Sometimes the easiest way can also to be the best! Now this option can be done within the Teams desktop app, or from the web browser. Provided your organisation hasn’t disabled teams or group creation, you can use this method without admin privileges.
It’s as simple as pressing Join or create a team > Create team. Well, not quite that simple, there are a few extra settings to consider. Lets take a look:
Build from scratch, or create from existing Office 365 group or team
This option lets you either define your own O365 group as you create the team, or leverage an existing O365 group or team if available.
Private, public or org-wide
Choose whether people need permission to join (private) the team, it’s open to everyone in your org to join (public), or everyone is automatically added to the team by default (org-wide).
NOTE: the org-wide option is only available to global or Teams admins.
Name your team
Give your team a name and description. Microsoft recommend avoiding characters such as @, #, [, ], <, and > for the creation of O365 groups, so it makes sense to feed that through to Teams also.
Also worth bearing in mind that you can leave spaces in your team name as the creation process will remove them. This is useful for the back end SharePoint site to have a cleaner URL (no %20 in the url thanks very much Teams!).
Add members and create!
Next you can add any members to the team, this is an optional step as members can be added after the team is created.
That’s it! your team has now been created. The team will appear in your teams gallery and your good to go.
#2 Create from Groups in the admin center
This method will require some level of admin privileges as you will need access to the O365 admin center, specifically Groups.
To begin, on the left-hand menu press the Groups drop-down, then Groups> Add a group.
Choose a group type
As this section isn’t just about teams creation, you also have the ability to create distribution and mail-enabled security groups too. We’re only interested in creating Office 365 groups here, so make sure that’s selected and press next.
Set up the basics
As in method #1, here enter the name and description for your Group, which also is the same for your team. The same guidelines apply here as above with regards to characters and spaces.
You are able to specify who the owner(s) of the O365 group/ team should be here, as it may not be the person creating the Group. As with members, this can also be changed once created.
This part of the creation process allows you to define a name for the group email address, set the privacy of your group and crucially add teams to it. Make sure Create teams for the group is checked and press next.
NOTE: for the group email address, as well as the characters to avoid mentioned earlier, you also cannot use spaces as part of the email address.
The final screen is a review screen, if you are happy with the configuration just press Create group and you are done! If you switch over to Teams after creation you will see your newly created team (please see thoughts and observations for more on this).
#3 Create from Azure Active Directory
This method also requires admin privileges, most likely the global admin role unless you have custom roles created.
To begin, open Azure Active Directory from the O365 admin center, once in press Azure Active Directory from the left-hand menu, then under manage, select Groups> New Group.
New group settings
Within the new group settings, add the following information:
Group type: Office 365
Group name: this should be the name of your team
Group email address: avoid invalid characters like spaces, hyphens and underscores are ok
Group description: description of the team
Owners: assign any relevant owners
Members: assign any relevant members
This will then create the O365 group based on the above configuration. Next we can jump into Teams to create our team from the O365 group!
Open the Teams app, desktop or web
Press join or create a team > create team
Press create from an existing Office 365 group or team
Under create a new team from something you already own, press Office 365 group
Select the O365 group from earlier and press create
#4 Create from teams admin center
This method will also require either the global admin or Teams admin role. To begin, open up O365 admin, and select the Teams admin center.
From the navigation icons on the left-hand menu, select Teams > manage teams
Under add a new team, give your team a name, description, set the owner and set the privacy (private or public)
Press create a team
That’s it! Your team has now been created and is visible from the Teams admin center. In the example below, we also check the status of the O365 group by going back into Groups within the O365 admin center, selecting the newly created group and checking the members tab.
Thoughts and observations
During the process of creating teams in all of the above methods, I noticed several things that may be a consideration when creating teams yourself:
The only way to create an org-wide team at the point of creation from any of the above methods is via the Teams app or browser, this is not an option via Groups, Azure Active Directory or the Teams admin center.
When converting an existing team to org-wide, its worth considering the approach for when to convert. For example, in my organisation we wanted to some starter posts to the team for people to see once the team became org-wide. However, once you convert the team the posts become buried beneath the “XXXX added Joe Bloggs and 199 others to the team” messages.
I’ve focused on ways to create Teams through native options within Office 365. There are, of course programmatic ways to do this – for example via PowerShell.
Managing Teams and their SharePoint sites is not as straight-forward as with SharePoint. Even as a global admin or teams admin, if you are not an owner of a Team then you cannot manage the Team or the corresponding SharePoint site. Granted, expected behavior in Teams, but if you just need to manage the SharePoint site, you need make yourself an owner or site admin.
