Guidelines for Avoiding Microsoft "Teams Sprawl"

Is the initial sense of wonderment that Microsoft had introduced precisely the right sort of tool at precisely the right time, given way to a feeling that it is starting to overwhelm your staff? Is your organisation experiencing "Teams sprawl"?

The author of this page: Conall O'Kane
Conall O'Kane, Modern Workplace Team Lead Sep 23, 2021

Don't worry; you are not alone.

Microsoft Teams exploded into the business world’s consciousness at the start of Covid-19 when everyone was forced to work from home and it has been a godsend to all of us in up-levelling communication and collaboration.

It is an incredibly rich and flexible platform that will continue to grow in importance as organisations move to a new phase of hybrid working, with staff moving fluidly between home, the office and the road.

A re-set is required, however, on governance and best practice to get the best out of Teams and eliminate the “Teams sprawl”. A phenomenon where there are too many Teams groups and Channels set up, duplication and confusion that brings too much “noise” for individuals and their colleagues.

To reduce this "noise" and maximise the effectiveness of Teams, we recommend that organisations follow some simple rules and guidelines.

  • Use consistent naming conventions for Teams and Channels so that inter-departmental or cross-functional Teams are clearly identified.

  • Opt for specific icons and colours for different types of teams eg project teams or HR teams, allowing them to stand out from the menu.

  • Double-check for duplication before creating a new Team to ensure it doesn't exist already and educate your team on when a sub-set or Channel is a better option.

  • Establish a sign-off process for new teams, one that is managed by the business, rather than the IT department to ensure a greater understanding of business needs.

  • Ensure there is cross-functional clarity on the life cycle of a Team and when its data should be archived, merged or deleted with an expiration policy for inactive Teams.

  • Critically, it is important to manage guest access and ensure that outside consultants, vendors or partners don’t mistakenly get full access to all your company data.

  • The same is applicable for third party apps where a layer of security is required to ensure that critical company data isn’t accessible.

For organisations just beginning with Microsoft Teams, these rules can be set up from the get-go, alongside training to support staff in how they use all the features and functionality that your company benefits from.

And for those organisations who adopted Teams in a less structured way during the pandemic, now is a good time to go back and set up the governance rules and guidance so that Teams can continue to be the business-critical tool.

To find out how Mainstream has created a robust communication and collaboration platform with Microsoft Teams, check out our on-demand webinar.

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