Take control of Microsoft Teams

03-05-2021 The use of Microsoft Teams has exploded this past year with many working from home, and with it the amount of teams in many organizations. But how can you maintain an overview and ensure collaboration?

What is Governance?

Governance is the term for the rules, policies and processes by which an organization is governed and works. We can narrow it down into 3 levels of governance:

  • Organizational level: Management framework
  • System level: Technical settings
  • Person level: Human behavior

At the organizational level, it is about principles. Do you have a trusting organization with freedom under responsibility, or a managed organization with clearly defined policies and procedures? The system level covers the technical settings you can make to ensure how employees use their digital tools. The person level is the human behavior and the organizational culture that exists between employees.

Depending on governance policies, the pendulum can swing from in control to out of control. In the middle we have organizations with management, but where anything can happen.

For example, we have worked with schools where Microsoft Teams has become freely available and users have created teams left and right, like every time they have to write a new assignment. The school has since been confused about when they could clean up the many teams. When the projects were completed? When the students graduated? The overview is lost and the schools are suddenly faced with hundreds of teams that no one manages.

At the other end of the scale, we have seen organizations where only 1 person could approve the creation of new teams and their adaptations. Therefore, all requests for new creations and additions of tabs like Planner had to go through this person. This can easily be called a bottleneck and an example of too much control.

It is between these two examples that we find the golden median. Control should be easily accessible and be a help, not an obstacle.

Teams governance out of the box

Microsoft Teams already has several built-in governance tools. Among other things, the ability to control guest access, and limited ability for team templates. In addition, there are a few default settings in Teams that you can use to define what members of a team may do. However, these are settings that can be defined for each individual team, which cannot be controlled centrally.

IntraActive Governance

Our governance tool, IntraActive Governance, acts as an app in Microsoft Teams, containing a form and a provisioning engine for creating teams. At the touch of a button, you are guided step by step through the creation of a new team. You can choose from fixed templates that are set up based on different policies. This can be in the form of naming conventions, metadata, approval flow, etc. It provides the opportunity to create teams for use in project work, for departments, for social activities and whatever is needed in that organization. That way, the team is ready for use the second after creation, where one could otherwise spend lotsof time adding tabs and setting up policies manually.

With our product you get an integration to a learning system with available courses in the use of Microsoft Teams. They can equip users to collaborate in teams and to hold professional and efficient online meetings.

Good governance policies

Whether you use Microsoft Teams out of the box or a product like IntraActive Governance, it is a good idea to define which governance policies should apply in your organization. Here are 5 things you should always consider when it comes to using Microsoft Teams:

  1. Ownership: Should all teams have an owner? We actually recommend 2 owners as it is a security risk if one goes on leave, resigns or the like. There is no Microsoft 365 option for ownership, as there is in IntraActive Governance, but you can always set up a "soft policy" about what it means to own a team.
  2. Life cycle: When is a team dead? Should it be archived after use, or even deleted? With IntraActive Governance, you can manage a team's life cycle from cradle to grave, with different policies for different templates. If you do not have IntraActive Governance, the Azure Group Expiration Policy may help, but it requires a license.
  3. Naming Convention: The more teams that are created, the more different naming conventions are formed. It can be a good idea to take control of naming to avoid teams that sound alike and confuse users. Azure Naming Convention can help here, and so can IntraActive Governance.
  4. Guest access: With the option of external access in teams, it is important to answer the following questions for the organization: May we invite external guests into our teams? What are the guests allowed to do? With IntraActive Governance, the answers to these questions can be automated upon team creation.
  5. Microsoft Team Settings: Finally, some general governance questions apply: Where can we store files? What apps can users use? Here the Microsoft Teams administrator contains several settings that apply to everyone.

Microsoft Teams Governance: