Somehow I Have Dozens (Hundreds?) of Teams; What Can I Do?
If Microsoft Teams was deployed to users without any governance or policies configured, your users have likely already found the convenient “Join or create a team” link and are creating sometimes business-related and sometimes fun or social teams. In this post, we’re going to cover a number of important topics you should work through with your team:
• Finding inactive teams
• Deleting or archiving (soft-deleting) teams
• Renaming teams
No matter what you choose to do, communication is incredibly important here. Your users have likely created Teams for a reason, so they deserve a chance to have a dialogue before their team is deleted, archived, or renamed. The communication should be far enough in advance to give plenty of opportunity for backing up any needed files or information. If just a rename, users just need communication on the reason and proper naming conventions going forward.
Let’s begin by finding inactive teams.
how to clean up microsoft teams
1. find inactive teams
An easy place to start clean-up is finding your inactive teams in the organization. To do this, navigate to the Microsoft Teams admin center (must be a Teams Administrator) and choose the Analytics & reports node, then Usage reports.
Choose Teams usage for the Report dropdown, then Last 90 days for Date range to find get data on all of your Teams including their last activity date (a member must have at least visited a channel to count as activity). Click Run report and wait for it to appear.
Choose the Excel icon in the upper right so we can get an exported spreadsheet of the visualized data. This will allow us to sort by last activity date (not currently possible in browser’s visualization).
When the report is generated, click Download next to the report name.
Select the Last Activity column header in Excel and sort A to Z (or oldest/most inactive to newest/most active).
Identify the most inactive teams (or earliest dates of last activity) and decide if they’ve been inactive long enough to archive or delete. Always be sure to communicate with team owners when doing this manually in case they were preparing for later usage or an annual process or something that hasn’t yet begun its next iteration.
Now we need to go back to the Teams Admin Center, find these teams, and delete or archive them.
2. Delete a team
To get to your organization’s teams, select Manage teams from the Teams node on the left-hand navigation.
Refer to your list of inactive teams you exported earlier in this post. You can search, sort, and/or filter to find these inactive teams quickly.
Once you’ve found one of your inactive teams, you can select it by clicking to the left of the team name. Then select Delete from the ribbon menu. A dialog will appear, asking you to confirm the deletion. Click Delete again.
Note that you can also multi-select teams to delete multiple teams using this method. Just select all teams needing deleted, then choose Delete from the ribbon menu.
3. restore a deleted team
If you make a mistake, your Microsoft 365 global admin can restore the team via the Microsoft 365 admin center. If that happens to be you as well, you can go to the M365 admin center, select Groups > Deleted groups, select the deleted team, then Restore group.
4. archive a team
Archiving a team is similar to deleting a team. You’ll navigate to the Teams admin center > Teams > Manage teams. Then select the team(s) to archive, and select Archive from the ribbon menu.
As reminded during the next step, team owners (and Teams admins) can still make changes to team membership, but all team activity is frozen. You can also choose whether to make the SharePoint site read-only (otherwise, allow continued activity like file additions and edits).
Archiving is a good option if you’re not sure you can delete a team just yet. It’s also a nice way to preserve team activity and artifacts at the conclusion of a collaborative project.
You can unarchive a team by selecting it in the Admin center and choosing Unarchive from the ribbon menu.
5. rename a team
When Teams is first deployed, it’s tempting for users with appropriate permissions to create teams right away without guidance or best practices. This can lead to teams with silly names, typos, inconsistent conventions (such as HR-Admin and Human Resources Benefits), etc.
As an admin, you can rename existing teams as part of your cleanup and planning for the future. Having teams named in a way that demonstrates appropriate naming conventions helps your organization’s users know what’s correct and appropriate moving forward. It also gives you an opportunity to communicate to existing team owners and let them know why you’re renaming the team and what conventions will be used going forward.
You can rename a team from the Teams admin center > Teams > Manage teams. Then select a team, choose Edit from the ribbon menu, rename the team, and apply your changes. 5
Note that renaming a team does not change that team’s SharePoint site URL. A name change for a team is mostly cosmetic so that existing links aren’t broken upon change. For this reason, it’s important to communicate proper naming conventions to team creators so that teams are created with compliant names from the very beginning and will match their site URLs.
While this post focuses on very specific topics (finding, deleting, archiving, etc.), the larger idea here is effective administration of Teams in your organization. Knowing what actions are available to you will help you in decision-making and strategizing with your peers to create a clean and consistent Teams experience for all of your users.
We often hear the word governance thrown around when talking about Teams best practices. Knowing how to analyze all of your organization’s teams and implement consistent practices going forward is an important part of your organization’s Teams governance. Be sure to document your decisions and create routine procedures and policies so you don’t end up with another mess of teams 6 months from now. Create a plan today and share it with those who will be responsible for executing it.