Microsoft governance best practices according to Microsoft MVPs

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Governance is one of the hottest topics in today’s digital workplace. Microsoft MVPs share their best practices for effective Microsoft Teams governance, so you can rest easy at night.

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 the push towards virtual collaboration and remote work, Microsoft Teams has seen a sudden surge in usage and adoption—and many IT admins and managers are looking for advice on the best way to improve their Microsoft Teams governance strategies.

To help answer your questions, we reached out to our friends in the Microsoft community. We’ve gathered their opinions and best practices—so you can rest easy knowing you have Teams governance under control.

Microsoft governance: Good governance isn’t one-size-fits-all

The rise of both external and internal threats—like the threat of shadow IT—means governance is one of the hottest topics in today’s workplace. 

So how do self-service and proper governance live together in a seamless strategy? Customizing your governance to your team’s needs and applying targeted policies instead of one-size-fits-all thinking seems to be a good start. 

Lean on established products and ideas. Look at SharePoint, Microsoft 365, and OneDrive best practices to inspire you and bring some interesting ideas. Set goals based on these. 

But always remember, the end game is self-service. So instead of enforcing governance, help your team understand it and encourage them to live it. This is how you can rest easy at night.  

Governance best practices—according to Microsoft MVPs

According to the Microsoft MVPs we talked to, these best practices will help ensure effective Microsoft Teams governance:

  1. Plan governance from the inception—Maarten Eekels
  2. Training can equal governance—Tracy Van Der Schyff
  3. Bring in a ringer—Mark Rackley
  4. Governance policies provide guardrails to “self-service”—Jasper Oosterveld

#1: Plan governance from the inception

Maarten Eekels (@maarteneekels), CDO, Portiva and Office Apps & Services MVP

Illustration of Maarten Eekels

“You should start thinking about governance before you start using Microsoft 365. 

I think the most important thing would be to think about how you want to manage your teams.  

  • Would you like expiration policies in place? 
  • Would you like information barriers? 
  • Would you like information management policies in place? 
  • Naming conventions? 

[If you] think of something later [when you] have hundreds or thousands of teams rolled out, it’s hard to change that.

Maarten Eekels, Microsoft MVP (@maarteneekels) Tweet this

So, there’s a lot of governance stuff that you want to think of upfront because if you’re going to think of something later while you already have hundreds or thousands of teams rolled out, it’s hard to change that.”


#2: Training can equal governance

Tracy Van Der Schyff (@tracyvds), Microsoft 365 Coach & Catalyst, The Guid Stuff and Office Servers and Services MVP

illustration of tracy van der schyff

“The best governance thing you can do before deploying Microsoft 365 is training people.  

The biggest risk we have is people, so a lot of the time we think it’s about ‘switching on settings’ and it’s ‘little sliders and buttons and things.’

If we can inform people better… they can make better decisions, understand what risk is and why do we do things in this way… people will adopt and use products better.

Tracy Van Der Schyff, Microsoft MVP (@tracyvds) Tweet this

A lot of time we mitigate or minimize risk if people are more informed so they can make better decisions.  

So before we launch Microsoft Teams into companies, if we can inform people better so that they can make better decisions, they understand what risk is, why do we do things in this way, how does the new information architecture work, then people will adopt and use products better.”  


#3: Bring in a ringer

Mark Rackley (@mrackley), Partner/Chief Strategy Officer, PAIT Group and Microsoft 365 MVP

illustration of mark rackley

“I think one of the keys to keeping your 365 content safe and secure and keeping things well organised—making sure you’re doing it the right way—is to look at using a partner to help implement governance. 

Governance is so huge! 

One of the keys to keeping Teams content safe and secure is to look at using a partner to help.

Mark Rackley, Microsoft MVP (@mrackley) Tweet this

And there are a lot of great companies out there that have great tools *cough* like ShareGate *cough* that can help you handle your governance.”

#4: Governance policies provide guardrails to “self-service”

Jasper Oosterveld (@jaoosterveld), Modern Workplace Consultant, InSpark and Office Apps & Services MVP

illustration of jasper oosterveld

“One of the first things you should think about is how to manage the creation process. Is everybody able to create teams? 

I think, on one hand, you should definitely give people the freedom to create teams because otherwise they’ll start using a different tool—Box or DropBox or Trello—and then you’re dealing with the threat of shadow IT

You should definitely give people the freedom to create teams because otherwise they’ll start using… shadow IT

Jasper Oosterveld, Microsoft MVP (@jasoosterveld) Tweet this

If you do enable self-service creation, you definitely need to have some policies in place. You need to make sure you know what each team is for, so you should have a naming convention. Do you want to allow external access? Do you want to use expiration policies? 

You can create and enforce policies manually, or you could set automated governance policies with a third-party tool. Either way, if you open up team creation to everybody, make sure you have those governance plans in place so things don’t get out of control.”


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