Microsoft Teams has been quickly growning from a multifunctional communication platform to an essential tool for today’s modern workplace.

However, managing a Microsoft Teams environment for your entire organisation is far from an easy task. To ensure that you can prevent sprawl, keep internal data safe, and make everything work as efficiently as possible for your end users, some serious control measures are required. Also called, governance. It refers to the act or method of management, the code of conduct, and the supervision of the use of the application.

As such, governance will describe how Microsoft Teams must be used by the end users and will eventually lead to better user adoption and use of the application. Making a well-considered governance plan a key to success.

In this blog post I will describe what I find useful to include in a governance plan for Microsoft Teams. Ofcourse, you shouldn’t limit yourself to this list. What should be included depends on the needs of your organisation, but this list might give you a headstart.

Teams templates

Having templates is always a good idea. It makes sure your environment and data are well-structured and easily recognizable by end users.

Before drawing the lines, take into account that only the business itself can help you in defining the different types of Teams they need.

What should you describe in your templates?

  • The amount of owners
    How many owners do we need at least (for example do we require a back-up owner)?
  • Privacy
    Will the Teams based on this template be private or public accessible?
  • Naming convention
    Do we use pre- and suffixes?
  • Team creation
    Through which channel will this Team be requested?
  • Restrict creation
    Can anyone in the organisation create this type of Team, or only a specific department?
  • Dynamic grouping
    Is it possible to use dynamic grouping for access management, and if yes, which groups are to be used?
  • Expiration
    What is the expiration period for this type of Team?
    What happens with the Team/data after the expiration period (delete, archive…)?
  • External access
    Is external access (guests) allowed?
  • Recertification
    Do we require recertification, and by which interval?
    What will be the flow?
  • Approval flow
    Does the creation of this Team requires approval?
  • Teams settings
    How will Team settings be configured (for example “allow members to create channels”)?

Information policy

With Microsoft Teams being an essential tool in today’s workplace, it makes sense that it holds a lot of data. A lot of them being documents.

To make sure this data is governed correctly, that it is findable by the end users and last but not least complies with local regulations (for example GDPR), we need to make information policy a large topic in our governance plan.

Following topics should at least be thought upon.

  • Document life cycle
    What is the document life cycle, and how does it comply with the Teams expiration periods defined earlier?
  • Search
    How can end users search the system for information?
  • Versioning
    How should versioning be handled?
  • Naming convention
    Locating a file is more efficient if its name is meaningful and representative of its content. How will we name our documents? Do we forbid words/characters to be used?
  • Managed metadata
    Do we need additional metadata on our documents?
  • Document Templates
    Can we define document templates that should be used to standardize documents?
  • Security
    Do we need sensibility labels, and if yes how should they be configured? Do we need to comply with other regulations, for example GDPR?
  • Retention
    How will we archive documents?

Client access

Making Microsoft Teams available across devices means there are several considerations to include within the governance plan.

When users are accessing Microsoft Teams on a mobile device what security has been put in place if the device gets lost or stolen?

How will Microsoft Teams be deployed? Will it be installed as part of a policy and rolled out automatically? What impact will this have on the rollout of devices?

How will users, that don’t have access to the Microsoft Teams client, access Microsoft Teams and what impact might this have on the user experience?

Third party applications

Will you allow third party applications (bots, connectors, custom development…) in Microsoft Teams? Or will you only allow a selection, and which ones?

How can users request a new third party application to be added to Microsoft Teams? Do they require to create a business case? Who should approve this business case? How will additional license costs be handled?

Measuring success

Once Microsoft Teams is enrolled, it is important to benchmark and measure the overall success of the project. These measurements can also be used to identify what functionalities users might still struggle with, and to adapt user adoption strategies likewise.

These measurements include, but are not limited to:

  • Usage Activity
  • Device Usage
  • Number of Chats
  • Number of Channel Chats
  • Active Users
  • Number of calls
  • Number of meetings
  • Last activity date

User training, adoption and support

It should be clear for end users where and how they can get training in Microsoft Teams. Do we organise training sessions ad hoc? Where are the training materials stored? Do we have a knowledge base?

How will adoption be handled? Are we working with an ambassador-network? Who are they and what is their purpose? How do we contact them?

Additionally also describe how end users can get support.