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10 Microsoft Teams Management Best Practices 

10 Microsoft Teams Management Best Practices 

When it comes to Microsoft Teams management best practices, there’s a lot of fluff out there. 

We think we’ve collated a list that will genuinely improve how to manage Microsoft Teams users, numbers, and everything else in between. 

Ready to dive in? 

1 – Use auto-provisioning to save money and reduce manual errors 

You can save around 77% on provisioning costs when you switch to auto-provisioning.  

We put this down to several factors: 

  • Time saved not fulfilling manual provisioning tasks 
  • Time saved not remedying manual errors 

Instead, you can create user personas ready to streamline Microsoft Teams account setup

Rather than spending hours creating new users, only to receive a ticket the next week with new access and policy requirements, user personas dictate the exact access every type of user needs. 

Check out auto-provisioning in action below: 

For example, if a new sales user in the Boston office starts, they will get all the policies a junior salesperson is allowed (compliant call recording, call hold, etc.) and assigned a local Boston number. 

Instead of running manual scripts then making one-by-one changes that suck time, you add their details to Entra (Azure AD) once and Orto takes care of the rest. 

Click here to check out Orto for Teams

2 – Integrate your calling platforms with Microsoft Teams 

When you combine Teams with your phone systems, you get number management, policy management, and PSTN connections in a single pane of glass

So, whether you use Teams Calling Plan, Operator Connect, or Direct Routing, you have one place to head to when you need to add new numbers or make changes to existing users. 

There’s no need to call each provider, spend hours in the Teams Admin Center (TAC), and pull your hair out when trying to manage changes in bulk.  

You just need to head to your Callroute portal and connect your voice services in a few clicks. 

You can move users between phone systems and locations without forfeiting their number.  

There’s no number porting and you get secondary destination failover and extension dialing as standard. 

Click here to learn more about Callroute for Teams  

3 – Standardize your channel naming conventions 

This is the simplest Microsoft Teams management best practice that can have the biggest impact. 

By creating a companywide naming convention, everybody is on the same page and all users know what to look for when searching for channels. Likewise, when there’s a long list of channels and only the front end of the channel name is visible, this makes for easier navigation. 

You might consider using the department name at the beginning of each channel so it’s obvious who the channel is for. 

For example, #marketing-project-management is clearer than #project-management.  

It’s also more helpful than #project-management-marketing. When viewing on mobile, users will see “#project-management-” due to their screen size and have to click inside the channel to find out whether it’s the marketing project management channel or one for another department. 

Standardizing channel naming is a Microsoft Teams management best practice

Another example of standardization is the use of hyphens or underscores to create spaces between words in channels with more than one word. In a small business, #marketing might be a suitable channel name. But in enterprises with hundreds of marketing staff and several marketing campaigns and teams, it’s more likely your teams will be named #marketing-new-york or #marketing-email-team. 

When this is the case, it’s easier to identify team names using #marketing-email-team than #marketingemailteam. Everything just blends into one undecipherable word otherwise. 

The same sentiment applies to channel descriptions. Using these to genuinely describe the purpose of a channel will help users locate the right channel they’re looking for when channels inevitably have similar-sounding names.  

The difference between #accounts-debt-collecting and #accounts-debtors may not be obvious to new users. Writing a clear, templated description will help everyone. 

Standardizing channel descriptions is a Microsoft Teams management best practice

4 – Govern who can/can’t create new Teams channels 

It might seem fair to allow everybody to create new channels in Teams. And while you might want to encourage equality and democracy throughout the rest of your company, Teams team and channel creation may not be the smartest idea. 

What often happens is duplication. You end up with several channels being used for the same thing and users are confused as to which one to use.

The end result? Unnecessary overcommunication and loss of information. 

Say you do finally decide which of the two channels to use. What do you do with the files and chat history? Migrate them all over or leave them to rot (or refer back to)?  

Neither is productive and both can be avoided. 

Best practice is to get input from your Teams champions and department heads to agree on which types of users can create new Teams channels and teams.  

You’ll thank yourself later when you’re not constantly being asked to merge, archive, and delete unused channels. 

5 – Set expectations for guest access 

Before users start adding guest users and hoping they have the same access, it’s important to lay out exactly how guest and external access works. 

For example, sharing files in chat messages is a well-documented bugbear. Likewise, guests can’t add apps or create new channels. 

