Team of business people working together at a task.

Organize & Simplify: Teams & Channels In Microsoft Teams – Tech Tip for January 5, 2021


Happy 2021 everyone! The new year is always a great time for starting fresh and getting organized. We thought we would focus January’s Tech Tips on ways to organize and simplify your work using features and apps you probably already have access to through Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams.

To start off, here are some useful tips on when to create a Team in Microsoft Teams versus a Channel and understanding how many Channels is too many.

When to Create a Team

A Team should be built when you have a group of people doing a task together, sharing a responsibility, and/or working on something that has some limitations around who can view or edit the information. For example, shared tasks could be Global Sales Conference 2021 or XYZ Product Development. Shared responsibilities could be Product Marketing or Human Resources. In any of these examples, when a Team is created access to the information within the Team may be limited to its members.

When to Create a Channel

Channels are the method by which you can subdivide tasks that the greater Team is doing into organized segments. When a Team is created, a General Channel is automatically created as well. However, it is a good idea to consider creating additional Channels to sub-divide and organize work further.
Looking at our examples from above, here are some Channels that might make sense for each Team:

  • Team: Global Sales Conference 2021
    • Channel: General
    • Channel: Speakers
    • Channel: Logistics
    • Channel: Event Marketing
    • Channel Registration
  • Team: XYZ Product Development
    • Channel: General
    • Channel: Research
    • Channel: Design
    • Channel: Testing
  • Team: Product Marketing
    • Channel: General
    • Channel: Messaging Framework
    • Channel: Branding
    • Channel: Social Media
    • Channel: Advertising
  • Team: Human Resources
    • Channel: General
    • Channel: Policies
    • Channel: Recruiting
    • Channel: Reviews
    • Channel: Planning

How Many Channels is Too Many?

In the examples, above the number of Channels per Team is limited. This brings us to our final point: too many Channels (like too many folders) becomes tough to navigate. In most cases, a good rule of thumb to follow is 7 plus or minus 2. This is based on psychological research about how much a person can hold in working memory at one time. This is a principle that is applied in the design of websites and apps. Research aside, having to scroll through a long list of Channels within a Team to determine where to go can be pretty confusing. Keeping the number of Channels in the range of 5 to 9 makes a lot of sense.

Need help getting started with Teams or re-organizing what you already have? Contact TechWise Group.

Tags: