When I heard about Microsoft Teams, I was very excited from the start. I’m using Slack a lot for GitHub projects and for some internal projects, as there is no alternative in Microsoft. Teams is positioned as a Slack competitor, and when it was available as public beta, I immediately contacted our Office 365 admin to enable it. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now, and I want to share my experience with you!
I was very surprised that even though it is in public beta, it feels complete and finished. I was also surprised there is a Windows Phone app, as I’m one of the few people still carrying a Windows Phone 🙂 (Although it doesn’t feel right that I am surprised here, a software company should always release for their own mobile OS, right?)
How to access Teams?
To summarize, you can access Teams via:
- The web site (teams.microsoft.com)
- The Windows application (no UWP app, which is a bit disappointing)
- Mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
As I’m an experience Slack user, I’ve compared it with Slack and overall I like it very much! My issues with Slack are:
- It is mainly a chat client. No easy access to files or notes.
- No threaded conversations. When multiple people are discussing in the same channel, you will be lost very soon.
Microsoft Teams offers a lot more compared to Slack
- Threaded conversations
- Access to Files, Meetings, and Notes.
- Synchronizes with Office 365 / SharePoint Online / Outlook
Essentially, Microsoft Teams builds on top of Office 365 Groups and adds the chat functionality. You can upgrade existing Office 365 Groups to become a Team, however they have to be marked as private for unknown reasons.
Integrations with 3rd party products
Another surprise was that there are already a lot of connectors for Microsoft Teams to connect with 3rd party products. For example, we are using the TFS Online connector to be notified of code check-ins, directly in Teams. There are a wide variety of connectors available, for Trello, Twitter, RSS feeds, Yammer, Dynamics 365, etc. etc.
What could be improved in Microsoft Teams?
- I have to log in every time to the Windows desktop application when I reboot my PC. Maybe it’s because of our Office 365 configuration, but it is annoying.
- People don’t get notifications by email. I’m trying to minimize emails as much as possible in favor of communication via Teams/Groups, however people tend to stick with email. So, sometimes discussions are being missed by people because they did not get a notification when they were mentioned.
- Chat screen fills only half of the screen. Only about 50% of the screen width is used for the chat, the rest is white screen and navigation. Because of this you have to scroll much more than necessary.
Overall I am very happy with Teams and we are using it for a couple of projects, however I have not been able to get rid of email entirely 🙂