What Is Microsoft Teams? Uses & Features of the Microsoft Teams App


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Microsoft Teams strives to improve the heart of every successful project: good communication. Stakeholders, managers and teams must set expectations, deliver directions and collaborate for greater productivity. Whether people are under one roof or distributed across the globe, a shared platform with an open channel for communicating is the glue that holds projects together.

The market is saturated with collaboration apps that promise the moon, but often deliver far less. Microsoft Teams is a dominant player in the field and with good reason. Microsoft offers a suite of products that are designed to keep businesses working more efficiently.

Is Microsoft Teams the one tool you need to deliver a product on time and within budget? No. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. The Microsoft Teams app has a lot of benefits, and when used with a dynamic project management software, can give you everything you need to plan, monitor and report on your project right at your fingertips.

What is Microsoft Teams?

The Microsoft Teams app is a chat-based collaborative platform for online meetings and other business communication needs. It is used to keep teams connected and organized.

The tool also features video conferencing, screen sharing and custom backgrounds. There’s even a “together mode” that makes it appear that you and whoever you’re talking with are in the same room. For collaboration beyond conversing, there is document sharing.

Microsoft Teams is part of Microsoft 365, which features its Office apps, cloud service and security. Though it was only introduced in 2017, it has become a go-to tool for small to medium-sized businesses. It costs $5 per month, per user.

Why Do People Use the Microsoft Teams App?

The popularity of MS Teams is easily explained. As work grows increasingly online and teams work remotely, they require software that can keep people connected, and working productively together becomes a paramount concern for businesses.

There are, naturally, many chat apps. So why choose Microsoft Teams over Slack, Google Drive or GoToMeeting? Certainly, as part of the larger family of Microsoft products, it’s an attractive option. It’s already seamlessly integrated with ubiquitous apps such as Excel and Word.

Plus, Teams has a simple design, and it’s easy to set up. Notifications can be set up so they show up onscreen, which helps to keep everyone updated and on the same page.

Another benefit is that everything is in one place. Because the Microsoft Teams app is integrated with Microsoft 365, teams can move from instant messages to email and document collaboration. On top of that, the program is always being improved. Because of the evolution and integration, Microsoft Teams can be a real crowd-pleaser.

How Does Microsoft Teams Work?

Teams are first divided into channels. There can be channels that address the entire organization, but if every conversation was posted in one place it would become too distracting.

If you want to bring someone into a channel to respond to a question or just update them, you can tag them. This invites them into the channel. Chats can happen one-on-one, too, for conversations need to be private.

Outside of conversation, everyone who uses MS Teams has a site on SharePoint Online, which is Microsoft’s collaborative platform to exchange data and work together. It provides document storage and is fully integrated with Office 365.

The Pros and Cons of Microsoft Teams

It’s important to understand that MS Teams isn’t perfect. It does some things well, and in other areas, it falls short. Let’s take a look at where the program’s assets and deficits are.

The Pros of the Microsoft Teams App

Microsoft Teams sells itself as a way to increase productivity and strengthen communications, and it does well at both. It connects teams individually and with online meetings. You can share files and tasks, all from one app. On top of that, it partners with a lot of third-party applications that further enhance the experience.

This leads to another advantage. Because you’re only using one app, you can better focus your attention on the work that must be done. There is less sifting through old emails and looking for files you need to get your work done.

All this is to say that the app provides transparency and keeps everyone on the same page and updated. This means the team is always aware of what it has to do. You don’t have to worry about disseminating materials, because there’s a depository in which to store them. It’s easy to notify people and tag them to bring them into a channel to help with the work.

The biggest pro of MS Teams is that it provides a seamless transition to the digital workplace. As work continues to migrate online, teams need a tool that can connect them to their work and coworkers. Having a portal to chat and share files makes remote work possible.