There is a noticeable delay when creating new Teams in any other way than via the Teams app or browser. This thread makes mention to the fact that it can take up to 24 hours to create teams via PowerShell or using the Graph API, this also seems to be true for via Groups and Azure Active Directory in some instances.
NOTE: a factor in this could likely also be the throttling and shifting of resources based on the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
The first thing to say about this is it’s quite literally a click of a button to actually provision the M365 learning pathways solution from the SharePoint look book, but please make sure you do read the prerequisites as that may well catch you out.
The prereq’s makes mention of being a tenant administrator, the account I used was an O365 global administrator. A quick google search here shows that a tenant administrator is now the global admin role.
The solution requires an app catalog site to be created in order to work, to do this you’ll need to navigate back to the old SharePoint admin center, or the classic site collection page to be more in-line with the official verbiage!
To get there, press More features > under Apps, Open.
Web Site Address suffix: enter your preferred suffix for the app catalog; for example: apps
Administrator: enter your username, and then select the resolve button to resolve the username
Check global admin is app catalog site collection admin
You also need to make sure the provisioning account is also a site collection administrator for the app catalog site. To do this just select your app catalog site, press Owners > Manage Administrators and make sure its the either listed in the primary or one of the other site collection administrators.
Initialize the CustomConfig List & assign owners
Once the learning pathways site has been provisioned, the account used will receive an email to confirm. In the email there will be a link to the custom config list that needs to be run to set up the site for first use.
If you don’t receive an email from the PnP provisioning service, then just navigate to your learning pathways site, then just add /SitePages/CustomLearningAdmin.aspx to the end of the url:
Next, you will need to add owners to the learning pathways site. Owners will have admin privileges on the site, but also be able to hide and show content delivered through the learning pathways web part. In addition, they’ll have the ability to build custom playlist and assign them to custom subcategories.
From the SharePoint Settings menu, click Site Permissions.
Click Advanced Permission Settings.
Click Microsoft 365 learning pathways Owners.
Click New > Add Users to this group, and then add the people you want to be Owners.
What I found was if you don’t click the link to initialize the CustomConfig List, all of the learning pathways content that’s delivered from the web part won’t work. I also then tried to go back and open the link to see if the problem would correct itself. It didn’t and the CustomLearningAdmin.aspx page just hung and wouldn’t respond.
What worked for me in the end was to permanently delete the learning pathways site, delete the learning pathways solution from the app catalog site, wait 24 hours then provision again (this was I could use the same URL).
Naturally this time around I initialized the CustomConfig List from the URL before sharing it!
2. Delete sites from recycle bin in order to provision again
So stemming from issue number 1 above, I also noticed that unless you permanently delete your learning pathways site, you cannot create one with the same name. You will get a message similar to the below:
“Unfortunately your site provisioning at least partially failed!”
To permanently delete a site, all you need to do is delete it from Active sites (if not connected to an O365 group), then under Delete sites select the site and press Permanently delete.
3. Multi factor authentication enabled for the provisioning account
I had an issue where I kept receiving a generic message from the provisioning service page saying:
“Unfortunately your site provisioning at least partially failed!”
The global admin account I used to run the provisioning service had multi factor authentication enabled, more specifically using the authentication app. What I found was when I changed by 2-step verification from using the authentication app to text, the provisioning service completed successfully.
4. app catalog site takes longer than 30 minutes to allow provisioning to complete
If you don’t already have an app catalog created, you will receive an error from the provisioning service similar to this:
“In order to provision the template you need to have an App Catalog in your tenant. Please, create one (for instructions you can read this document: https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=2087251), wait up to 30 minutes, and try again.“
When you then create an app catalog site, I found it took well over 2 hours before the provisioning service recognized as such.
New language settings have been added for communication sites in SharePoint. Once set you can translate pages, news and assign individuals as translators per language.
Translators get notified via email when there is a new default language page created or when an existing one is updated by the original content author. Translators are responsible for adding their language’s content. People visiting the site will automatically see pages and news in their preferred user language when available.
The restrictions on the SharePoint root site swap are now gone! Meaning that the ability to swap the location of a SharePoint root site with another using the PowerShell cmdlet, Invoke-SPOSiteSwap is now available for everyone.
Previously this was only available to customers with 10,000 users or more.
Microsoft to pause/ revert the updated SharePoint start page experience
Microsoft have announced they are pausing and rolling back the updated SharePoint start page experience. Announced via the Message Center (post #192001), Microsoft said their internal metrics data indicated that users were not finding all their sites as easily with the updated experience as they were in the previous design of the page.
