Microsoft Teams – Under the hood and membership administration.

Microsoft Teams is the latest application to be released on the Office 365 platform.  Teams is Microsoft’s answer to the latest generation of persistent chat products currently available on the market.  With further updates and expanded integration with other O365 products it could see considerable uptake.

I decided to take a look at what happens when a team is created to better understand the moving parts underneath the hood and if this could assist when administering individual teams such as modifying membership and owners.  If Teams become popular and begin to proliferate then finding a way to automate or simplify the administrative tasks involved would be beneficial.

Whilst no powershell module created specifically for Teams is currently available there are portions of the solution that can be administered by powershell such as Office 365 groups however I found this brings a mixed bag of results.

To be fair to Teams is a very new application and I wouldn’t hesitate to believe Microsoft will be focusing a lot of energy to deliver a compete solution to reach its full potential.

What happens when you create a team

When creating a team within Microsoft Teams using either the desktop app or web client a number of things occur behind the scenes

  • Office 365 Group is created.  Group members are granted access to the team and content.  Group owners have additional administrative rights.  By default Teams belong to private groups.
  • Sharepoint site created to host content

Microsoft Teams makes use of Office 365 groups as they grant access to resources and reference sharepoint for additional functionality such as shared workspace for conversations, files, and calendar events.

The first thing I did was to create a couple of groups.  Below you can see teams as seen from the desktop app, the related Office 365 groups, and sharepoint site.

Example Teams after cretion
underthehood_01

When a team is created a corresponding Office 365 group is created
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Some of the Office 365 group attributes utilised by Teams
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Sharepoint site automatically created for a team
underthehood_04

Modifying Teams using Powershell

Because Teams groups rely on Office 365 groups I decided to see if it was possible to add Team members via powershell using the following command

add-unifiedGroupLunks testteam2 –linkType Members –link paul@nomoredeskphone.onmicrosoft.com

A few moments after adding the account to the Office 365 group Test Team 2 appreaed in the application.   
Test Team 2 is now available
underthehood_05

The next step was to test removing members via powershell using the following command
Remove-UnifiedGroupLinks testteam2 -LinkType Members -Links paul@nomoredeskphone.onmicrosoft.com 

The group then disappeared from Teams
Access to Test Team 2 has been removed
underthehood_06

So far this looks to be a viable method of adding and removing team members.  However once an account has been removed from a teams corresponding Office 365 group using powershell there was an issue if the account was re-added.  Whilst the account is now a member of the Office 365 group the team would never show to the user within the application.

Account for Paul Maggs re-added to Office 365 group as a member
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Team does not update to reflect this change
underthehood_08

Re-adding accounts to the team was still possible when an owner granted access from the application.

Unlike re-adding accounts via powershell which was unsuccessful it was possible to continually remove accounts from an Office 365 group to revoke access.

Another scenario was adding team owners via powershell using the following command

Add-UnifiedGroupLinks testteam2 -LinkType Owners -Links paul@nomoredeskphone.onmicrosoft.com 

Account for Paul Maggs now has owner rights
underthehood_09

The same occurs if an account is re-added to the Office 365 group as an owner.  The account will display as an owner when querying the Office 365 group however will not have owner administrative rights available from within the application.

Paul Maggs account is listed as an Owner
underthehood_10

Owner controls not granted in Teams web app when account added to Office 365 group using powershell.
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It’s quite clear adding Team members and owners works best using either Teams web or desktop app.  There may be additional steps available to correctly assign permissions using powershell however I am unaware of them at this point in time.

A few other things I learn’t from this process  –

Team display names do not need to be unique and this is also reflected with Office 365 groups  –

Duplicate team names
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Duplicate Office 365 Group name.  Note smtp address is unique
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Even though the group names are the same a number of unique attributes exist.  Here’s an example of a few –
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If you’re planning on deleting any Teams then I suggest you do so using the Teams web or desktop app and by doing so the deleted team is no longer viewable.  The office 365 group is also removed however the sharepoint site seems to remain.  I’m not overly familiar with Sharepoint so there could be additional tasks that need to occur.

Another thing that seemed rather strange was if a Teams Office 365 group is deleted then the Team is still remains in the Teams web or desktop app and I could continue to view and add to persistent chat however files and notes were no longer available.

