Microsoft Teams: Control the number of Teams

With more and more companies adopting Microsoft Teams widely as the central hub for interaction between people, I can see a proliferation of teams created for every kind of purpose imaginable. From departments to groups of people working on projects, communicating with external suppliers, and many more, the number of teams in our Team’s Tab is getting more and more crowded. And if you’ re brave enough to have the notifications on, you’ll be flooded with messages the whole day.

Here’s an example of my Microsoft Teams:

It’s impossible to keep track of so many teams and be productive at the same time.

If you ask any organization, big and small, the main reason for projects failing is “no communication.” We all know it’s up there with “no documentation,” but having too many teams can be troublesome. You’ll shift from being flooded by emails to be inundated by messages to read.

On the administration side, it’s an issue also because teams are only useful if people use them. If they are not, they are taking space and making things difficult to manage.

Here are some techniques to make your teams manageable in your organization.

Only create teams by request.

It’s the simplest to implement but also the most tricky to manage. It’s hard to say no to people and especially so when they want to create a place to communicate. But allowing people to add their teams is a recipe for disaster, in many people’s minds. People can create one called “Sales,” for example. But there may be many sales teams. Local Sales, Global Sales, teams that deal with promotions and want to plane the “sales” for this season, etc. Having a central entity to create them allows for naming conventions and better control and reduce the number of overall teams to the essential. But good luck convincing people that Microsoft Teams is fantastic and then, for each team they want to create, they need permission. People will find the “road to least resistance,” and that’s where “shadow it” comes into play.

Allow everyone to create but be aggressive in the archive policies.

I was talking with a Microsoft employee that was telling me that internally anyone can create a team. It’s a huge company, and it’s quite brave of them to do so. But they are aggressive in the retention policies and teams’ expiration. It’s a potential approach where you allow everyone to create them, and the system checks for activity and deletes the un-used ones automatically. Be ready to have a massive spike in the number of teams, but, over time, things will even out with their deletion and creation.

Middle-term

You can also allow the IT team to create them, but enable proper retention policies and teams’ expiration. In my opinion, this is the worse solution. You still have to set up the teams, have people allocated to do it, so there’s no gain in productivity.

Final Thoughts

There are multiple ways to approach this, but I strongly recommend the second one—Microsoft’s right in this aspect. Microsoft Teams is the central hub for communication, and people should be encouraged to communicate and collaborate as fast as possible. If they are enabled to do so, they will use your approved solutions. The “road to least resistance” will be the company’s official solution. Having proper “cleaning” policies will enable you to free-up and keep things under control, automate the process, protect your information, and above all, improve productivity and collaboration between people without hurdles.

Have a suggestion of your own or disagree with something I said? Leave a comment or interact on Twitter and be sure to check out other Microsoft Teams-related articles here.

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Manuel Gomes

I'm a Project Manager with experience in large projects and companies. I've worked in the past for companies like Bayer, Sybase (now SAP) and I'm currently working for Pestana Hotel Group.

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