Four ways to create Microsoft Teams

In this post we will look at how to create new Teams in four different ways, using methods that are available from within Office 365, plus some thoughts and observations of each method.

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#1 create within Teams

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.

Creating a new team from the Teams web browser.

#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.

Assign owners

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.

Edit settings

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).

Create a team from Groups within the O365 admin center.

#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
  • Press create!

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
Create a team from Azure Active Directory.

#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
  • Press Add
  • 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.

Create a new team from the Teams admin center.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. With the above, you are able to convert an existing team to an org-wide team, here’s the Microsoft guidance on how to do it.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Provisioning the M365 learning pathways solution

This post details my experience of trying to provision the 365 learning pathways solution from the SharePoint look book and what I found that differs from the documentation.

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Overview

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.

My one big takeaway from writing this post is that the initializing of the CustomConfig list is a crucial step.

Official Microsoft resources

Tenant admin or global admin?

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.

Google search of an O365 tenant administrator.

You can also use these steps in the troubleshooting guide to check if you have the relevant permissions.

Create an app catalog site

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.

How to access the classic site collection pages from the modern SharePoint admin center.

From here it’s easy to create a new app catalog site, I’ve documented this before as part of the SharePoint start kit deployment, but to summarize:

  • Select app catalog
  • Press OK to create a new app catalog site
Select app catalog from the apps menu option
  • Enter the following details
    • Title: app catalog
    • 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
  • Press OK

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.

Manage the administrators of the app catalog site in classic SharePoint admin.

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.

Once you load the CustomLearningAdmin.aspx page this page will be displayed.

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:

<YOUR-SITE-COLLECTION-URL>sites/<YOUR-SITE-NAME>/SitePages/CustomLearningAdmin.aspx

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.
  • Add a link to Explore the Site in the Share message, and then click Share.

Issues & troubleshooting the learning pathways solution

1. Configuration issues within learning pathways site

Once the learning pathways solution had provisioned and I received a success message, I went in and started poking around in the site to see if content loaded etc.

Once I then started shared the site with a few colleagues I got feedback that they were seeing this message within each page:

“Microsoft 365 learning pathways has a configuration issue. Please see the browser console for detailed logs. For assistance check out the issues list at https://github.com/pnp/custom-learning-office-365/issues.”

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.

How to permanently delete sites in modern SharePoint.

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.