Microsoft Teams. Let’s Get Started!

Slack, HipChat, Spark…. Microsoft Teams!

introtreams_intro

Microsoft Teams is the latest collaboration application providing a method for people and teams to communicate and collaborate.  Teams group persistent conversations with the ability to contain files, and notes provided by OneNote Online.  Conversation have the ability to escalate to a video call and provide desktop sharing.

Teams is capable of scheduling meetings.  When joining a scheduled meeting the client automatically enables audio and video by default.

Enabling Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is now available for Office 365 tenants.  It’s easy to enable and its functionality is available for all active accounts within the tenant.

  1. Sign into Office 365 portal
  2. Select Admin
    enable1
  3. Settings > Services & add-ins.  Select Microsoft Teams enable2
  4. Select Turn Microsoft Teams onenable3
  5. Save > Close
Sign in to Teams

Teams is accessible via web browser, Windows app, and mobile.

Web browser

  1.  Open web browser and open https://teams.microsoft.comwebbrowser1
  2. Enter login details > Sign inwebbrowser2
  3. And you’re in!


Desktop App 

The desktop app is available from the web client that displays a bar across the top of the teams web page providing a download button.

desktop1

Mobile App
Teams is available for both iOS and Android.  The iOS app functioned without issue however the Android app wouldn’t complete an initial setup on first login.  Not sure if a wide spread issue or not.mobile1

So what’s in Teams?

On the left side of the interface is a sidebar comprising of profile, activity type, and settings.

  • Profile – Displays photo, status, saved messages, and activity
  • Activity – Notifications such as mentions, likes, replies, and links to recent chats
  • Chat – This is where you can add contacts from your organisation to begin a chat.  Chat seems to be more impromptu than teams.
  • Teams – Teams are groups of people who have access to a particular conversation and any files or notes contained within it.
  • Meetings – Teams based meetings with contacts from own  organisation containing audio/video and chat window.
  • Files – Recent files, files stored in any team conversations you are part of, or stored on OneDrive.
  • Feedback – Tell Microsoft what you really think!
  • Settings – Change themes, notification settings, logout, etc

Starting a chat 

  1. Click on the chat icon
  2. Next to the search bar click the new conversation icon (highlighted in yellow)startingachat1
  3. A new chat window opens.  Type in the name or email address of contact(s) to begin chatting with.

When chat commences a number of options present themselves

  • Star – Favorite a chat.  It’ll then show up on your profile screen under saved.
  • Video, Audio, and add participant buttons
  • Conversation – Text conversations sent between all present in the chat session
  • Files – Upload and view files in current conversation
  • Notes – OneNote Online integration
  • Organisation – Not currently enabled on my tenant.  Will need to look further into this.
  • Activity – Displays activity of the chat participents in other Teams discussions.
Teams

Creating Teams

  1. Select Teams icon > Create teamcreatingateam1
  2. Enter team details  > Nextcreatingateam2
  3. Add contacts to team chat
  4. Once created the initial screen displays
    1. Add more people
    2. Create more channels
    3. Open the FAQ

Once created Teams contain conversations, files, and notes.  Teams can contain channels that are separate conversations within a team.

Meetings

Meetings are a method to invite participants into a meeting taking place in a team channel.  Joining a meeting initiates chat, audio, and video.

Creating a Meeting

  1. Select Meetings Icon > Schedule Meetingcreateameeting1
  2. When creating a meeting select the Team and Channel to be included, date and time, participants, and short description > Schedulecreateameeting2

Once scheduled meetings display in the meetings tab and contain a join button.

Joining a Meeting
  1. Select Meeting icon > Select Meeting > Joinjoiningameeting1

Meeting in progress!

meetinginprogress1

Files

Contains list of all files you have access to uploaded during chats, team chats, or placed onto one drive.  Files can be opened or downloaded from this location.  files1

Microsoft Teams has made a promising start yet raises the question as to whether it may confuse potential users due to duplication of functionality of Yammer, Skype for Business, and Teams.  Converging these products into a single application could be of benefit and providing better interoperability should help adoption and simplify workflow.  Should you use Skype for Business for video?  What about presence state between the applications which are not currently reflected?  I also believe participants must be from the same organisation and providing federation would help collaboration between separate organisations that have a need to work collaboratively.