Essentials for Microsoft Teams Governance

In case you missed it, I had a session in this week’s #Teams10x virtual event (Sept 28+29) on the topic of “10 Essentials for Effective Teams Governance.” You can find the slides below, and if you register on the site, you should also be able to get access to the recordings.

While much context is lost by not seeing the actual presentation, I thought I’d share some points from my session:

How collaboration has changed

A lot has changed over the past 2 years. Even as people start going back to work, how we work will be permanently transformed by the pandemic.​ Many organizations have adapted to remote and hybrid work, but all this and all the other change around us has demanded unprecedented resilience.​

Just about every customer and leader I speak with is grappling with how to make this new world of work more sustainable.  More sustainable for their people, More sustainable for their organization and for themselves.  And many of us are realizing that what is needed to survive and thrive is a new culture of resilience that enables people and organizations to continuously adapt for what’s next.​

Resiliency is about being able to handle difficult circumstances. A resilient system implies that it is well-managed, and well-governed.

When it comes to collaboration and file sharing, it is typically a disjointed and inconsistent experience:

  • Which version are we working on?
  • People attaching files to emails instead of links to shared resources for proper co-authoring
  • Difficulty in managing workflow to track completion of deliverables
  • And difficulty in working with external players in a safe and secure manner

Our resources are dispersed across multiple systems, tools, and geographies

  • While we want to support our employees so that they can be productive,
  • Supporting dispersed resourced means higher IT costs,
  • we create data siloes within each of these systems,
  • And it is difficult to ensure consistent use and best practices across the organization
  • One major impact of all of this is to employee and partner onboarding, because they struggle to find the right information

The more dispersed and disjointed our collaboration activities, the more likely we have a Shadow IT problem

  • Again, we want our employees to be safe and secure and compliant,
  • But if they are using tools that we cannot see or manage, we create security concerns

And then there is the mobile story

  • Organizations benefit from having their frontline workers participate in collaborative activities with the rest of the workforce
  • But remote users have a difficult time accessing the various information siloes
  • And it is incredibly difficult to support, much less integrate with outside vendors and contractors

The sprawl is real

Sprawl can be dangerous in part because organizations do not fully understand the business impacts. If left unchecked, it can lead to:

  • Poor productivity. By definition, sprawl means your data (your intellectual property) is spread across various sites and data silos. When data is not optimized, classified and organized, it cannot be used effectively. When data is not used effectively, it impacts discovery, collaboration, and innovation.
  • It can also cause security risks. You cannot manage what you cannot properly track and measure. Sprawl makes it difficult, if not impossible, for administrators to enforce company policies and procedures, opening up the organization to security and compliance risks. Mistakes in IP governance (not just intentional mishandling) are often not found until after the fact, which is not a sustainable management model.
  • Sprawl can also lead to decreased business value. When data cannot be found in a timely manner, or found at all, it loses its value. One of the major problems with sprawl is that data goes in easily enough, but cannot be surfaced when needed, affecting the overall value of your collaboration platform as well. What good is a system if you cannot find the right data at the right time?

Teams governance falls into 3 categories

When I talk with customers and partners about Teams governance, I divide the activities into 3 categories:

  1. Prevention – activities that can take place before you deploy, but, if you’re like most organizations and the train has already left the station, you can still follow these steps and enhance your existing governance activities.
  2. Administration – which are the guard rails, the framework around which you collaborate safely.
  3. Community Management – which is the ongoing feeding and nurturing of your systems.

Not that you won’t also feed and nurture your prevention and administration activities, but more than the others this is about ensuring your end users are successful. Because no matter how well you’re built and secured and organized your platform, if your end users, your employees are not successful, it will not matter.

Soft skills are the most critical

I have helped build and deploy portals, collaboration hubs, and other enterprise solutions that have been technically amazing…but that have ultimately failed because the organizations – and leadership teams, specifically, thought that success ended with deployment. The reality is that successful deployments, and Teams included, rely on ongoing, organized, and thoughtfully-executed community management. Where I focus in my customer guidance is around:

  • Adoption
  • Communication
  • Change management

All three are ongoing efforts, and should be discussed regularly as part of your governance body activities and documented within your Center of Excellence, with an eye toward transparency with your end users.

Microsoft has done a tremendous job around adoption and engagement. I remember when was first launched with some basic tools and guidance to what is now a major web destination for Microsoft 365 products and services, providing guidance based on roles, across products and workloads, with resources and training and links to related communities. If you have not already bookmarked the site, do it now. The hard part, of course, is then building adoption into your plans, including regular review of your Teams analytics.

This is just a slice of what I covered within my session, but hopefully helps you to understand the importance of “soft skills” to effective governance within Microsoft Teams.

Check out the slides:

Teams 10x event


Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (, leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.