Microsoft Teams Strategies: 3 How-tos on Curbing Microsoft Teams Sprawl



Microsoft Teams has addressed many challenges of a modern workspace. With the baked-in integration with other Microsoft products like Office, OneNote and SharePoint, switching between applications and emails is no longer required throughout a conversation.

The more ownership users is given over Microsoft Teams, the more successful the implementation is. However, it needs to be a controlled process, otherwise it can be a huge headache for your IT environment when the usage starts to scale up.



Firstly, why is Microsoft Teams Governance important?

Microsoft Teams governance is about efficiency, data security and compliance standards. Failure in Microsoft Teams governance can make your Microsoft Teams environment a poorly organized digital wasteland and lead to teams sprawl which might backfire on your organizational productivity:

  • Complicated navigation: Users will stop using Microsoft Teams when their navigation through countless teams becomes increasingly challenging

  • Content overload: Files and data are scattered across an extensive number of teams around similar topics making it difficult to locate the right documents

  • Complex administrative work: The more new teams are created, the harder for IT team to manage all of them efficiently

To make sure Microsoft Teams brings your organization positive impacts instead of adverse ones, proper governance best practices have to be put in place so the IT team can take full control of how this tool being used with rules and manage this digital workplace without heavy administrative work.



3 How-tos on Preventing Microsoft Teams Sprawl


How to control users creating a team?


Proliferation of teams results in inefficient navigation and difficulty in managing security for all those empty, duplicated and idled SharePoint sites and data on your back end.

Here are 3 options to control who can create teams:

  1. Manually check all teams created by everyone: Manually manage all created teams to make sure they abide by company policies and governance best practices.

  2. Completely remove users' ability to create teams: Require users to submit request for getting IT team to create teams for them after approval via tools like emails or Approvals app. However, a drawback for this solution is users might just hop off to use other applications like WhatsApp or Outlook if they cannot create a team straight away when they need.

  3. Allow users to create teams in a controlled manner: Through third-party app, enable users to create teams based on their roles and duties with predetermined templates.

How to ensure users use clear and concise names for teams and channels?

When users are allowed to create teams with their own naming conventions, you will definitely see a heap of teams created with "creative", re-used and confusing names which not only hinder the user experience but also make IT team struggled to maintain teams lifecycles as they cannot locate the right teams.



Here are 3 options to maintain a structured digital workplace with a standardized naming scheme:

  1. Educate users with guidelines to follow: Define rules based on locations, departments, projects and campaigns. However, effectiveness of this method is dependent on whether users strictly follow your guidelines and IT team might need to check manually to identify inconsistency.

  2. Define blocked word lists and prefix-suffix naming policy: Create Office 365 group naming policy with Azure Active Directory Premium Plan 1. When group naming policy is configured, the policy will be applied across workloads including Microsoft Teams. Yet prefix-suffix naming convention based on user profiles might not be applicable for some business contexts like cross-department collaborations.

  3. Construct a naming convention policy suitable for different business scenarios: Set up specific tagging & naming structure with automatic number assignment with third-part solution for better discoverability and assured uniqueness.


How to make sure inactive groups will not pile up?

As projects end, product experimentations complete, and campaigns finish, many teams fall out of use and accumulate as a burden on tenant resources.



Here are 3 options to manage the teams end-of-life:

  1. Manually delete teams that are obviously no longer needed: Team owners can clean up teams that are easy to be identified when they are over like when a project comes to an end.

  2. Configure expiration policy in Azure Active Directory: Set up time-based or activity-based expiration policies for Office 365 groups to automatically clean up abandoned Teams. To achieve this, either team owners have to manually renew a team before it being deleted on its expiration date, or enable auto-renewal, which leverages user actions across SharePoint, Outlook or Teams to trigger automatic renewal before it expires.

  3. Define and track teams expiration: Set expiration dates and define criteria of inactive status for all teams with third-party app, which enables automatic detection of expired and inactive teams with full reports showing all inactive teams, expired teams, teams with missing owners, etc.

Digital Workplace App for Curbing Teams Sprawl

Striking the right balance between user needs and governance complying with rules and policies requires quite a great deal of time without the help of a third-party app.

Digital Workplace app like Powell Teams offers templates with predefined framework and rules to help establish strong governance policies without impacting user experience:

  • Provisioning & Approval workflow

  • Tagging & Naming convention

  • Ownership & Membership

  • Guest access & Classification

  • Expiration & Archiving

In our next article about Microsoft Teams Governance, we will talk more about the security side of adopting this collaborative environment:

  • How to control users granting external guests rights to join Teams?

  • How to manage third-party apps?

  • How to minimize shadow IT with Microsoft Teams?

Talk to our digital workplace specialists to learn more about Microsoft Teams and its governance.


 

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