Thoughts on teams governance

Date:Wednesday, Nov 6, 2019
Author: Paul Maggs
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Tags: Microsoft Teams
Categories: Governance Tips

Microsoft greatly improved the speed to which people can quickly and easily create collaboration spaces using teams. Microsoft’s default stance is that the ability to create these spaces should be democratised as it helps assemble groups of people to get their work completed at a quick pace. There’s been much discussion surrounding how to best control and govern how teams are created to ensure consistency and manageability across an organisation.

What’s your stance?

There’s two sides to this argument, one for allowing anyone the ability to create a team, and those who prefer a controlled approach. Both are valid, and there are many factors that contribute to the overall strategy of why a particular method is selected over the other. For some organisations, the horse has already bolted and they need to review the teams already deployed, and if required, perform a remediation process to bring these in line with an agreed governance policy. The approach taken for how a governance policy is rolled out to an organisation include many factors such as, but not limited to:

  • Organisation size. Consider an organisation containing 100,000+ employees, they’re still restricted by the hard limitation of 500,000 teams per Office 365 tenant, each with a maximum of 5,000 members
  • The currently maturity level of how people understand the creation and use of a team
  • Existing standards used in other areas such as naming conventions
  • Office 365 licensing used to enable group naming standards and lock down group creation

There may also be functionalities that exist within a team however are only surfaced when viewing the file structures via SharePoint, including retention and sensitivity labels, and therefore ensuring additional complexities when considering the suitability of teams, and usability via training.

It’s understandable that many IT departments are concerned by the creation of teams within their organisation. Much of the concern is due to how many Office 365 services are enabled for each team and therefore this adds to the level of management and support required. You can find more details on the architecture here, and as you can see there is a lot going on under the Office 365 hood -

Things to consider

If you’re not going to lock down team creation, and I personally prefer a teams governance model allowing people to create teams to unlock collaboration and creativity, there’s several key areas that assist with this methodology. This means team creation isn’t restricted to any group of people, therefore there needs to be serious consideration to defining policies and enabling people to learn and understand what this means:

  • Define a governance policy document staff understand: Define and document your governance policy in simple language people understand. How do you want people to name a team? How many owners should be added? What considerations are required when adding external guests? These are only some of the things you’ll need to think about.

  • Training and adoption: It’s all pointless if people don’t understand why and how they’re using teams. It’s not enough to send people to training sessions without having follow up reinforcement of what they have learnt. Make sure once the training is finished you continue to address further questions and continue to fill the gaps so that people feel supported and are using teams in the correct manner.

  • 3rd party tools: Microsoft does provide basic tools to monitor teams usage, however they are light on the providing detailed reports. Consider 3rd party tools that could assist your teams journey. Modality Systems have a range of products to assist in this space, including controlled team creation that adheres to your governance policy and monitoring of creation and usage -

There’s many different ways you can look at teams governance and how it’s implemented. Each organisation will be unique and must consider what’s the best approach for them.