how to MS Teams

How to Cleanup Microsoft Teams After the Rush to Remote Work

Michal Pisarek February 1, 2021


There has been a fundamental change in how we work. Microsoft Teams saw unprecedented growth to over 115 million daily active users as organizations looked to connect remote workforces. However, this rapid shift to Microsoft Teams has for many resulted in unforeseen challenges like sprawl, document versioning chaos, IT fatigue from teams’ requests, and more.

In this article, we will be taking you through how you can better manage Microsoft Teams and clean up the mess caused by a rush to remote work.

Is Microsoft Teams Meeting Your Business Requirements?

First, it is vital to define what success looks like for your business and consequently, know the tools you need to achieve it. Decision-makers must ascertain what your organization needs from MS Teams and know what Microsoft Teams can facilitate for your stakeholders. Since adopting Microsoft Teams will require a technological as well as a cultural change for your team members, make sure to have all your answers ready. A little tip for your IT team – treat Microsoft Teams as a product and not a project.

Building a Company Persona

You must identify your business’ persona and define clear aims for your organization. This is integral to determining your path towards MS Teams adoption and then engagement. In order to best build your persona, here are 4 crucial aspects you must consider:

  1. Know your company goals they can be of any category including but not limited to: organizational, cultural, tangible, or individual. Studying industry examples and case studies to know what goal is closest to yours is an effective strategy. The scale of business operations is another crucial factor that helps determine your business persona. For example, the course of action varies depending upon if you want to implement Microsoft Teams company-wide or core collaboration only or have less than 1,000 employees.
  2. Complete an audit of your current collaboration and communication efforts and identify the number of teams you require, along with the lifecycle of each team. This will enable users to get started with the appropriate Microsoft Teams’ template options. Templating is an effective way to get started quickly while maintaining consistency across the organization.
  3. Drill into the independent user stories. The independent user stories approach is a task-based method outcome that will narrow down the expected requirements of your environment. This allows you to understand the needs before diving into solution building and really refining your requirements to guide your deployment.
  4. Deliver to plan with process mapping. The next step is the process mapping plan that helps represent all business processes and user groups activities to determine the corresponding deliverables.

Narrowing down desired outcomes and understanding the scale of operations will help you to define your business persona, therefore, helping you decide on a particular service enablement strategy.

MS Teams - Types of Enablement Strategies
Illustration: Various Enablement Strategy for MS Teams

Instead of adopting Microsoft Teams as a tool with many beneficial features, you should take it on as an ongoing mechanism to reach business goals. Treat it as a solution to manage a tangible problem at hand. Knowing your business goals lies at the heart of this, and is crucial to helping you use Microsoft Teams to its full potential.

Take Control Of Your Teams By Establishing Procedures

Governance is all about establishing policies and creating a blueprint of what you are building and how it’s going to run. Governance policies may vary from one company to another, but here are some basic areas that need systematic procedures in place.

Pillars of Effective Governance Policies

  • Administrative Rights: The administrative rights can be categorized into three levels: administrator, owner, and member, so you can clarify which user has what classification of rights. You can also follow an approval workflow to provision teams that are vital, for the rest, customized request forms can be used.
  • Member Rights: Establish who can create, modify, edit, delete, or request teams. A tip for better managing member rights: enable teams’ creation to a subset of people and a predefined list of third-party apps that can be integrated by team members. By restricting the actions that certain members can execute, you can manage company-wide MS Teams’ organization by avoiding IT fatigue from heavy sprawl.
  • Naming Convention: Create a company-wide policy for naming teams that standardizes the naming system. Keep a log of approved abbreviations and set indicators for easy sorting and searching in the future. Here is a small naming tip that can make it easier to identify the purpose of a team – use prefix and suffix (i.e. PRJC – for a project team)
  • External Access and Authorization: Settle if and when external access should be granted to any user. Also, for complete control, you need to decide who can grant external access. Make use of organization-wide settings or sensitivity labels for individual teams.
  • Policies For Archiving Content: Archiving or deleting are simple ways to get rid of irrelevant teams in the software. But to follow through with such practices, a criterion needs to be set that deems a team to be archived or deleted.

Once your governance strategy is in place, it is time to ensure that it is followed by old and new teams alike. Implement an automation technique and make sure all users have adequate knowledge of the software. Investing in proper training and skill development of team members can go a long way to supporting a smooth transition and adoption of new technology.

In need of an effective training tip? – Formalize training around a template instead of every capability of the team. Empower your employees by creating a way for them to self-create this collaboration place while also maintaining consistency. In addition to this, MS Teams templates provisions a cohesive structure, so make good use of it.

