Skip to content
May 17, 2021

Constructing Pragmatic Microsoft Teams Governance

Updated June 2023

Microsoft Teams governance and Microsoft 365 policies are complicated, to say the least.

As many organizations scrambled to deploy Microsoft Teams to support remote and hybrid workforces, governance is often overlooked. This blog is a Microsoft Teams governance checklist, to help you successfully govern Microsoft Teams from day one.


What is Pragmatic Microsoft Teams Governance?

Governance is the process of defining the people, processes, rules, structure, and M365 policies within Microsoft Teams.

Traditionally, it has been a very IT-driven process that is often associated with locking things down. It’s crucial to strike a balance between IT satisfaction and collaboration freedom for users in your organization.

We believe that your Microsoft Teams governance should be dynamic and frictionless for users, while still delivering robust management. Assisting users with the navigation of Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Sites, and M365 is crucial in today’s remote/hybrid work environment. When you take a user-focused approach, good governance will drive lasting adoption.

Get started on the right foot with proactive Microsoft 365 governance by watching our on-demand webinar on-demand webinar covering the basics.


What Does a Typical M365 Governance Plan Involve?

Every organization is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all Microsoft Teams governance template. However, a typical governance plan would normally include:

  • Roles: Defining different roles for different use cases and responsibilities. For example, IT, End User, Azure AD Admin, Team Owner, or Team Member.
  • Responsibilities: Determining what each role can do and what they are responsible for. For example, the Team Owner is responsible for requesting Teams and making sure the correct owners are assigned.
  • Processes: Defining processes involved in creating, archiving, deleting, and managing workspaces in MS Teams.
  • Access and Ownership: Determining who can access the teams and channels and who owns collaboration assets, files, etc.
  • Microsoft 365 Policies: Defining Microsoft Teams governance policies for managing content or other attributes, such as taxonomy, labeling, or expiration date.

 Download Now: Microsoft Teams Governance Planning

What Can Governance Help You Achieve?

Effective governance in Microsoft Teams will greatly benefit your organization and end-users:

  • Good governance ensures legal, social, and cultural compliance, regardless of the industry’s level of regulation.
  • Providing end-users with appropriate controls while delivering capabilities can improve user experience and drive adoption.
  • Well-planned governance can prevent unwanted and abandoned Workspaces by limiting creation access, thus managing sprawl.
  • Applying data loss and prevention policies to Microsoft Teams stop information from being shared with inappropriate parties.
  • Making Microsoft Teams’ environment easier to use and navigate involves removing rarely used or unnecessary features.
  • Reducing the number of unnecessary MS Teams or SharePoint Workspaces can improve Microsoft Teams’ performance.

How Much Control Should You Enforce With Governance in Microsoft 365?

Every organization takes a different approach when it comes to  Microsoft Teams governance. We’ve collaborated with organizations ranging from tightly controlled Microsoft 365 policies to those with minimal control.

In a tightly-controlled, lockdown governance approach, most features in Microsoft Teams would be locked down through policies and configuration options. Users can request features to be enabled through training and how users can create Teams is closely controlled.

On the other end of the spectrum lies the limited control, ad-hoc governance approach. An organization with limited control may have no governance policies in place, meaning that collaboration is fast and agile. However, this may be risky for organizations.

Most organizations aim to move towards the middle of the spectrum, regardless of their starting point.

Are you new to Microsoft 365 and looking to make Microsoft Teams your primary collaboration platform? Download our comprehensive free guide,Microsoft Teams Governance Pre-Deployment Planningand use it as an MS Teams governance checklist.

Microsoft Teams Governance Approach
Image: Spectrum of Microsoft Teams Governance

Why is Governance Important?

Imagine buying an iPhone and having every single possible App from the App Store downloaded and enabled on it. It would be impossible to manage or to find what you needed.

The same goes for Microsoft 365.

Out of the box, the majority of features and settings are enabled in Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, and SharePoint. So, it’s important to get to know your users, understand their needs and discover what app setup makes sense.

You can then use simple configuration options to narrow down what users have access to. These simple solutions are code-free and easily modifiable if requirements change in the future.

Governance in Microsoft Teams requires governance of Microsoft 365 Groups
Image: Governing Microsoft Teams with Microsoft Office 365 Groups

Governance in Microsoft 365 & Microsoft Teams

Each time you create a new Microsoft Teams Workspace, a Microsoft 365 Group is automatically created. Therefore, when you are governing Microsoft Teams, you are actually governing Microsoft 365 Groups.

There are a bunch of Teams governance tools you can use within the Microsoft Teams Admin Center.

Here are three main types of settings you can apply to Microsoft Teams:

  1. Team-Based Settings – Implement these settings in Teams Admin Center, as global org-wide default, or per-user/Team basis.
  2. Group Settings – these are settings that apply to the Microsoft Team itself from the Microsoft 365 Group settings. These can include naming conventions and expiration policies.
  3. Security and Compliance – these are settings that protect your organization’s data and ensure compliance.

Within the Microsoft Teams Admin Center, there are two categories of settings: settings, and policies. Settings are global and apply to everybody, whereas Microsoft Teams policy can be applied to users or groups of users.

Take a look at the variety of Microsoft Teams governance controls in the image below.

