Microsoft Teams best practices according to Microsoft MVPs: Why you should keep “self-service” enabled

Image of a Teams icon with Chapter 1, Win as a Team written overtop of it and illustrations of three Microsoft MVPs

Wondering how to deploy Microsoft Teams effectively? Microsoft MVPs explain why you should keep “self-service” features enabled to ensure security and drive productivity.

ShareGate‘s easy-to-use SaaS tools enable organizations to achieve more than ever before with Microsoft cloud technologies. In this excerpt from our eBook, Win as a Team!, Microsoft MVPs offer insights on how you can empower users to use Teams effectively and leverage it to its full potential.

With many companies moving towards virtual collaboration and remote work, IT admins and managers are asking a lot of questions and looking for advice on how to deploy Microsoft Teams.

We understand how you’re feeling, and we want to lend a hand! So, we reached out to our friends in the Microsoft community to see what guidance they could offer.

How user experience drives modern management in Microsoft 365

What we found after talking to our friends in the Microsoft community was an overwhelming belief that collaboration between IT and the teams they support is crucial.

There’s a real push out there for IT to take a “self-service” approach, one that encourages growth and empowerment, allowing everyone at work to be as productive as possible.

Teams is a powerful piece of software, and we know it can be tempting to hold on to the controls. But there are some real advantages to sharing control with the users who work in the tool every day.

First of all, enabling self-service features boosts user adoption. That’s a great place to start: getting people using tools you’re adding for them.

Secondly, it helps you save time and manpower with users handling day-to-day tasks that they’re best suited for.

With Microsoft Teams, self-service means letting end users:

  • Provision their own teams
  • Use external sharing features
  • Authorize guest access as needed

You show them what’s expected, and then step back and let the magic begin! They can work fluidly, and you’re only a ticket away if things go sideways.

Doesn’t that sound better than building provisioning forms, waiting for hundreds of requests, and hoping someday you’ll get to inbox zero?

The benefits of keeping self-service enabled in Microsoft Teams—according to Microsoft MVPs

The Microsoft MVPs we talked to identified the following benefits of keeping self-service features enabled in Microsoft Teams:

  1. An experimental mentality can help explain how users collaborate—Marc D Anderson
  2. Putting users in the driver’s seat can drive digital literacy—Luise Freese
  3. Self-service features are an integral part of Teams—Alex Fields
  4. Restrictions can impact more than just process—Alex Fields

#1: An experimental mentality can help explain how users collaborate

Marc D Anderson (@sympmarc), Co-Founder and President, Sympraxis Consulting and Office Apps & Services MVP

Illustration of Marc D Anderson

“Fundamentally—especially in IT—when a new technology comes out, the first inclination is to turn everything off.

‘We don’t understand it’, ‘We have security concerns’, or ‘We have governance issues that we think may apply here but… we really don’t know yet, so we’re going to shut it off’.

I think that the number one trick is to let people use this stuff. Watch and be mindful of the fact that you’re in an experimental phase. Watch the patterns of what people do.

This is how you can see what your governance ought to be, because things like Teams are a different way of working. You don’t know how it’s going to affect your organisation until you let people try it.

Let people use this stuff… you’re in an experimental phase.

Marc D Anderson, Microsoft MVP (@sympmarc) Tweet this

Every organisation’s culture is different, so in some places you might turn on Teams and people sort of just look at it and say, “Well, what are we going to use that for? We don’t communicate that way,” and other places people are going to go nuts.

You need to see how your organisation reacts before you make decisions, and you can’t make those decisions unless you let them use it first.

So, the number one trick? Don’t turn it off!”


#2: Putting users in the driver’s seat can drive digital literacy

Luise Freese (@LuiseFreese), Microsoft 365 Consultant and Office Apps & Services MVP

Illustration of Luise Freese

“Users who are still stuck in fixed mindsets and old working behaviors need support to evolve into new ways of thinking and collaborating. Otherwise, they’ll continue to work the way they always have, just with a new tool.

As Teams is an amazing aggregator of conversations and content in the right context, it ensures that each user can access and collaborate on what is important and relevant to them.

Microsoft 365 puts their users back into the driver’s seat—changing their working direction from push to pull—which leads to more thoughtfulness, more consciousness, and more autonomy, bringing the best out of people: creativity and critical thinking.

Users… need support to evolve into new ways of thinking… otherwise they will work like they always have.

Luise Freese, Microsoft MVP (@LuiseFreese) Tweet this

A Microsoft 365 deployment is a good inducement to drive a digital literacy initiative and transform into a forever-learning organization.

So, in fact, digital transformation is the goal and the roll out of Microsoft Teams is one puzzle tile to achieve this.

If you don’t put Teams into a greater context and see the bigger picture, you won’t succeed.”

#3: Self-service features are an integral part of Teams

Alex Fields (@vanvfields), Senior Solutions Architect, SUCCESS Computer Consulting and Office Apps & Services MVP

Illustration of Alex Fields

“The self-service aspect of Teams is kind of like… the whole point. Or one of the major points, anyway.

Sure, you can name specific scenarios where you would want to exclude limited groups of people from this privilege–if that were really important to you. For instance, if you have some part-time contractors or volunteers coming in and out frequently.

But I find these cases to be pretty rare, and on the whole, my attitude is that your typical full-time employed information worker should be able to freely create teams, associate with others of their choosing, and collaborate at their leisure.

You know, as was the intention of the product to begin with.”

#4: Restrictions can impact more than just process

Alex Fields (@vanvfields), Senior Solutions Architect, SUCCESS Computer Consulting and Office Apps & Services MVP

“In my own company, we have not restricted the creation of groups. True, this has led to some pretty crazy groups floating around out there—I think we have one that is dedicated to Foosball, for example. And yes, I probably belong to too many teams myself.

To me [restriction] sends a subtle message: I’m not important, or… maybe, some other people are more important.

Alex Fields, Microsoft MVP (@vanvfields) Tweet this

But here’s the thing: If I did work for an organization that restricted my capability to freely create and to associate with people… I would probably leave.

Not everyone feels this way, but to me it sends a subtle message: I’m not important, or that my ideas aren’t important.

Maybe some other people are more important and get to make the decisions about what important things are. Well, that’s just dandy.

I hope they enjoy their highly important work.

Without me.


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