Microsoft Teams and Office Groups Lifecycle Best Practices

Best practices for creating a Team or Office Group within the Bedrock Manufacturing Office 365 instance.

This document should help you successfully evaluate the necessity of, plan for, govern, and ultimately decommission a Microsoft Teams team or Office 365 Group (aka Office Group) for your department, project or other initiatives.

It's important to remember that the nature of Teams and Office Groups is to pass management capabilities and responsibilities to the end-user in order to reduce reliance on an IT support organization. Put simply, with great power comes great responsibility.

Since a Microsoft Team and Office Group are virtually identical, we will be referring to both as a "Group" throughout this documentation.

A broad overview of Office Groups and Teams can be found here:

Group Creation

Before creating a Group for your department, project or other initiatives:

  • Don't duplicate efforts.
    Check within Teams or with your colleagues to see if a Team already exists for this purpose.
  • Who should own it?
    Take a moment to consider who the owner(s) of the proposed Group should be, and confer with that individual to verify that creating a Group is in the best interest of the business (i.e. creating a Group for your department may not be what the department head wants, and she/he has other plans on how group collaboration should happen).
  • Do you actually need a Group?
    Consider whether a new Group would be the best course of action, as opposed to simply creating a new channel in an existing Group in which this need would fit.

    For example, if the Planning Department is starting a new project, but all members of that project are already members of the Planning Department's existing Group, and it's a Planning-specific project, that project may be best kept as a channel within the Planning team, avoiding unnecessary complexity.
  • Outsiders welcome?
    Decide whether or not your Group will need to include members/guests that are outside of the organization. If so,
    • group guidance should be provided to prevent information not suitable for outside parties from being shared within the Group.
    • and you would like to use the Teams functionality, create the Group as an Office Group through Outlook or Outlook Web first. Then, you can create a Team from the Office Group. This will allow you to add external users to the Team without having to submit a support ticket with Service Desk.
  • Establish conventions.
    It's important that all members of the team use the team in a like manner. Establish folder structures, naming conventions and other guidance to help ensure collaboration doesn't go off the rails because team members can't decide how to name or organize their files.
  • Have an exit plan.
    If the purpose of the Group is at all temporary or has an end date, consider what needs to happen with the data within the Team you're potentially creating at the conclusion of the project/initiative it was created for. If unsure, engage the Bedrock Service Desk to verify what data can and cannot be migrated from Teams into another Team or other permanent storage form (i.e. conversations cannot be exported, but files can).
    • Conversations, Planner, and Forms cannot be migrated (only copy-paste options exist)
    • Files, OneNote and wiki pages can easily be migrated
    • Please ask about Power BI and other apps

Active Group Governance

Once your Group is alive and active, owners of the group should, at the very least, lightly monitor activity to ensure members are adhering to established conventions and usage rules.

  • Team Channel creation
    If you're allowing members to create channels (vs. only owners), you may wish to monitor what channels your members create. Redundant or otherwise unnecessary channels may cause confusion for users, and should be managed. Keep in mind that every channel in a Team has a separate folder in the SharePoint site for that channel, which may not adhere to usage guidelines.
  • File storage
    Very much related to the above point, watch for users storing files in incorrect folders (or even Group) or with non-standard file names.
  • Team Conversation
    Owners should attempt to keep conversations relevant to the purpose of the Team or channel.
  • Team Apps usage
    If an approved custom app has been added to the site, owners need to make sure that what happens within that app is monitored and adheres to the standards of the Team, and the organization as a whole.

Group Retirement

Once the purpose of the Group has run its course, it is critically important that the appropriate measures be taken to "knock down" the Group and appropriately retire the data contained within.

It is considered the responsibility of the Group's owners to backup, migrate or otherwise retain the information within a Group.

If you require assistance in migrating files or other SharePoint site data from a Group site to another group site, local file server, etc., please reach out to the Bedrock Service Desk for assistance in doing so.

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