Governance Controls in Microsoft Teams
Image: Microsoft Teams Governance Controls

Microsoft Teams Governance Options:

Governance options for Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 Governance Options

Image: Governance options for Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 Governance Options

When looking at Teams governance tools, there are a number of configuration options available. Most organizations focus on:

  • Who Can Create What: including SharePoint Sites, Microsoft Teams, Shared Libraries, or Microsoft 365 Groups.
  • Naming Conventions: including prefix-suffix naming policies, fixed strings, user attributes, or custom blocked words.
  • Configure Guest Access: including who can add guest users, modify external users’ access or sharing options, or configure sharing for SharePoint.
  • Configure Expiry – including setting expiration date or duration, and choosing which Microsoft 365 Groups policy will apply.
  • Set Policies – including Retention, eDiscovery, sensitivity labels, and Data Loss Prevention policies.
  • Use of Templates – including Teams templates, SharePoint site design, and themes.
  • Monitoring Usage – including Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and Microsoft 365 Admin Centers, plus Microsoft 365 adoption content pack, and Groups report.

But, how can we apply these settings in real-life scenarios? The graphic below illustrates how governance can be applied to meet varying needs in different organizations.

Different Organizations Governance Needs in Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams
Image: Comparing Microsoft Teams Governance Needs By Organization Type

Microsoft Teams Governance: New Teams Creation

Considering Microsoft Teams’ creation should be among the first things to do, keeping in mind the three fictitious companies.

A big part of this is deciding who can create Teams within your organization. Limiting asset creation to a specific number of individuals can control sprawl. However, it’s advisable to provide some level of self-service to prevent overwhelming your IT department with Workspace requests.

A lot of organizations also implement some form of the approval process when users create Teams.

Read our blog to learn about Microsoft 365’s out-of-the-box options for Teams, Groups, and SharePoint site provisioning. This will help you decide which is the best fit for your organization.

So, how would each of these organizations approach Microsoft Teams’ creation governance?

  • Lockdown Corp: Would likely disable the native UI creation of Teams and use a tool to control the creation of new Teams.
  • Balanced Industries: Would only allow some users to create new teams in Microsoft Teams. These would be users that have gone through training and are site owners.
  • Start Up Inc: Is happy for its Microsoft Teams users to create as many new Teams as they’d like, so keeps the default option. If they have any issues, they can address them at a later date.

Microsoft Teams Governance: Default & Available Applications

An important aspect of Microsoft Teams governance is deciding which apps should be readily available to users by default. In addition to selecting default apps, you must also determine which third-party apps from the Teams app store users can install.

Governing Microsoft Teams Default and Available Apps
Image: Defining Microsoft Teams Default Apps

To manage default and downloadable apps in Teams, check these settings in the Teams Admin Center:

  • Organization-Wide Settings:  These settings provide the opportunity to either allow or disallow third-party or custom applications.
  • App Permission Policy: These settings allow you to either block all Microsoft, third-party, or custom apps, or select which apps you’d like to make available to your users.
  • App Set Up Policy This allows you to enable or disable the option to download custom apps and to allow pinning. It also allows you to select which apps are pinned or made available as the default, to Microsoft Teams users.

Another great way to control what applications are available to the end-users is to leverage Advanced Templates in Microsoft 365. We created a helpful guide that explains the different Microsoft 365 templates. Read it to learn how they can benefit your organization, and how to customize them.


Microsoft Teams Governance: Naming Policies

When people don’t name Microsoft Teams teams consistently, the tool can quickly become very difficult to navigate. Implementing a naming policy can be very beneficial to ensuring consistency, and improving the usability of Microsoft Teams as a result. You can use standard naming conventions to name your Microsoft Teams to ensure consistency by adding a prefix or suffix to the team name. You can also set blocked words if there are words that you do not want to appear in Microsoft Teams’ names.

Naming Convention and Policies for Microsoft Teams Governance
Image: Microsoft Teams Governance with Naming Convention

Archiving in Microsoft Teams

Over time, certain teams within Microsoft Teams may no longer be needed by your users. In such cases, archiving unused Microsoft Teams can help keep the environment organized and easy to navigate.

To archive a Team in Microsoft Teams, go to the Teams Admin Center, select the team you want to archive, and click Archive. Out of the box, there is no way to automatically archive inactive teams after a set time. However, Orchestry can help with this

Read our blog that covers Lifecycle Management with Orchestry, which includes creating and enforcing Archival and Renewal policies.

When you archive a Microsoft Team, all activity within that Workspace is archived including conversations in private channels. To restore an archived team, go to the Microsoft Teams Admin Center, select the team, and choose the unarchive option.

Common Questions About Microsoft Teams Governance

There are many factors to consider for successful Microsoft Teams governance. While we have covered some important elements, your organization may have additional requirements to consider.

With that in mind, here are some of the most common questions we are asked about governance in Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams Governance FAQs
Image: Most Common Questions on Microsoft Teams Governance

Unleash the Full Power of Micrsoft365 with Orchestry

Most organizations are not using Microsoft 365 to its full potential.

Orchestry makes Microsoft 365 simple for all users.

Orchestry  helps your teams fully take advantage of M365 and increases your ROI in the platform. 

To see Orchestry in action, request a demo!


Want more insights like this one?

For more Microsoft 365, SharePoint Online, and Teams insights, tips and tricks, best practices, and exclusive events delivered straight to your inbox, join our mailing list today and level up your Microsoft 365 game!




Other posts you might be interested in

View All Posts