Using Shared Channels within an Organization

With the announcement that Shared Channels in Microsoft teams is now generally available, it’s worth considering how you can use this feature within your organization.  There are now three types of channels available within a Team:

  1. Standard Channel – Permissions set by the team, available to all team members
  2. Private Channel – Permissions set on the channel and accessible to a sub set of team members
  3. Shared Channel – Permissions set on the channel and available to team members and non team members

For a full comparison see my Teams Channel Types comparison article.

Whilst Shared Channels have had a lot of exposure for their use between organizations, you can also use them within a single organization to support cross-team working without the need for an extra Microsoft Teams team.

In this scenario, we are the owners of the Star Wars team.  In the same organization we have an Avengers team and the two teams want to work together on a joint project.  We are the team leader and owner of both teams, so can do all the steps ourself.

The Star Wars team already has several channels including a private channel.

Star Wars Team channels list with 3 standard channels and a private channel, the Jedi Council.

The Avengers team is also an established team with multiple channels.

Avengers team with 3 standard channels

Rather than create a new team for the collaboration, we create a new channel in the Star Wars Team

… menu expanded with Add channel command highlighted

The privacy for this channel is set to Shared and the whole Star Wars team is added to the channel.  If required, you could include only a subset of the team members, by unchecking the Share this channel with everyone on the team checkbox.

Create channel dialog with channel name StarWars n Avengers entered, Privacy of Shared selected and share this channel with everyone on the team option checked

Rather than the individuals from the Star Wars team the shared channel shows the Star Wars team as members of the channel.  This means that as people are added or removed from the Star Wars team, they are also added or removed from the shared channel.

Channel setting page on the members tab, showing current user as the owner and StarWars team listed as a member under the heading Teams, showing the team has 14 members. The number of members of the team is a link to the a list of the current members.

The members of the Star Wars team, can now use the channel from their team as with any other channel in the team.

Channel content on the Posts tab, showing an announcement style message welcoming members to the Mashup, stating the channel will be used to plan the new project.

To add the Avengers team to the channel, we choose Share with a team you own from the members page.  As we are also owners of the Avengers team, we have full permission to add the team.  If we were not the owner we would choose Share with team and initially invite the owner of the team for them to approve add in the team.

Share with people button expanded showing options to share with people, share with a team or share with a team you own.

We can now pick from the teams we own and select Done

Pick Team dialog box, showing Avengers team which has 5 members. Avengers team is not yet selected, so Done button is greyed out.

The confirmation that the other team has been added will display.

Great! Everyone on the Avengers team now has access to the channel.
Confirmation message

And we can now see both teams listed on the team members page

Channel setting page on the members tab, showing current user as the owner with both the StarWars and Avengers teams listed as a members. The Avengers Team now shows 10 members, illustrating that as team membership changes this is reflected in the shared channel.

Members of the Avengers team will not see the shared channel in the list of channels within their own team.

Avengers team list of channels including 3 original channels, plus the Star Wars n Avengers channel with the shared channel icon beside the channel name.

All the channel content is exactly the same across both teams and both teams can use the channel from within their team as any other channel.

Teams for Black Widow, showing only Avengers team with shared channel selected showing the same welcome announcement. There is now also a reply from Black Widow “On behalf of the Avengers team, looking forward to this project”. Avengers in this post is an @ mention so notifying the Avengers team of the post.

As we are members of both teams we see the shared channel in both teams.

List of channels for user in both teams showing the same shared channel, Star Wars n Avengers, listed in both teams.

Another way to share the channel is from the … menu next to the channel, rather than needing the access the channel management page first.

… menu for the shared channel expanded and Share channel option selected to bring up options to share the channel with people, with a team or with a team you own. These are the same options as from the Share channel button on the members tab of the channel settings page.

Published by sfennah

I am a freelance learning professional with over 22 years’ experience including holding 30+ Microsoft certifications and Microsoft Certified Trainer status since 2008.

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