The perpetual argument is really one of consistency. If every way of working is supported through Teams, then there is less hopping about between applications, less training, and in theory a more intuitive modus operandi.
Certainly, Microsoft would likely recommend this approach – and it’s hard to argue with the benefits. However, this approach isn’t without its drawbacks.
Firstly, nobody wants to be a member of too many Teams. This isn’t obvious when you first use the application. You can quickly navigate across the first few Teams you are a member of, finding content, noticing useful posts and, well, collaborating with colleagues. However, a few months down the line, and I have noticed many user start to experience something I call ‘Teams saturation’ – the point in time when you realise that you are now a member of so many Teams that unless you are actually @ mentioned, you simply don’t see all of the conversations (and don’t have time to spend all day scanning for updates).
I’m not sure when the point of Teams saturation exists. I’m sure it is different for everyone. It crept up on me when I reached around 20 Teams, and almost like crossing an event horizon, I didn’t see it coming until I’d crossed the saturation point. One of the major problems I see with having everything as a Team, is quite simply that many will reach that saturation point a lot faster.
Microsoft seem to be well aware of the saturation point phenomenon, building functionality such as ‘hidden team’ (which automatically hides your less used Teams), to help try to reduce the clutter. I personally would like to see other features added to make it easier to find the content you are looking for. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a filter in Teams to allow you only see, say those Teams that have been marked as being, say, Projects?
Microsoft Teams has really been designed to optimise each Team for collaboration with a (relatively) small group. While Teams can be used for sharing information with large communities, this really isn’t their forte. Not only is there no concept of ‘read-only’ Teams – anyone who is in a Team can modify that Team’s content – but there as we’ve discussed above, granting people membership of teams as a means to share content actively tends to increase the probability of Teams saturation.
As such, most Teams that I’ve seen, especially those seen in larger organisations tend to be Private, with a limited number of members. The larger the organisation, the less useful Org-wide and Public Teams become. Beyond a few hundred staff and almost all Teams tend to be Private (with the exception of social groups and other casual communities, where membership can be opt-in).
What this really means is that most Teams (especially Private Teams) tend to acta as information silos. Content is seen by members but hidden from everyone else. One of the major issues with everything becoming a Team, is that it leads to a much larger amount of your content being held in silos. Anyone in Information Management knows what this leads to – content duplication, multiple versions of the truth, reducing trust in the accuracy of content, re-invention of the wheel etc.
Let’s imagine for a second that you are running a project to repair a motorway bridge. You fix the damage and document the way that the issue has been repaired. Where is it most useful for your project files to exist? In the context of the project, or should they instead be moved together with all of the other content relating to bridge? When answering this question, put yourself in the shoes of the next contractor who comes along to fix that same bridge in a few years’ time.