After April 1, 2020 all users who may have received the updated experience will revert back to the current experience.
Edit metadata from within the SharePoint Document Library and List View web parts
Soon you be able to open and edit file or list item properties directly from the document or list view web parts. Moving away from having to go to the list or library itself, just click on info or more under the item’s properties.
Rich-text capabilities in the conditional formatting rule builder
Conditional formatting rules for SharePoint lists allows you to use if/ then logic to format rows and columns based on numerical values and dates and so on. You now will have more flexibility on how these attributes appear with the enhanced rich text editor – to bold, color, underline, etc. more closely to how you wish your text to appear.
Improved audio quality for networks with high packet loss
Rolled out to Teams worldwide, you now will experience improved audio quality even with congested or lossy networks, poor WiFi or mobile data connection to you and I. Microsoft have introduced smarter jitter buffer logic, burst loss detection, and triggering of redundant transmissions to ensure smooth audio playback, even under high burst loss.
Background blur is coming to iOS! Over the next few weeks this feature will be rolling out to iPhones and iPads.
The Bookings app allows you to schedule and take part in appointment’s with external people using Teams. With a single scheduling experience, you can create virtual appointments with external attendees easily. As an external attendee, you will receive an email invite with details of the appointment and a link to join. You can join via the web browser or the Teams mobile app.
The Bookings App in Teams will be available in the coming weeks.
Another update that has absolutely nothing to do with the popularity of Zoom, the new “raise hands” feature in Teams allows meeting attendees to identify that they wish to speak, making it easier to actively participate in large meetings.
Everyone will see a visual cue on the attendee’s video feed, as well as in the participant list, and can be sure to give them the room to participate in the conversation at hand.
Real-time noise suppression in Teams automatically removes any unwanted background noise during meetings. This feature is coming soon to meetings and calls, but is generally available for recorded video content in Stream now.
Now you can open and access Teams even when you without internet access. Teams users will now be able to open Teams even when no network is available. You will be able to create and read messages, browse previously viewed channels, and to view calendar summaries.
Pinned chats, pinned channels, and recently visited chats and channels will always be available offline.
Teams is also optimized for low to poor performing networks, meaning users can still send messages with poor connectivity. If conditions are too poor to send a message, Teams will notify users of this and then save the message until the user has returned to a functioning network.
Teams & Skype Consumer chat and calling interoperability
Teams users will soon be able to find and communicate with users on the Skype consumer service, allowing businesses using Teams to engage with customers and colleagues on the iconic communications platform, across all clients including iOS and Android.
This new interoperability will allow Teams and Skype consumer users to chat and make calls using Voice over IP (VoIP) initiated by either client using an email address (phone number or Skype ID searches are not supported at this time.) For safety and security, Teams users can accept or decline first-time conversations with Skype users, and may block and unblock contacts.
This highly anticipated feature begins rolling out in Teams by the end of March.
The new Satin codec as part of Teams will deliver wideband audio with as little as 7 kbps. Although Wi-Fi and mobile data connections can deliver way faster speeds than this, Teams will continue to deliver the best audio experiences during periods of congestion and network handoffs without having to sacrifice video or screen sharing quality.
M365 Business Voice available in the US from April 1st
Business Voice, a cloud-based telephony system was launched in the UK and Canada for small and medium businesses back in November 2019.
Starting April 1st, Business Voice will be available to purchase in the U.S. for $20/user/mo. Business Voice will also be available form April 1 with a third-party calling plan will be available in over 70 countries.
Administrators now have the ability to manage certified Microsoft Teams phones from the Microsoft Teams admin center. This will soon be extended for Microsoft Teams room devices and collaboration bars. Admins will be able to perform key actions such as update settings, restart devices, gather logs, review device call quality data, and more.
Microsoft have made changes to the Shifts experience for firstline managers and workers to free up time spent on administering the solution. Here’s an overview of what’s changed:
Schedule filtering: filter by team members or schedule groups, making it easier to manage large shift schedules
Recall shared schedule: recall single or multiple days of a shared schedule, in order to make any necessary changes
“Your shifts” view: quickly access shift information without scrolling through the entire team schedule
Targeted communications in the Shifts app
Soon you will be able to target messages to recipients who are on-shift based on their role and the shifts they are working. Users are automatically assigned to tags matching their schedule in the Shifts app in Teams, which allows for integration with major workforce management systems, including AMiON, JDA, and Kronos.
RealWear headset for hands-free Teams collaboration
RealWear, industry leader in head-mounted, ruggedized solutions is partnering with Microsoft Teams to support digital transformation in manufacturing and other industrial environments. This partnership brings together RealWear devices and Microsoft Teams to empower Firstline
Workers while keeping their hands free. Teams on RealWear devices will be available later this year.
