What’s in a Name? | Microsoft Teams Naming Convention Tips

Here at PixelMill, we collaborate with clients and partners every day in Microsoft Teams (Teams). All communication previously took place over long email threads and meetings. Since we moved to Microsoft Teams, ~96% of our interactions are within the platform. Ensuring that we are communicating in the proper team and providing a quick and easy method to discover and use these teams is essential. So how do we know that we are in the right team and channel? Naming conventions to the rescue!  

It’s important to remember that Teams are using Microsoft 365 Groups (i.e. Office 365 Groups), so if a team name is not available it may be because the Group already exists. To view everything you get when creating a team visit:  https://www.jumpto365.com/tools/teams-teams. 

PixelMill’s Naming Convention History | From the Wild, Wild West to Success! 

When we first rolled out Teams, I admit we dove in headfirst and ventured into the wild west. Organically our internal governance grew as we started to use Teams daily. Slowly we moved out of internal emails, migrated from Dropbox, moved out the old SharePoint sites, and before we knew it our day was and is now spent primarily in Teams.   

As our clients moved over to Microsoft 365 and expanded their digital workspace, we shifted as well. We found this was an excellent opportunity to introduce our clients to Teams, and with this, our naming convention started to evolve. 

The naming conventions within Teams and for both teams and channels should fit your company’s culture. 

When we invited clients and partners into our Teams, we had to consider how we were going to interact internally and externally with guest users. We had to give the team a name that users could easily understand so they knew right away which set of people you were communicating with. Keep in mind that when you create a team, you also create a SharePoint team site, so you want to make sure the name you use also makes sense on the URL side.  

Our Internal Teams:  

Previously we had one team with channels for each client/partner project. As the number of projects with each client/partner grew, we found the need to create an internal team and keep all projects and files under one team. We started to use a naming prefix “INT” for “Internal” teams with channels for each project.   

Our External Teams: 

These teams include our delivery team members and external guest users (clients/partners). These teams are called Client_Name or Partner_Name, and within those Teams, we have channels for each ongoing project.  

With the right prefix, it’s easy to see that INT_Name is PixelMill only, while Client_Name or Partner_Name includes our delivery team as well as guests.    

Every company should have a reliable naming convention for teams that help your users quickly identify the type of team.  We have also seen a suffix such as +G or _G for teams that allow / have guests, and +P or _P for public teams. 

Some common examples for Teams could include the following:  

  • Internal client team – INT_ClientName 
  • External client team – Client_Name 
  • External partner team – Partner_Name 
  • Internal partner team _ INT_PartnerName 
  • Region Department Team – US_HR or US_Name 

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

Since I am mainly in charge of creating and setting up our company’s teams, I like to make sure I include our client’s logo on the Client_Name. The client logo, along with the prefix, provides that cue that this Team has guests.  

There are many ways of using prefix’s and suffix’s to name your team. It all depends on the size of your team users, your company, and other company culture. Keep in mind that you can also use a prefix on the channel name. I would suggest to keep it on the simple side, so you do not end up with crazy prefix and suffix on the name that no longer represents what the actual channel was about.  

Using a prefix and suffix will help keep your Teams environment manageable, while using your organizations folksonomy. 

If you only take one thing away from this post, it’s the importance of setting this structure and enforcing it early on so you don’t end up with the wild west.  

Common structures include the following: 

  • Prefix: 
    • Type of team, i.e. for a project (prj), org wide (org), region (reg), or use a one letter code for the type of team, i.e. P, O, R, etc. 
    • Department or function group, i.e. HR, IT, Sales, Marketing (Mrk), etc. 
    • Include the region as a second prefix. 
    • Type of team, such as Client, Partner, etc. 
    • Examples:  
      • PRJ_Project X 
      • P_USCAN_Project X 
      • ORG_Town Hall 2020 Q3 
      • ORG_Sales_Outside Sales 
      • HR_US_Benefits 
      • Partner_AvePoint 
  • Suffix: 
    • +P – public team 
    • +G – guests allowed 
    • Examples 
      • PRJ_Project X+G 
      • P_USCAN_Project X+P 
      • ORG_Town Hall 2020 Q3+P 
      • Client_Contoso+G 

Other considerations: 

  • Reserve primary department, division, and region names, such as HR, IT, etc. 
  • Limit total teamname length to 20-30 characters. With longer prefix and/or suffix, you may need to allow more characters. 
  • Document your naming conventions for your organization, with specific examplesPublish this documentation within Teams so that team creators can easily reference the material. 
  • Consider Azure Group Naming Policies, though this may require additional licensing.  

To learn more check out these sites as well: 

Are you ready to dive into Microsoft Teams, but don’t know where to start? 
PixelMill offers several Strategy and Implementation services to help you set your organization up for success. Let’s chat today! 

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