Microsoft Teams is the ‘hub’ for team collaboration within your organisation. There is some good documentation and guidance on how to get started with Microsoft Teams. It’s a good thing to start small and especially within enterprise organisations to start with some pilot teams. One of the things clients ask me a lot about, is if you should open up the creation of new teams for everyone, or not? Before we dive into this, let’s first start with the default team creation process within Teams.

Default teams creation

If you start using Microsoft Teams and used the get started documentation, everyone with a Microsoft Teams licence can start using Teams using the web browser or by using the client application. By default, everyone with a licence can start creating a new team by clicking the ‘Create or join team’ button in the Teams application:

So what does this mean?

Microsoft sets the team creation open for everyone by default. The statement from Microsoft is that everyone should be able to create a new Team and start collaborating. Don’t counteract your users in being able to do this. Why? Well if your users are not able to collaborate and start a Team, they will find other methods and applications in order to do so. This means they could start using applications like WhatsApp, Slack, Box, etc. in order to share files and chat with each other. This means your files and conversations are stored in another location, you maybe don’t want to be used and is not under your control. This could have major impact on your compliance, security or your policies. So maybe it is a good idea to let your users be able to create Teams and use it.

Doesn’t this mean we get lots of Groups and Site collections?

Yes we do! But is this really a big problem? IT should have a good governance and live cycle management mechanism in place in order to control their tenant. Microsoft has a lot of good ways to govern this and give you insights. Next to this there are 3rd party applications to assist on this. When you have good reporting capabilities in sites not being used for a long time, you could act on those sites. With good retention policies in place you could automatically inform your Team owners to ‘renew’ their Team or to delete it. This way you really enable your business to collaborate.

Another thing I hear a lot from clients is they need a certain naming convention for the underlying Groups and alias names. With group naming policies, you can enforce consistent naming conventions for Office 365 groups.

At the moment there is a ‘soft’ limit on the number of site collections that can exist within a tenant of 500.000. Soft means, that you could create more, but the overall performance can be degraded. When you have such a big tenant, it is advisable to contact Microsoft support. They could make sure your tenant has enough capacity and can scale out in a better way. This way you can create more site collections than the limit.

Can we control who can create Teams?

Yes you can! I think it is especially a good idea to constraint who can create Teams when you just get started with Teams. For instance when you are in the phase of doing a pilot with a small group of people. You can also constraint your user group by only enabling a Teams licence for this group. If you want to control who can create a Team you can disable the creation of Teams and set a AD group who can create a Team. More information on how to restrict the Office 365 Group creation to a certain security group can be found here.

So how do users get a new Team?

When you restrict who can create a new Team, it is necessary to have a process in place for users to request a new Team. This could be through already available requests methods to your Service desk or you could create a custom form for this and have some sort of approval in place. The actual creation of the new Team can be done manually by people who are not restricted to create Teams or you can automate the creation of Teams using the Microsoft Graph endpoint or through PowerShell.

Summary

Especially in Enterprise organisations or in the Education, you see that replacing the default teams creation is necessary. There is a need for a certain control and governance. You don’t want to end up with 50.000 new teams within a few weeks. Restricting who can create teams and give users an easy way to request a new team are good first steps. Having a good life cycle management mechanism and naming convention policy for your teams is as much as important too. Microsoft has a lot of built in ways to control and govern this. 3rd party solutions can even extend the way you control and govern your tenant.

So how do your control and govern your teams creation process? Is it open for everyone, or not?

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