Two Truths about MS Teams Governance

Now, IMO, when it comes to making those governance decisions, two things are true:

Truth #1 – There are no right or wrong answers.

The only wrong answer (IMO) is “I am not going to think about governance. I’m going to let it be the “wild west” and see what happens. “

Why do I say this?

Ok, pick a topic, any topic… let’s use SharePoint site URLs:

Using serial numbers instead of words for a site URL isn’t right or wrong.

There are some extremely useful benefits to using serial numbers over words:

From an IT perspective, they think “Yes! I’m not going to be asked to change this URL every time this business area rebrands or reorganizes and changes their acronym”.

[By the way…. do you know how long it takes to correctly change a Microsoft Team Name and URL?
Read Stephanie Kahlam’s blog to learn more.]

There are also some extremely helpful benefits to using words over serial numbers:

From an end user perspective, they see a random string of numbers and think “Ugh… this means nothing to me! Where am I? Who am I?”

Every decision should come back to your audience, your consumer, your user. What is going to work for them?

If you are going to make an org-wide decision like “we are going to be using serial numbers for all site URLs” then:

  • Announce it, explain why, and stick with it.
  • Educate your users where to look to orientate themselves instead of at the URL.
  • Advise them that URLs with a string of numbers are not inherently suspicious or malicious.
  • Provide them with the facts that using a serial number means they can rename their site name as many times as they wish without worrying that the URL doesn’t match.

Truth #2 – There are no simple answers either.

Governance decisions are like sports teams; it often comes down to preference; but people can be fiercely loyal to theirs.

Every decision has an impact and there are some key ones to consider.

So how do you know what to choose?

Well, honestly, ask questions that help your users think towards their future needs.

If you don’t ask enough questions up front, you can make decisions that have an unexpected impact later.

Let’s use Private Channels as an example:

What if an organization wants to deviate from the Regroove “site it out” methodology (which by the way I’d say Microsoft is endorsing in their MS Docs here) and create a site collection for each unit of work… they agree that sub-site are not the modern way to work, so they decide that they want to use MS Teams with private channels…

To that I say, cool! Private channels aren’t bad.

But why do you want to use Private Channels? Is it because it “looks neater” and it is “less clicks”? I totally agree.

However, do your users want to have a private Planner board in their private channel?

They do?

Well, unfortunately you can’t create a private planner board in a private channel. Any planner board you pin will be visible to the entire MS Team the private channel is a part of, and those other members may be subject to all the lovely notifications and other noise that comes with membership. ?

I haven’t found an ETA on the roadmap either. ?

If their Planner board must be locked down and only visible to the members, then they need to take the “site it out” philosophy from SharePoint Online architecture and create them a private Microsoft Team.

If you want to see all the lovely details of Why Many Organizations Lock Down Private Channel Creation to All Users, consider reading my blog post on the topic.

Let’s use Communication sites as another example:

What if an organization wants a Communication site to store files?

To that I say, cool! Communication sites are great!

But why do you want to use a Communication site over a Team site?

Is it because you just want a “standalone” SharePoint site to store files that isn’t connected to a Microsoft Team?

Do these same users also want to keep using email to communicate (since they clearly aren’t opting in to the Microsoft Teams experience)?

They do?

Well, unfortunately, sharing files via Outlook attachments doesn’t work with Communication sites.

And I haven’t found an ETA on the roadmap either. ?

If you want to see all the lovely details of One Gotcha About Using a Communication Sites for Collaboration, consider reading my blog post on the topic.

These are just two of the many examples of why there are no simple answers when it comes to making decisions around Microsoft Teams governance policies.

If you are concerned about how to go about setting up good governance practices for MS Teams, consider reading my blog post on the topic.