Teams Membership

It was determined in the early phases of planning that faculty and staff did not have enough opportunity to engage with their iSchool colleagues. As a result, this team was designed to host only full-time employees and adjunct faculty of the iSchool. Membership was granted to all faculty and staff using an administrative directory group. All channels were made available to members of the team.

Design: Channels

  • General – default, reserved only for content pertaining to using or learning how to use Teams
  • Break Room – A space for people to chat about things of personal interest, let people know about a pie in the break room, or discuss where the best tacos are in town.
  • Campus Technology Updates – An RSS feed that shares updates and issues related to campus IT
  • Congratulations and Welcomes! – The location we are trying to get people to use to share noteworthy accomplishments, congratulations, and new employees welcomes. This is in an effort to reduce the number of emails that we get from reply-to-all responses.
  • Events – Where people are expected to share upcoming events with the iSchool community. This is in an effort to reduce the number of event emails we receive.
  • Official Announcements – Where directors, program directors, and executive leadership can share important information and announcements with employees of the iSchool.
  • Phishing Alerts – An RSS feed that shares recent phishing scams that have been identified by campus IT.

Design: Settings

Generally, the settings for this Team are very minimal. Since it is a team designed to facilitate social engagement, additional tabs and other features were not included. While not currently included in the site, we also plan to include links to information sourced from our official website, Wiki pages, and SharePoint sites that are relevant to various channels.

After Launch: Training, Adoption, Challenges, and Successes

Since other teams were already being designed for use in the iSchool, we elected not to provide any specialized in-person training on how to use this team when it launched. To ensure as much participation as possible, we engaged the iSchool’s communications group, deans, as well as some of our more influential staff and faculty to post content. To reduce our email load, we also provided statements and process recommendations encouraging people to use Teams instead for these kinds of announcements. While we have seen a reduction in these kinds of emails, we still have staff, faculty, and administrators who continue to fall back on old habits. We continue to adjust our practices, but we knew from the beginning that it can take upwards of a year to see widescale adoption of Teams. Currently, we are only in month four, so time will tell when we can reach our goal.

Another important note: the design of this team required us to work closely with our communications group. Since several of the channels are themed around the distribution of information, events, and other announcements, we wanted to ensure they agreed with our approach and that it aligned with their standards. We also wanted to leverage their authority to establish policies and practices surrounding public communications in order to better encourage Teams use across the board.

Provided by Nick Fink


Within Student Engagement (SE), we utilize Microsoft Teams as our central hub for collaborative projects and longevity/continuity. Within SE, we focus on three functions of Teams: File storage, Office applications, and messaging/Teams-to-Teams calls.


SE is unique in some ways as we have both professional and student staff who have access to our Team. Having the ability to manage permissions is helpful in ensuring that people have the access that is appropriate for their position. One of the important pieces related to this is having the ability to Lock specific Channels and limit the access for this.


Since SE has three units within it, members of one unit do not need to have access to the information of the other units. Similarly, our student staff do not need access to everything, only certain files and information. As you will see below, we have Channels that are specific to the units and to the positions within our office.

Beyond just access/permissions, having Channels allows our team to be better organized and to keep information more closely tied to the purpose and people that it relates to.

Channel List (all channels are open unless otherwise noted)

General: Every Teams space has a General channel. SE uses it as a place to send and track mass emails that go out for our office so that all staff can refer back to them as needed. We also use this channel as a planning area for items that would impact all three units within SE.

Administrative: This is a Locked channel that is used by our Administrative Support team to save files and information related to employee onboarding, employee travel, office purchases, and other administrative functions.

Marketing – Branding Team: Some SE staff, including student staff, are selected to focus on the marketing elements of our office. This channel has information about brand standards, logos, and social media logins for easy access.

Programs – Outreach Team: Other SE Staff, including student staff, work on presentations and information that our office distributes. This channel holds all of the presentations and any information that our office might send out and share on a regular basis.

SODA – Student Org Development and Admin Team: One of the units within SE is the Student org Development and Admin (SODA) group. This channel has all the information related to the projects and duties of the SODA unit.

SOFC – Student Organization Finance Center Team: This is a locked channel that can only be accessed by members of the Student Org Finance Center (SOFC) unit. This channel is used to keep information related to the functions of that unit including student org account numbers, processes, and other project information.

Student Specialists: This channel is the primary place that our student employees access. This channel hosts information related to their daily tasks, basic employment information (job description, manual, etc.), and their schedule.

Student Specialists (Admin): This channel is locked and only accessed by the Director of SE and the Student Specialist manager. This channel is used to track the HR-related information about Student Specialists including pay, applications, discipline, etc.

Other Functions

While the channels help keep files organized and accessible, SE also utilizes the fact that Office applications are integrated into Teams. For example, we create a number of Forms to collect data about our functions. We set all of these Forms to deposit the results directly into an Excel that is saved in our Team. Additionally, we do a number of presentations and we are able to present any PowerPoints directly from Teams, without having to open another application. This is particularly helpful as we can access our Teams from anywhere and thus we have access to these presentations and information anywhere.

As all SE staff members, including student staff, are utilizing Teams, we are able to utilize the Teams-to-Teams communication features of Chat and Calls. We have a number of group chats set up based on our units and the information we need to communicate on a regular basis. The Calls feature is not revolutionary, but does allow for SE to assign a meeting to a specific channel that will invite every member of that channel. Similarly, it is easy to call all members of a chat with the click of one button.

The Communications and Marketing Team at Technology Services stored its working files in Google Drive for years. As Microsoft Teams gained prominence, the team discussed the complexities of working across multiple platforms. In late 2022 the team decided to migrate all of its files to Microsoft Teams to consolidate phone, chat, file storage, and collaboration into a single application.


Members of the Marketing and Communications Team were added as group members. The Assistant Director of the Communications and Marketing Teams and the Assistant CIO were added as group owners. The Team space is private, meaning that no one can add it without permissions being granted.


Because this space is an internal working team, there are few people that need to understand that channel structure, which provided more latitude in how they are created and managed. The team decided that certain public channels (only available to those who are a part of the Team) would be created to help clarify file structure and navigation. Other private channels were created for one-on-one meetings, file sharing, etc.

Channel List

  • General: Every Teams space has a General channel. This channel is only used for general team announcements or whole-team invitations.
  • Design: Discussion and files related to design work
  • Events: Discussion and files related to event planning
  • Media Resources: Multi-media files that may be used in any number of communication campaigns
  • Projects and Initiatives: Files for projects or initiatives in which the team is involved
  • Services: Files related to Technology Services service offerings
  • Stories: Draft, published, and archived stories or articles and their supporting research
  • Team Documents: Processes and procedure documents, templates, metrics and analytics reports, and other administrative documents that support the work of the team
  • Team Meetings: Meeting minutes
  • Training and Resources: Internal training videos, documents, and important resources
  • Video: Draft and final videos, B-roll footage, bumpers, etc.
  • Websites: Information pertaining to the websites we maintain including user experience testing, accessibility review, unique code snippets
  • Private Channels: One private channel per team member where permission is granted only to a worker and their supervisor


The team felt it was important to track tasks in the same tool where they do their work and collaborate. A Team Tasks tab is at the top of the General channel. This includes tasks broken into categories and assigned to staff. In addition, each private channel has its own task tab where staff can document their personal tasks or further breakdown the work that they need to complete. Because it is in a private channel only the staff with access to that channel and their supervisor can view those task lists.