Recover from Post-Covid Teams Sprawl
How we got here
Remember the scramble to work from home in 2020? I do. For organisations that were perhaps a little early along in their digital transformation this was a big shock and a huge learning curve. For some this meant adopting Microsoft Teams very quickly and without sufficient planning. Some may not have even heard about Teams before this.
This may have resulted in ad-hoc creation of Teams and a sprawling list of Teams and SharePoint sites that weren’t cohesively connected or may have even been duplications.
Finding that document that you saw a few weeks ago might be a real challenge right now.
It’s not all bad
True there are some challenges involved with the results, but a silver lining is that many organisations’ digital transformation got a big jolt forward. Teams got a taste of flexible working, and we all improved our online collaboration.
So how can we limit some of the bad and capitalise on the good? Here are a few tips that we have found useful.
Limit the ability to create new Teams
Creating MS Teams should be limited to those who at least have had some experience or training and are willing to do this in a thoughtful way. They should understand how SharePoint works behind teams and the sites that are automatically created with the Team.
Not every Team needs to be a formal arrangement. Nor does it need to be a permanent thing. I’m all for running up a Team for a project and archiving it off at the end.
The point is that we do want to limit uncontrolled sprawl. Organisations should work with their 365 Admins to set some policies that work
Plan a basic structure
SharePoint Online (SPO) hubs are a good way of binding sites together in a cohesive and functional way. Two nice features currently are: a more website-like menu for navigation so it feels like one site, common styling across the sites and searching across connected sites.
The structure need not be complex. Thankfully, hubs can be reconfigured easily and are designed to be flexible to allow reorganisation.
Review which MS Teams can be part of the Intranet
One of the nice things about everyone firing up Teams as we left the office desk for our dining tables in 2020 is that these Teams have a SharePoint structure built in. We can bring these into our Intranet under the appropriate hub and we avoid duplication and save time (and confusion).
For example, if your accounting team created an MS Teams team called “Accounting” and they are working nicely there, you can bring that into
the Intranet and you have a foundation for not only collaboration, but now informing and communicating.
Review existing SharePoint sites
Very similar to the above, if there are existing SPO sites that make sense to have in our intranet structure, bring them in under a hub and
away we go.
Implement Mega Menu navigation
We won’t delve into great depth on this, but I recommend implementing “Mega Menus” for the intranet. You can configure 3 levels of menu and decide exactly where the links take people. Pause and give this some thought but don’t worry too much as this is easy to change later.
A common basic structure that some have found good is:
Top Level: Branch
Second Level: Department
Third Level: Specific area
We have glossed over some specifics here, but the main idea is that we want everything to feel like a common site where people can find what they need and search across many sites at once. Limiting the Teams and SharePoint sprawl and making it all a bit more cohesive will be a relief to people already overwhelmed by the confusion of it all.