Originally published on April 18, 2017
Team spaces: collaborative workspaces designed to allow teams to share documents, libraries, schedules, and files; conduct meetings, calls, surveys, and polls; and store meeting minutes, discussions, reports, and plans
Work teams, project teams, and communities all require tools that support collaboration. A team space is a site that enables team members to post and retrieve files, share information, and carry out group activities. If teams don’t have such a tool, they are faced with the need to send more email to one another, difficulty in locating required documents, and the possibility of losing access to critical information when one of the team members is unavailable or leaves the organization.
Using file shares, shared drives, and other ad hoc storage mechanisms is an unreliable way to collaborate. Providing a standard, readily-accessible, predictable, and backed-up environment enables effective and enduring collaboration to occur.
Following are guidelines for offering, creating, and using team spaces.
- Make it fast and easy to create a team space using a self-service intranet site. Provide standard templates for work teams, project teams, and communities to use when creating new team spaces. These templates can provide a consistent look and feel, useful links, and required documents.
- Establish and communicate rules for allowable file types, backup frequency, and storage quotas. Regularly communicate to users about inactive team spaces, storage usage, and maintenance schedules.
- Define the team members and provide access for each of them. Define at least two administrators for each team space.
- Provide a team roster page where members can post their photos, add links to personal sites, and describe their roles.
- Establish rules that all files will be shared by posting to the team space, not by sending as email attachments. Remind new users about how to do this.
- Set up recurring meetings in the team space so that for each meeting, there is a web page with the agenda, attendees, action items, and shared documents. Allow users to add their names to the attendee list.
- Allow users to subscribe to alerts to be notified when new documents are posted to the team space or when other changes are made.
- Use polls to conduct surveys, take votes, and made decisions.
- Discourage team collaboration from taking place outside the team space. For example, project team members should not maintain any files on other sites.
- Create a process for deciding on which files are kept in the team space, posted to reusable document repositories, archived, and deleted. Ensure that the process is followed.
Team Space Platforms
- Chatter by Salesforce
- Confluence by Atlassian
- Dropbox Business
- G Suite by Google Cloud
- HCL Connections Suite
- Intranet Connections
- Jive by Aurea
- Liferay DXP
- SAP Jam Collaboration
- SharePoint by Microsoft
- Spark by Cisco
- Tibbr by TIBCO
- Workplace by Facebook
There are also other platforms. Of all the team collaboration platforms, SharePoint is the most widely used.
Free Team Space/Web Site Platforms on the Internet
- Google Sites — Example (and Drive, Docs, Calendar, Hangouts)
- Groups.io — Example
- Collaboration Platforms
- CMS Wire
- Real Story Group
- Essential SharePoint — Sue Hanley
- Michael Sampson
- 6 SharePoint Alternatives to Put on Your Shortlist by Aleks Peterson
- 12 Great Alternatives To SharePoint by Andrew Foley