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365 in 5 – Should Teams have Private Channels? With Matt Wade

Note: This is part of a series of podcasts called 365 in 5. Learn more and check out the rest here.

Recently Matt Wade, Office 365 MVP, and I had a chance to chat about the ongoing debate around if Microsoft Teams should have private channels or not. We also talked a bit about the latest features coming to jumpto365, including the Periodic Table of Office 365.

If you’d just like to listen, jump to the bottom and hit play.

Our conversation on this topic started on Twitter:

Feel free to dive in to that Twitter thread, but it got pretty heated, and Matt had to use the #UnpopularOpinion hashtag a few more times to put it lightly.

So Matt and I got together and hashed it out. Matt’s perspective, that he shared in our podcast below, is that the vision he sees for Teams is simplicity and ease of use. His fear is that by introducing channel level permissions, we could find ourselves in the very same situation that causes some users to fear SharePoint: “the complexity of object level permissions.” He also notes that many of those who are requesting this are coming at it from a SharePoint mindset.

Matt’s answer to “I want a private channel” is: Just create a different Team, it’s easy!

I can’t argue with Matt there, but my counterpoints to that are:

  1. What about situations where a Team is created for a department, and the leaders/managers of said department want a place for private conversations?
  2. Won’t creating new Teams instead of private channels just cause more Teams for users to deal with?

Matt’s answer: The risk associated with said leaders accidentally posting in the wrong channel is high. And to be honest, I’ve seen that happen with folder/library level permissions in SharePoint, so I get it.

Is there a clean answer to this question? I don’t think so. Will Microsoft inevitably allow for private channels? Likely yes.

My guidance coming out of this chat: Use private channels with caution!

Matt and I also talked about the evolution of the Periodic Table of Office 365, and some great new features that are coming soon, including the ability to customize the table to fit your own needs and personalized views based on your assigned licensing.

Take a listen below to hear it yourself, and let me know what you think in the comments!

If you don’t follow Matt yet on Twitter, make sure to do so to keep up with the latest around Microsoft Teams and Office 365!


  1. What’s more taxing on a user – navigating private channels (that are supposedly invisible to the uninvited) or navigating teams they are not invited to (and are invisible)?

    The keep it simple argument doesn’t fly.

    Make private channels optional of course and/or only allow team owners to create private channels.

    Not sure why this is so difficult.

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