Cons of the Microsoft Teams App

One of the challenges of using Teams is getting off Outlook. That mail system is embedded in most people’s digital lives. Moving off it can be a pain point. But for MS Teams to deliver all it promises, users need to migrate to Microsoft Teams.

This is all the more difficult as Outlook is a part of Office 365. For instance, if you’re editing a doc in Word and want to share it, there’s no option to do this with the Team chat. Instead, it goes by email. Microsoft Teams also doesn’t support group calendars, so you have to return to Outlook for this.

If you’re looking for files, it can be a problem. While they’re accessible with a search, if you want to know where they reside on the program, that can prove complex. Teams has a byzantine folder structure. If you try to organize your files and move them into new folders, the links will break.

The online meetings are not great. Microsoft is working to integrate Skype, but currently, a lot of functionality that would make the experience of meeting online better is not available. It’s also not possible to bring guests into the project. There are other aspects of the software that aren’t flexible, and that can cause some frustration.

Add ProjectManager.com to Teams and Manage Projects Better

The advantages of Microsoft Teams outweigh the disadvantages, but while it connects teams and gives them a platform in which to dialogue, it doesn’t have project management features. If you’re managing a project, the Microsoft Teams app can’t do it alone. It needs the robust project management tools of ProjectManager.com.

ProjectManager.com is award-winning software that can manage unlimited projects and tasks with unlimited file storage to act as a central hub for all your documentation. Unlike Microsoft Project, our tool works with both Apple and PC products. It’s also a lot easier to share work on our software than with SharePoint, making it an excellent Microsoft Project alternative. We’ve outlined some of our top project management features below.

Plan with Gantt Charts

Our online Gantt chart makes it easy to plan your projects with powerful features that control every aspect of your schedule. Just upload a task list, list them manually or use one of our industry-specific templates to help you get started. Managers can also import, view and edit existing Excel and Project (.mpp) files, providing more features than a basic Microsoft Project viewer.

Gantt charts organize tasks and set them on a project timeline

Collaborate with Your Team

Microsoft Teams only takes baby steps towards collaboration. With our software you can easily invite team members, contractors and others and then create tasks for them quickly and easily. Because the tool is cloud-based it works on any computer web browser and you can create and update projects in real-time.

in-app notifications keep you up-to-date

Comments can be added at the task level to foster collaboration. Image files and documents can be added to tasks to help teams work together or provide detailed direction on how to execute the task. As tasks are updated, assigned team members receive email alerts and in-app notifications to keep everyone in the loop.

Work Flexibly with Kanban Boards

Besides creating dynamic project plans and collaborating in real-time, ProjectManager.com has multiple project views. You can create a task list to schedule your work or use Kanban boards to visualize your workflow, manage backlogs and plan sprints. Calendars save important dates and much more.

kanban boards visualize workflow

Manage Resources

Keeping your teams productive is why we have resource management tools, such as a workload chart that is color-coded to show you who is overallocated. You can then reallocate resources right from the workload management page and balance the workload for greater productivity.

color-coded workload chart helps you keep team's tasks balanced

Track and Report

Use our tool to manage your budget and resource costs. Plus, one-click reports give you detailed data that help you make better decisions. Reports can be filtered and shared with stakeholders to keep them updated. Real-time dashboards automatically calculate several project metrics and shows them in easy-to-read graphs and charts. That high-level project view helps you monitor progress and performance.

dashboards show several project metrics

You can manage projects, programs and portfolios with our tool, with portfolio dashboards and roadmaps. We also have timesheets to streamline payroll and track the hours your team logs on their tasks. You can’t do that on the Microsoft Teams app. Unlike Microsoft, we have a three-tiered pricing plan. Choose the subscription that works best for you and your organization.

MS Teams doesn’t have online backups or file sharing or even a free trial to see if the software is right for you. ProjectManager.com has unlimited file storage, easy sharing and manages every phase of your project. Plus, you can try it for free with our 30-day trial. Do it today and see how MS Teams and ProjectManager.com can work together to make your project successful.

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