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Automate Teams Set-Up for Project Collaboration

By Parita Kanevskiy posted 05-23-2022 12:35


By: Parita Kanevskiy - Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP, Dawn Sheridan - Thompson Coburn LLP and Cindy Foellmer - Sidley Austin LLP

Templates are the foundation of so many things within our firms.  Repeatable items deserve a template or automation, when possible.  With Microsoft Teams, you can have templates and automation!   Because Teams is built on SharePoint online, we can take advantage of its capabilities to create a sustainable template.  Once the lists are created, add them as tabs in your Teams site for easy access.

Review and Discuss Current State

Take some time to review your current state.  What do you like about your current processes? What can be improved?  By reviewing the current state, you can determine what needs to be implemented and what should be tweaked in your future Teams sites.

Here are some questions to get you started:



Future State

Are you using consistent taxonomy across your projects?

Change log vs. Change Control

Security review vs. Security Assessment

Decide how you will refer to and define your projects to maintain consistency (e.g., RAID Log – Risks, Actions, Issues, Decisions)

What types of projects are in your portfolio?

What project methodologies are leveraged for the type of projects?

If there are mostly infrastructure projects in your portfolio, your templates may lean more towards Waterfall.  Software development lends itself to Agile or Hybrid.

Determine what is relevant based on the methods you agree to follow.  If Hybrid approach, you may institute Lessons Learned at the end of a phase, since sprints may not be utilized throughout.

Identify the tools and templates used in each method (e.g., Project for the Web for Waterfall; Planner for Agile)

What artifacts are needed for every project?

(e.g., Charter, Security Review, RAID Log, Requirements, Change log, Defect Tracking)

Does a small project require a charter?  Or, is a “What, When, Why” statement appropriate?

Understand how much project management is needed based on the complexity and type of project.

Map Out Future State

Once you have analyzed the current state, map out your future state.  How do you want each project artifact to look to meet the needs of the majority of your projects?  Don’t stress!  Because we are continuously improving ourselves and our processes, these templates can be updated to meet the evolving needs of your team and project.

Here are some questions to get you started:


  1. What lists do you need (e.g., RAID logs, Change logs, Defect tracker, Lessons Learned)?
  2. What standard columns should be incorporated?

Don’t worry; it doesn’t have to be perfect from the start.  The Project Manager or the team can add or update the columns based on the project need. However, it helps to identify the “must have” fields across all projects.

Examples of RAID log and Lessons learned

   3.  Which columns will you want to report on? These columns should utilize drop-downs (i.e., pick lists) to maintain consistency. What should the                    options be?  Be mindful of the end result and the reporting that you may need to present to the team and executives. 


  1. Do you want a shared OneNote notebook (always Yes!)? We highly recommend this tool for project documentation like meeting notes and storing key emails everyone needs to refer to.
  2. What sections do you want to have in your default notebook (e.g., Meeting Notes, Correspondence, Research, and Data Dictionary)? We used our project methodology as a guide to structure and standardize our OneNote sections.

As a result of this exercise, we added new templates like a Roll-out Communication Plan to track the different types of communication planned for the project and their status.

Create: “Template” Site in SharePoint 

Now that you and your team have decided on the project artifact template(s) details, next create a “PMO Template” SharePoint site. In order to create the template, you will either need to be somewhat SharePoint proficient, engage someone in your Firm that is proficient, or outsource to a vendor.  Our PMO Template site:

Execution: Create a Team site based off the PMO template

Your SharePoint or Teams Administrator can leverage the template to add it to new “Teams” requests for projects. Refer to the following Microsoft pages:

Apply and customize SharePoint site templates

Create teams quickly with Templates in Microsoft Teams

Now, every new Teams site created for a project is consistent making navigation of the site easy for our project team members and end users. Streamlining this allows the Project Managers to focus on getting the initiative started, efficiency gained!

Voila!  Now, we have the core tools needed to begin the project:

Thank goodness for Automation!


1 comment



05-23-2022 12:41

Other parts to this series:

Boost Project Engagement & Productivity By Leveraging MS Teams

Tips and Tricks Using MS Teams for Project Collaboration