Microsoft Teams Naming Conventions in Action - Orchestry
Image: Best practices for Microsoft Teams Naming Conventions

How To Avoid Everyday Microsoft Teams’ Hurdles

With policies in place, start remediating your current Microsoft Teams usage.  An easy trick to cleaning MS Teams and its healthy operation is constant monitoring, allowing you to know if your organization is making the most of the tool.

Monitoring with Microsoft 365 group reports dashboard gives you a birds-eye view of the activities within each product. You can deep dive into the groups created within your organization and see their relevance and functioning.

Further, the Admin Center of Microsoft Teams gives you insight into channels, members, owners, guests, privacy.  There is full access to reports that talk about usage, organization goals, and other patterns like how people communicate using teams and channels and the devices used for collaboration. The IT team and managers can audit the content and overall use of Microsoft Teams to make better decisions about managing the software.

MS Teams - reporting
Image: Microsoft Teams Analytics and Reports Feature.

Another useful Microsoft 365 feature is the audit log search that can be used for both reactive or proactive searches.

With adequate monitoring, admins are enabled to maintain consistency across the platform and get rid of any redundant or inactive teams and channels. Setting up an inactivity threshold or expiration policy is one way to identify and eliminate obsolete teams. Additionally, you also have the opportunity to suggest more relevant templates that make it easy to get started with new teams.

Let’s Succeed With Microsoft Teams Together

Pre-deployment and deployment are of course critical phases, but there is plenty to be done after Microsoft Teams is rolled out. Therefore, long-term change management procedures must be taken care of when taking up new technology or upgrading from legacy systems. Maintaining productivity throughout the lifecycle of your software can be overwhelming, so a technology adoption partner like Orchestry can make the process simpler.

Orchestry is here to simplify the use of Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams for you and your stakeholders with expert-driven insights. It can help you navigate smoothly between bottlenecks and heavy sprawl. Start controlling team chaos through an approval process as Orchestry can create a workflow to manage the intake of teams’ creation requests. Depending upon the different kinds of templates you want to use you can create corresponding approval processes as well. Moreover, you have the option to attach a naming policy to an individual template. Not to mention the unmissable, informative Workspace Directory feature that allows you to see everything – teams, team sites, communication sites and groups.

Microsoft 365 users - user interface of Orchestry directory
Image: Orchestry's Microsoft Teams Workspace Directory

Orchestry delivers an easy-to-use interface with intelligent governance, practical information, and innovative ideas to make the most of Microsoft Teams and help your organization reach its highest levels of efficiency. Orchestry can take you beyond the standard features of Microsoft 365 with a full-fledged templating experience that enables you to add channels, pre-configured tabs, integrate third-party apps, all along with the support of SharePoint. You can also template out SharePoint sites and document libraries as part of your teams to have your documents and metadata available in one place. Our popular webinar on MS Teams cleanup will prove to be extremely informative and beneficial for you to navigate this.

With Orchestry, you will be equipped with an empowering change management strategy, that supports smooth adoption and maintenance of the MS Teams environment. Release some of the pressure off your resources by leveraging a third-party tool, like Orchestry, to regain control of your Microsoft Teams deployment. To experience the adoption success with Microsoft Teams and across Microsoft 365, get started on your free trial or you can reach out to us at with your questions.

About the Author

Michal Pisarek Image

Michal Pisarek

Orchestry CEO, 7X Microsoft MVP

Seven-time Microsoft SharePoint MVP, former Co-Founder of Dynamic Owl Consulting and of BONZAI Intranet, this serial entrepreneur, international speaker, Office 365 thought leader, and former professional chef brings the great depth of product, leadership, and user experience expertise to Orchestry, working with Fortune 500 companies to deliver maximum efficiency of their Microsoft 365 investments.

When Michal takes a day off occasionally, you will find him experimenting in the kitchen, inventing a new cocktail or learning a new language while enjoying all that Vancouver has to offer with his wife, daughter, and furry companion.


This Privacy Policy explains what information Orchestry Software Inc. and its associated entities (collectively “Orchestry”) collect about you, why, what we do with that information, how we share it and how we handle the content you place in our products and services. It also explains the choices available to you regarding our use of your personal information and how you can access and update this information.

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Corporate Events

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If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy or our treatment of the information you provide us, please write to us by email at or by mail to Orchestry Software Inc., 422 Richards St, Suite 170, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2Z4, Attn: Privacy.


We may amend this Privacy Policy from time to time. When there are changes to this Privacy Policy, we will update this page. The date on the bottom will always indicate when we last made changes.
Last Updated: July 28, 2020

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