Who Should Be Able to Create Microsoft Teams?

Post Date: 04/16/2020
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Why have Teams? In fact, why is having a modern workplace important in the first place? The most common answers to these questions are that organizations are trying to keep their workforces happy, provide efficient ways of collaborating, and make their company as attractive a place to work as possible.

Even beyond that, Teams makes it easy to save time by cutting down on processes like context switching and the number of applications/solutions employees need to navigate. The goal is to keep employees within the Microsoft Teams platform so they can do a lot of their common collaboration calls of sharing files and access to the applications they need.

However, the challenge comes in maintaining a positive user experience when creating Teams and getting users the assets/apps/resources they need without overwhelming them. It’s easy to say “Hey, everyone should use Teams” and not account for the management issues that might follow. Teams creation doesn’t equal adoption.

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Team Adoption vs. Creation

Microsoft Teams adoption is when users have a Team and see the value in it, use it, and recognize the benefits of the time saved by leveraging the application to streamline processes. Whether that’s accounting, taking care of facilities, manufacturing, or firstline work, all are examples of true adoption.

When it comes to creation, it’s all about business need. One the one hand, Microsoft has designed Teams with the mantra of “Who knows best about what people need than those needing it? Why make it difficult for what person?”

On the other hand, we’ve seen time and again that if we just let users create endlessly without any governance, sometimes people will over-provision or be confused with the need to create duplicates, redundancies, or anything else that’s inappropriate.

Thus, there’s a delicate balance that a lot of organizations are faced with. They’re typically stuck between two approaches:

  1. Enabling self-service provisioning and allowing users to create when they need to, or
  2. Disabling self-service provisioning in favor of a more managed approach. This would involve having users fill out a form, explain why they need a Team to collaborate, and then have IT provision it for them based on that need.

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Which is Right for Your Organization?

Every organization’s culture is different. If your organization has a culture where adoption of new technology is welcomed and you have champions and/or stakeholders who are driven to communicate the value of Microsoft Teams throughout the organization, then that could create a lot of excitement. In that case, allowing users to self-create could be a good thing.

However, it can also be an issue if organizations don’t have the proper ways to govern what’s being created. Users can over-use creation tools, and that can gradually lead to other issues around appropriateness. If users are collaborating and sharing information without the proper controls in place, that could be bad for the organization.

In the end, there’s not a silver-bullet choice here; the key is to cater to how your employees work best and how they feel.

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Can There Really Be Too Many Teams?

Not necessarily; it’s more about if the Teams are being used the way they were meant to be used. The only perspective from which the number of Teams created might become an issue is from the IT side of things. Over time, having too many Teams could present both retention challenges and strains on governance.

Many organizations err on the side of keeping their Team counts down for this reason. That said, if there are a lot of Teams and they’re being used and are providing value for the business, having a large number is never looked at as a bad thing.

Signs You Have to Start Looking at Governance

It’s important to keep track of lifecycle management. Typically, something gets created, it lives for a certain amount of time, and then at some point it has a retirement state and gets archived. The same thing applies to our collaboration workspaces.

First, there’s creation when you either allow the user to create the workspace or ask them to fill out a form and create it yourself.

We then monitor it throughout its lifecycle. We see how it’s been used, who’s posting conversations, who’s chatting, who’s sharing files, who’s accessing files, etc.

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Next, we evaluate and put policies in place to monitor if the group that originally wanted to use a Team is still chatting, posting, and sharing content 30, 60, or 90 days down the line. If not, it might be wise to reevaluate if they really need that collaboration space. If it was project-based and that project ended, there might not be a need for it any longer.

The final phase is retirement. How long do you keep the content? What is the content? Was it sensitive? Was it proprietary? If so, you might have to keep it around for a certain amount of time.

With that look at the typical process that admins utilize when administering governance in a Team workspace, we’ve come to the end of our article. Have more questions around Team creation governance? Drop them in the comments below!

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Funtrol is a Solutions Engineering Manager for AvePoint.

View all posts by Funtrol R.
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