We use MS Teams for team communications, which has become quite essential since we work from home several days a week and some of our team members are full remote (other city).

We extensively use chat for many things, such as asking questions or just general banter. But sometimes I find there are too many conversations going on in the same chat, and people's questions can get ignored and go unanswered. One way we've tried of mitigating this is to have multiple chats open with different groups of people, or different topics. For example, we'll generally have one chat for the whole team. Then there will be a chat for all developers, a chat for developers and testers, and another chat for all technical people (some who aren't developers or testers). Additionally we have other chats for social talk related to specific interests.

However I find this isn't enough. Two people will come with a question to the same chat group, and either one will get ignored, or two conversations will happen spontaneously. Sometimes I have a question to ask, but I'm afraid to ask as someone else just asked a question and I don't want to steal their thunder. But then, being chat, it may take quite some time for that person to get the reply they need. It's not practical for me to keep my question to myself for all that time.

So I'm wondering, does anyone have a solution to this problem? Is there a way we can have a chat per question, so that chats don't get bogged down with too many topics? I was thinking of possibly having multiple chats per group (say a 1-3) and then people could round-robin with their questions. But this might require a bit of work getting everyone on board.

So my question ultimately is, how can we effectively communicate as a team using chat about multiple questions and topics in a way that keeps each question or topic visible and not cluttered with other question/topic conversation?

I hope I've worded my question right. If you think I've got the question wrong, please feel free to correct or clarify.


  • If you over complicate rules for using chat people might stop using it. I think you need to accept that chat would not solve all the problems and it is better to develop routines on what should every person in every team should follow when something arise. Let's say some support agent got tough question from the client they need to get hold of specific person (usually their supervisor) who might know the answer. If supervisor does not have answer now supervisor need to follow their routine to get the answer, etc. Similar rules should be for all departments, etc.
    – AlexanderM
    Oct 23, 2020 at 0:15
  • Not sure this is really answerable as you combine cultural / organisational changes within teams (the people) with questions on working with Teams (the tool). We're not a tech support site and if the question is on how to work best with a particular tool it's probably out of scope. Incentivising collaboration is more on-topic here though I'm a bit puzzled by how a "round-robin" question round would improve anything. And is what you're describing really a problem? More often people don't answer questions when they don't know the answer, not because a shiny new question came in.
    – Lilienthal
    Oct 23, 2020 at 6:36
  • I don't see the problem, if a question isn't being answered it's not being directed properly or people don't know the answer. Nothing to do with chat interference, exactly the same thing happens if you all share an office.
    – Kilisi
    Oct 23, 2020 at 6:43
  • 1
    fwiw, Slack has an option 'reply' next to each message, which allows you to make additional threads inside channels, while the main channels still shows everything in chronological order. Works wonderfully, but I don't know if Teams can do the same.
    – Erik
    Oct 23, 2020 at 9:42

1 Answer 1


chat about multiple questions and topics in a way that keeps each question or topic visible and not cluttered with other question/topic conversation?

You shouldn't. It's not what chats for. It doesn't work in an office if everyone is talking randomly to everyone else, so it won't work in chat.

What you can do is use your chat for meetings with a chair controlling everything. But there are many tried and tested ways without going to that sort of disruptive extreme.

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