What's better... A Private Channel or a Private Team?

Members only for private channel vs private team

Create a new Team or just a Private Channel

Comparison of private team vs private channel

Private Channel vs Team is a comparison worth looking at when creating an effective Teams environment.

Should you create a new Team or just a private channel? This is a common question when considering how to set up the perfect Microsoft Teams environment for our organization.

When I’m consulting on Teams, I hear this question a lot. The answer can make a big difference in how well the Teams environment will work for your organization.

When you create a team in Microsoft Teams, you have a couple of choices. You can make it a public team, visible to everyone in your organization, or you can opt for a private team. With a private team, you control who gets access and who becomes a member. Similarly, when you make a channel within that team, you can also choose specific members if you decide to make it a private channel. But, what sets these options apart?

Flexibility of a Private Team or Private Channel

One of the fundamental differences between choosing a private team or a private channel is the flexibility that you will have in that environment. With a private Team, you will see much more flexibility than a private Channel. Let’s take a look at the differences here.

Flexibility in Teams

When you create a private team you have a lot of flexibility.

You can:

  • choose who the members of the Team will be,
  • create multiple channels within the Team,
  • create different places (file areas) for storing information (when you use multiple channels),
  • communicating or collaborating on a variety of topics (with those multiple channels),
  • add apps to the Team and the channels.

With apps being available to all the channels of your Team, team members can do more than just chat and share files. You can add apps that help with task management, planning, gathering information and listing information easily.

You could almost say that with creating a private Team the skies the limit!

Provided your IT department has given you the necessary access and permissions.

Flexibility in a Private Channel

When you create a private channel within an existing team the flexibility is much more limited.

Because you are in a channel you cannot create any sub channels from within it. So you really only have one place to store your files unless you choose to create document libraries.

You also only have one place to chat within the posts area of that Channel . So if you did have more than one topic to discuss let’s hope that the chats are organized together in the same thread so that they are easy to find.

As far as adding apps on to the channel that certainly is an option you have but you are limited to which apps you can add in. For instance if you go to add a tab at the top of your channel one of the apps that are that is not available to you is task by planner. I mentioned this application because working together with a team can lend itself to sharing tasks and this application is perfect for that.

< —— Watch this video

Decide Wisely: Private Channel vs. Team

Unsure whether to use a Private Channel vs Team? What does a Private Channel include or exclude? In this video, we’ll break it down for you.

Choosing Between Private Channels and Private Teams in Microsoft Teams: Finding the Right Balance

Private Channels

Here are some reasons why you might choose to add a Private Channel to a Team.
  • You can control who sees the Channel discussions and files. This is important because the entire Team should not have access to this information.
  • The Channel is still a part of the main Team, so it is easy for members to navigate to other areas.
  • You can easily and confidentially collaborate on projects with the smaller set of Team members that are a part of this Private Channel.
  • The conversations in this Private Channel are still part of the overall Team.
  • You have privacy for your information, without having to create a whole new Team. The membership of this Channel is under your control.

Private Teams

Here are some reasons why you might choose to add a new Team rather than a Private Channel.
  • You have a bigger space for all kinds of projects.
  • Everything is completely separate (within a Team), so there is more privacy available.
  • You have a whole new workspace with its own members and rules.
  • You have more room to divide up all the information needed for big projects.
  • You can incorporate as many apps as you would like into that Team, such as Tasks by Planner or Microsoft Forms.
Example Private Channels and example Teams

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Adding another Team

Within the Teams application, the whole idea is to create teams for the different groups of people that need to get together to share information and collaborate.

So why is it that people are scared of adding another team?
Within Microsoft Teams, you can add lots of channels within existing teams, in fact, you can have up to 250 channels but you have to ask if that is the best layout for everyone involved.

Could it be that because we’re accustomed to making folders and subfolders and subfolders of subfolders, that adding another channel to an already lengthy Team channel list, seems like an easy solution?

Think of the Teams as “The Who” and the Channel is “the What”. The Team is “Who” is getting together to share information and the Channel is “what” information they are sharing.

The next time you’re about to create a private channel you want to ask yourself if this would be better served as a private Team?

When you have a different group of people that need to get together to share information about a different topic or topics a Team might be the better place.

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