The difference between what guest users can and can't do compared to in-organization Microsoft Teams users
Source: https://www.syskit.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/capability_in_teams-1-719×1024.png

Outside of Microsoft’s restricted access, it pays to plan for your own governance: 

  • Is there a process to add guest users? 
  • Will everyone have access to add guest users? 
  • What features will guest users have access to? 

You can set org-wide settings in the TAC, covering various chat and meeting privileges. You may want to modify these for specific groups like senior management and those who frequently work with contractors or customers. 

Changing guest access in the Teams Admin Center

These will likely mirror your SharePoint guest permissions. Ensuring consistency throughout your business means everyone is on the same page and you won’t get surprises later on. 

If you do this upfront, you’ll benefit from fewer support tickets suggesting functionality isn’t working for guest users. When really, Teams just doesn’t support this. 

6 – Archive and/or delete old teams and channels 

When a team is no longer needed, like for a temporary project or campaign, what happens to the data and information inside it? 

Sure, all your users can leave it so it’s not in their way. And while out of sight may mean out of mind, it can also mean out of control or outside of the scope of your data governance guidelines. 

Archiving teams in Microsoft Teams

When a user thinks they’ve archived or deleted a team, you know what really happens. It goes into a holding state for a set period of time then gets auto-deleted after a little bit longer. 

Well, that’s the case if you set it up that way. You might choose to retain all files and history forever, due to complex industry regulations. Whatever you need to do, make sure it’s configured correctly. 

You can either set retention policies at an org-wide level or dig into specific Microsoft products like sites, user mailboxes, and OneDrive accounts. Head to the Security & Compliance section of the TAC. Alternatively, there is an entire Security and Compliance Center for Microsoft 365. 

Security and Compliance Center for Microsoft 365

Starting February 2024, Microsoft is also adding the ability to archive channels within a team, without needing to archive the entire team. This will only be available on the desktop app and web browser, not via mobile.  

7 – Communicate what happens when teams get archived or deleted 

Let’s talk about data retention policies. More specifically, make sure you tell users (or at least department heads) what will happen when they archive or delete teams and channels. 

What happens when you archive a team? 

When you archive a team in Microsoft Teams, the information (files, chats, etc.) becomes read-only. It remains searchable by everyone who had access to the team when live but you can no longer make changes to the content. If you’re the team owner, you can restore the archived team.  

What happens when you delete a team? 

When you delete a team in Microsoft Teams, the back-end SharePoint site gets deleted with it. This means you lose the mailbox and calendar that gets created alongside everything users see when using a team. Likewise, any other apps included in the team (like OneNote, Planner, etc.) will get deleted too. The team owner, or the relevant IT admin, can choose to restore the team within a 30-day period. 

8 – Manage third-party app availability 

Adding third-party apps to Teams is one of the biggest draws to using Teams as your central hub for work. By removing the need to constantly open new tabs and hunt around for information, Teams becomes a genuine enabler of productivity. 

Does that mean everybody should be able to add third-party apps? ❌ 

In some cases, allowing global access could mean inappropriate, unsanctioned, non-Microsoft-approved apps get added to Teams. For example, an app not listed on the App Store could still be added to Teams using a file upload method. 

Likewise, just because apps like TikTok are approved on the App Store, it doesn’t mean they’re relevant to work.  

Choosing who gets access to third-party integrations is a Microsoft Teams management best practice

You might allow the marketing team to add TikTok to their teams if they’re creating content. But it’s unlikely your accounts team needs access. 

9 – Guide users on the use of virtual backgrounds and filters 

During the pandemic, when everybody started working from home at a moment’s notice, covering up messy bedrooms and generating a small form of privacy was acceptable. But today the number of backgrounds, blurs, and filters available is getting out of hand. 

And sometimes, even with the most sufficient camera and network quality, they still chop off the top left-hand side of your head. 

Guiding users on when to use virtual backgrounds is a Microsoft Teams management best practice

For internal meetings, this might be fine. But for meetings with prospective clients or for those tasked with content creation, you might want to make it mandatory not to use a virtual background if it appears patchy. 

Communicating this during user onboarding is important. Failure to address visual company standards may leave the door open to poor quality Teams call with important stakeholders. 

10 – Book time for regular Teams management improvements 

Perhaps the most important Microsoft Teams best practice is that you should review everything you have in place on a regular basis. 

What may be best practice today might be different next year. It could be the introduction of a new feature or your company gets an upgrade in technology. 

Whatever the reason, make sure you slot in some time to review how you’re operating from a Teams management standpoint and that you communicate any changes. 

Ready to improve your Microsoft Teams management practices? 

👀 See what Callroute can do for you today 👀 

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