How to Build a Teams Template for Consistent Creation
Welcome to Day 8 of PixelMill’s ’12 Days of Microsoft Teams‘ series! Note to self, while reading today’s tip, don’t confuse blueprints for a framed photo of your favorite 90’s clue-solving, cartoon dog. Enjoy!
Before we get started with Teams templates, let’s make sure we have a basic understanding of the capabilities. Currently, we can only leverage the same settings and channels when creating a template. A few unsupported capabilities at this time are Channel Settings, Connectors, Files, and Content.
But I’m getting ahead of myself—the first thing you should always start with is defining your goals and requirements.
What is the goal or purpose of a Teams template for that matter? Templates can be used to help create a framework so that every Team is set up consistently. This helps ensure your team knows where to go to find the information they need to get their job done. Think of the Teams template as a blueprint for your business-specific Teams site. With each business-specific template, you can set pre-defined channels, tabs, adjust the public or private setting, and add apps. Creating a new team with all of your apps, tabs, channels, and team settings is a great way to get your team creation started, plus it also helps to reinforce the importance of governance for your use of Teams. Ensuring that the same tabs and apps are included in your newly created Teams will help keep your governance in place while providing use-case, business-specific structure for your users.
What’s required for your template? What are the necessary channels, tabs, and applications needed to help your group communicate and collaborate within the Team? Once you have established your requirements, you can create your Team template.
Microsoft has several pre-set industry-specific templates that you can put into action right away including:
- Small and medium businesses
- Shifts for Teams
Note these are available to most tenants, yet specific templates may only be available via the Teams client/browser for specific types of tenants. For example, education tenants may have UI driven access to the Education Teams templates, while standard templates would have to use the Microsoft Graph, or custom solutions to utilize Education Teams templates.
You can read all about it here:
- Welcome to Microsoft Teams
- Expand Microsoft Teams across your organization
- Get started with Teams templates for Small and Medium Businesses
Let’s See it in Action
* Big-Important-Do-Not-Pass-Go-Do-Not-Collect-$200-Note: Make sure you follow your company governance for using any Team features when setting up your template.
For this post, I am creating a simple Client_TeamsTemplate that I can easily use when creating a new Team to use with our Clients. The Template has two defined channels Project Template and Support Template. I set each channel to show for everyone on the team, added a description and added pre-defined tabs at the top that our clients will use when collaborating with us on a project. The Project Template has a tab for InVision (linking to the prototyping tool we use for wireframes and mockups created for the project), Project Schedule (link to my Gantt chart), OneNote, and Planner. The Support Template has a tab that will link to our issue tracker form. In a perfect world, I would have my issue tracker list available in another tab, but until that feature becomes available, I will stick to using the blueprint I set in the template.
When you create your new team from the template, you can select which (currently available) features to include. Pay close attention to the message above the tabs. “Messages, files, and content won’t be copied. You’ll need to set up tabs and connectors again.”
After I hit create, I take a few mins of zen for myself, and ta-da✨ my new Team is created with all the features needed to get our client integrated with Teams, allowing me to successfully manage their project.
Now I’m ready to set up my tabs and app and share the Team with the appropriate delivery team members and guests.
Mind the Gaps
The downside right now is that even though you have set your tabs and apps in your template, you will still have to configure those in your new Team. It’s a bit of a let-down, but it does make sense seeing that each team might not have the same link for a Jira Project or use the same channel in Stream. To me, the biggest feature missing is not copying over my pre-set folder structure along with some default documents I want to include. You can certainly script the template process to do almost whatever your heart desires but to keep this “no-code” and easy we stuck to using what we can configure and use via the browser for this blog post.
Want to learn more about templates and how you can maximize collaboration in Teams? Our President recently presented on this very subject in our webinar Maximize Collaboration with Microsoft Teams | Midsize-Large Organizations.