Walkie Talkie is a new push to talk experience in Teams that enables clear voice communication over the cloud. The Galaxy XCover Pro with Microsoft Teams simplifies and empowers Firstline Workers and their organizations to communicate and collaborate using just one device and one platform.
The capability will be available in the Teams mobile app and integrate with the newly unveiled Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro, a device built for workers on the front lines of any industry. The XCover Pro will be available through Microsoft retail stores starting in mid-April, and Walkie Talkie in Teams will be available starting July 2020.
Collaboration bars allow you to turn your focus rooms or smaller conference areas into collaborative meeting spaces. These video conferencing solutions attach to displays, TVs or touchscreens to deliver high-quality, collaborative video meetings.
The Poly CCX Series are a range of native Teams phones to help users to transform the way they communicate. The series offers a range models to choose from, starting with the CCX400 and up to the CCX600. You can personalize yours with a headset that suits your style or use the traditional handset.
Command Checker is an in-app tool designed to help users understand why buttons are hidden or shown and what command will run upon click.
For each button on a given ribbon, the tool will show its calculated visibility status, the evaluation result of each enable/display rule attached to the button, and the command to be executed when clicked.
Unattended Robotic Process Automation and AAD support now available in preview for UI flows
The Power Automate team have announced the preview of unattended UI flows – flows that run without human supervision. This is best for scenarios such as processing invoices and entering them into a legacy application automatically.
When running unattended, Power Automate will securely sign into the device on your behalf, execute the UI flow actions onto the target applications then sign out of the device.
Power Automate already supported on-premises Active Directory (AD)-joined machines to run UI flows. With this release UI flows now support Azure Active Directory (AAD)-joined machines.
The Power Automate team are releasing the ability to pass files from a connector action to the Approvals action step, so that you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with sharing just enough information that’s needed.
The Power Automate team have announced the availability of error handling and control logic for UI automation scripts.
Error handling allows you to add resilience and robustness to your UI flows by adding parallel branches of execution. Control logic allows you to use actions like condition, switch case and terminate actions directly within a UI flow.
Read/write XMLA endpoints in Power BI Premium public preview
The Power BI team have announced the public preview of read/write capabilities for the XMLA endpoint in Power BI Premium. The read/write capability now introduces many additional scenarios for dataset management, advanced semantic modeling, debugging, and monitoring.
Query Diagnostics for Power Query has entered GA. Query Diagnostics is a powerful new feature that will allow you to determine what Power Query is doing during authoring and in some refresh workflows in Power BI Desktop.
Multi Geo Premium Capacities performance improvements
The Power BI team completed a global roll out of an improvement to Premium Capacities configured in remote locations (aka Multi Geo capacities).
Multi Geo capacities allow global organizations to remain compliant with data residency regulations that vary between geographies. Organizations can have their main Power BI region set to where their headquartered, and have reports served from remote geographies while ensuring data at rest remains bounded to the remote geography.
The Power BI team have announced the release of several new features including new button actions, multi-column sort for tables, dual axis for line chart, a search for the filter pane, updates to decomposition tree, and much more!
In Wave 1, the Power Virtual Agent team’s initial focus was on increasing the reach of Power Virtual Agents through language and geo-expansion, enhancing authoring capabilities, and addressing key features for large enterprises like collaboration across multiple bot authors, bot lifecycle management and other admin experiences.
March 2020 saw the announcement of Microsoft 365 Personal and Family moving away from O365 for individuals and families offering. Several name changes were also made to existing small- medium business and enterprise offerings.
Office 365 Business Essentials is now Microsoft 365 Business Basic; Office 365 Business Premium is now Microsoft 365 Business Standard; and Microsoft 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Business Premium. Meanwhile, Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus will be called Microsoft 365 Apps.
Yammer emails in Outlook on the web enable users to interact with Yammer conversations, polls, and questions, and deliver praise. Now you can see the full Yammer thread and reply, like, vote, attach files, share GIFs, and even watch videos right from your inbox.
These features are now available to all Enterprise tenants with releases in Outlook for Windows, Outlook for Mac, and Outlook for iOS and Android coming next quarter.
You can now view and edit data in Excel in a simple, digestible card format, eliminating the need to span across columns that extend beyond the limits of the screen. Also new to Office mobile, PowerPoint Designer helps you create professional presentations with design, formatting, and iconography ideas for your content.
These features will be available in the next few months in the Office app for Android and iOS.