Getting to Know Microsoft Teams

Today I wanted to gain a better understanding of Microsoft Teams.  Teams is a feature of Office 365 that is currently in preview and it is really quite easy to setup.

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Microsoft Teams is a robust application that is built on the Office 365 Groups service but includes significantly more features than Office 365 Groups.  For example, Team includes chat capability via Skype, Delve, Microsoft Graph, integration with PowerBI, the ability to integrate common cloud applications, bot assisted intelligence, leverages Exchange connector service and the list goes on.  Obviously, I am not going to cover everything Microsoft Team has to offer but I do plan to walk you through the set up and give you enough information to begin using, exploring and sharing this application with your organization.

Let’s walk through the setup.  The first thing you need to do is enable the preview feature by logging into Office 365 as a Global Admin, select Settings and Service & Add-ins.

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Scroll down to Teams and select and open

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Toggle the off switch to On and walk through the available setting to ensure they are set appropriately for your organizational needs.

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For example, under Messaging, I selected to allow adding animated images to conversations.  You also have options like employing bots as agents of help, setting Content Rating and more.

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When completed, simply close the Teams window, return to the Office 365 Admin area and you ready to begin using Microsoft Teams.

To create your first team, log into Teams.Microsoft.com with your Office 365 account .  If this is your first time logging in, you will see a wizard experience that walks you through creating your first team.  If you previously created a team and want to create a new Team, then you can select the Create Team option from the lower left.

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After selecting the Start button, a window will appear where you can give the Team a name and description.

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From here, select the Next button, the Team will get created and you can add members to it.  To add a member, simply begin typing the member name and a list of options will appear.

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You simply select the user you would like to add and it will populate in the list of members.  Continue through this process until you’ve added all the members to the team,  select the Add button, and select Done to complete the setup. 

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You can also use the Skip button if you prefer to add members later.

This all takes just a few minutes and after selecting the Done button your team is created and you are ready to get started.

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There are several features that come with Teams to include an option to download a desktop application.  I thought I would try that out to gain a feel for the experience as compared to online so I selected the download button.

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After selecting the download option, I chose to Run the .exe rather than Save and run from the saved file.  

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After a few seconds the Team Loading screen appeared, followed by a login page.

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I logged in with my Office 365 credentials and the desktop application opened.  As you can see it looks almost identical to the Online application and the download option has changed to display an option to check out or get the mobile apps.

 

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One of the first features you’ll notice is the ability to add files.  As you can see the files are uploaded to a SharePoint site created for the Team.  You’ll notice that you have options that we’ve come to expect from applications that use SharePoint as a document repository. 

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Teams uses the Office 365 SharePoint site and creates a site for each team.  You can also create Notes to share which creates and uses OneNote which is also saved to SharePoint.

When you are in Outlook, you’ll notice that Team displays under the Groups area the same as Office 365 Groups.  Depending on the features you selected, you’ll be able to generate conversations which are saved to the group and send as email to group members to include Emoji’s, images, attachments, etc..

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So we know we can do all the typical things we’ve seen in Office 365 groups, let’s take a look at some of the other features. 

In addition to Conversations, Files, Calendar and Notebook, you’ll notice a + button on the top toolbar.  When you select that button, you’ll see additional applications that you can add to the Team. 

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In this example, I’ll add Planner.  Planner provides the ability to create tasks for the Team to help keep people on track and the Team organized.

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As you can see, I gave the new plan a name and now I’m going to select Save.  If I want to let people know that I’ve added Planner, I can select the option to “Post to the channel about this tab”.  Once completed, Planner is added as a new Tab to the list and I can begin using it to distribute tasks to the team.

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Another very useful feature of Team is the ability to add Channels to a Team.  This can be very handy if you have different projects, initiatives or issues that you want to manage but the team remains the same across all those channels.  For example, I could create an IT Team and under that team have multiple channels for new technology initiatives that we plan to implement in the company.  Its easy to add a new Channel.  Simply right click the Team and you will see a list of available options.

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One of those options is to Add a Channel.  When I select the option, a window appears that allows me to provide a name and description for my Channel.

