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March 7, 2022

Get More from Microsoft Teams with Advanced Templates

Microsoft Teams templates can present a number of benefits to organizations including maintaining an organized structure, reducing sprawl, and ultimately making Microsoft Teams more user-friendly. They will help you organize your information, keep it consistent, and save time, effort, and money while you are at it. In this article, we will be taking a deep dive into how you can get more from Microsoft Teams within your organization by utilizing templates.


What are Microsoft Teams Templates?

Microsoft Teams Templates are pre-built definitions of a Team’s structure that can be used to enforce consistency and provide a set structure for various business processes. MS Teams templates allow you to create Teams quickly and with ease by providing pre-defined templates of your team’s structure that bring together a range of settings, channels, tabs, and pre-installed apps to help organizations and teams collaborate more efficiently. Users are able to customize the team name, description, and channel names when creating a team from a Microsoft template.


Why use Microsoft Teams Templates?

Microsoft Teams Templates bring a number of benefits to any organization using Microsoft Teams. Not only do they help users organize and create teams quickly for effective collaboration, but also Microsoft Teams provides a rich collaboration space, where everything you need to collaborate on is right there and accessible in a single tool.

If your organization is new to Microsoft Teams then Microsoft Teams Templates are a great way to establish a consistent and organized structure. Implementing consistent Teams across your organization using Teams templates further enhances the user experience and as a result user adoption.

What’s more, Microsoft Teams Templates help reduce sprawl – sprawl refers to duplicate or unused Teams that are requested but never used. Microsoft Teams Templates help reduce this sprawl by keeping things more controlled, organized, and structured.

MS Teams administration is also simplified with Microsoft Teams Templates. With the help of templates, admins have a standard procedure to create a team and assign access to members associated with it. This will protect your data and give you a clear idea of the important stakeholders involved with the project.

Templating Options

Before you get started with Microsoft Templates, you will come across the following two options:

  1. To use Out of the Box (OOTB) Microsoft Templating Options
  2. To create bespoke or custom templates

Now the real task would be to identify the right option for your business. Depending upon the type of your business and the size of your team, you can either go for the simple and pre-built templates or choose to create your own.

ms teams lifecycle management - creation of teams with templates
Image: Template Options for Creating a team in MS Teams.

What are Out of the Box (OOTB) Microsoft Teams Templating Options?

With Out of the Box (OOTB) Microsoft Teams templates, you don’t have to think twice while picking the template as it’s simple and will suffice your basic requirements. To get organized, you could look for general templates or go for industry-specific templates such as the financial sector, healthcare, etc. These industry-specific templates will have a standard structure that’s commonly used within the respective industry. This will save you some time for research and help you get started quickly.

The downside of the OOTB Microsoft templates is that it has limited features and may only fulfill a small requirement of the business. Therefore, you would have to manually configure certain aspects of the template to expand its scope, which can be time-consuming. If your company has complex processes or you want to cover all the elements or departments of your business, you may want to consider creating a custom template that checks all the requirements for your organization.

Customizing Microsoft Teams Templates

Customization may seem overwhelming but don’t be afraid of it, as it will add value to your business by helping you track the progress and performance of your business accurately while saving time. Here are some advanced MS Teams Templating options that you may want to consider:

  • Customizing with Microsoft Graph:
    Microsoft Graph has a rest API that interacts with data in Microsoft 365 and can be used to create a user-specific experience. That means you can create a new virtual team and integrate or configure the team with different channels, tabs, and applications. Through this API, you can also build experiences around a user’s specific goals and support them to be productive. It also allows you to archive or delete a team when the project comes to fruition, giving you more control to plan and manage your projects to reduce clutter.
  • Customizing with SharePoint PnP:
    PnP is an open-source initiative that allows you to extract Microsoft Teams Templates in a similar manner to SharePoint Site templates. This option supports two types of templates, site templates, and tenant templates, and is suited for an organization that has SharePoint expertise and wants to integrate Microsoft Teams with their sites efficiently.
  • Customizing with Microsoft Power Automate:
    With this option, automation of repetitive work tasks in Microsoft Teams can be achieved easily. It will also help you create workflows and streamline the tasks or processes within your business. That means users will be easily able to fill forms to request their team, there will be a clear and defined workflow process for approvals, and depending upon the request, a series of actions can be triggered or performed. This entire process will help you save time, reduce bottlenecks, and ensure there is consistency while maintaining or improving productivity.

Are there any limitations to Microsoft Teams Templates?

For many organizations with basic Teams requirements, the Microsoft Teams Templates are a great solution, however, managing more complex business needs requires manual configuration of certain aspects of the template to expand its scope, which can be time-consuming. Some features are simply not supported by Microsoft Teams Templates, take a look at the detailed list below:

  1. Team membership settings (default minimum number of team owners and members). Lack of settings may lead to ownerless Teams or Teams that are owned by members who are no longer part of the organization.
  2. Third-party connectors (webhooks).
  3. Files and content. This is a major letdown of the Microsoft Teams Templates, as embedding specific documents and tools can significantly improve the adoption of Teams. On the contrary, not having documents and curated content as part of a template can lead to end-users filling up Teams created from a template with irrelevant, or incorrect content.
  4. Governance and lifecycle management policies. You cannot easily attach any governance, Group, and Team expiration, retention, and archiving policies to the out-of-the-box templates.

Microsoft Teams Templates with Orchestry

If your organization’s Template needs to go beyond the basic Microsoft Teams Templates capabilities, Orchestry can be the perfect solution for you. It provides a simplified templating experience with great flexibility and cost-effective customizations.

You have the power to create a standardized experience with Orchestry’s Pre-Built Workspace Templates with just a few clicks! Go beyond basic templating features and make use of capabilities like custom tabs, manage owners and members, implement naming policy, add custom metadata, and so much more with Orchestry.

Orchestry’s Microsoft Teams Workspace Templates have been built by MS Teams experts and SharePoint MVPs keeping in mind best practices to create an intuitive user experience and drive engagement. It will also help your business streamline the process of creating and requesting teams without prior IT knowledge, saving you time and money in the long run.

See Orchestry's Microsoft Teams and SharePoint project management template in action in our guided tour!

See Project Management Template in Action

In addition to that, you will have transparent Microsoft 365 governance and access to Workspace reporting and actionable insights to manage the lifecycle of each team.

We have put together a comprehensive blog on what types of templates are available with Orchestry, as well as the variety of customizations you can complete when creating your templates using Orchestry.

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