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Once completed, select the Add button. Now I’ve created a new Channel under my Team with all the features of the Team for managing the New Initiative leveraging the team members of the original team.

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One final feature I wanted to share is to encourage you to select the Chat option from the left navigation menu.  When you do, you’ll notice that T-Bot is ready to help.  From here you can ask questions, check out Help, FAQ, watch videos and, in general, learn just about anything you want to about the Microsoft Team application.

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After you’ve completed your Team setup, you can access Teams from Outlook under the Groups section.

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I don’t know about you but I’m pretty excited and ready to share this with my organization so we can begin use of this full featured collaboration app.

Cheers

Additional Resources

Microsoft Team Product

Satya Nadella Introduces Microsoft Office Teams

Microsoft Teams: Step-by-step intro for using, enabling and managing the experience

Introducing Microsoft Teams (in Preview)

Deploy and Manage Microsoft Teams

Office 365 Password Expiration Policy

I recently purchased an Office 365 account and wanted to set the Password Expiration policy to never expire.  I understand that is not necessarily a recommend practice but given the particulars of my scenario, it was ok.

The good news is that it only took about 10 minutes for me to make the change. Having said that, I’ve seen several community posts from people who have struggled with this so I thought I would post the steps:

All of the information you need to set the Password Expiration policy to Never Expire can be found in these articles:

Manage Azure AD using Windows PowerShell

Configure user passwords to never expire

One important step is to ensure you meet the software requirements.  So the first step is to select Review software requirements.  It is important to ensure you have the the correct Microsoft Online Services version.  If you don’t have the right version, you will receive an error when you attempt to install Windows Azure AD Module.  You will need Microsoft Online Services Sign-In Assistant for IT Professionals RTW for the AD Module to work.

One you have Microsoft Online Services Sign-In Assistant for IT Professionals RTW installed and assuming you have a supported Operating System (Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2, or Windows Server 2012 with the default version of Microsoft .NET Framework and Windows PowerShell).  You should be able to proceed with the Windows Azure AD Module installation.  You have two options:

 

Select the option that matches your machine.  When the install completes, select the option to save a Windows Azure Active Directory Module for Windows shortcut on your desktop.  This will make it easy to complete the remaining steps.

After the install completes, select the Windows Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell application from your desktop to open it.

 

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Next we are going to follow the steps outlined in the article Manage Azure AD using Windows PowerShell

The first step is connect to your online service.  You have a couple of choices.  Either enter the following command at the prompt:

connect-msolservice

Or enter:

$msolcred = get-credential

connect-msolservice -credential $msolcred

For this example, I selected the second option.  You can copy and paste the commands by selecting the Powershell icon from the open program and select edit:

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After entering the command, a credential prompt will open. Here you will enter your Office 365 login credentials and select Ok.

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At this point, you are connected and can run the password policy scripts.  In this example, I am setting the Password Expiration policy for the Office 365 Organization.  If you want to set the policy at the user level, then you can follow those instructions as provided in the article.

The first script I will run is to set the password expiration policy to Never Expire for all users in the organization.  If you prefer, you can follow the sequence in the article by first checking to see what password expiration policy is set for an individual user or everyone in the organization.  I plan to take that step last because I know what policy is currently set.

Since I want to set the policy for all users in the organization, I will run the following script:

Get-MSOLUser | Set-MsolUser -PasswordNeverExpires $true

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Select Enter on your keyboard and the script will complete

Next I will run the script to check the password policy for all users to ensure it was set as expected:

Get-MSOLUser | Select UserPrincipalName, PasswordNeverExpires

After selecting Enter, I can see that the PasswordNeverExpires is set to True for all users as expected:

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That is all you need to do to set the Online Service account password for your organization to never expire.

In the event you didn’t notice it in the article, I suggest running the scripts to create a help file and save that to your desktop.  To take that action simply run the following commands and a text file will open that you can save.

new-item c:\MSOLHelp -type directory get-command | Where-Object {$_.name -like “*msol*”} | format-list | Out-File c:\MSOLHelp\msolcmdlets.txt notepad c:\MSOLHelp\msolcmdlets.txt

 

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Have fun exploring the other things you can do with PowerShell scripts & Office 365.

Cheers