Insync Tech Talk , Tech Expert , | 2019/02/25 at 11:15pm

What happens when you take the Team out of Teamwork?

Loryan Strant

There are a number of ways for organisations to implement Microsoft Teams. Whichever way they choose, there are often a number of dependencies and pre-requisites in order to do it “properly”. The last word in that sentence is in quotation marks because it is subjective. My version of “properly” may not necessarily be yours. Or maybe your organisation doesn’t have the luxury of time. Or maybe someone installed Microsoft Teams, invited everyone, and now the cat is out of the bag.

On my blog I recently wrote a piece talking about how organisations can switch from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams without having to worry about any of the underlying components.

What I effectively advocated is a simple way to use the Microsoft Teams client as a replacement for Skype for Business, relying predominantly on the chat and calling capabilities of the application. This would allow organisations to move quickly without having to worry about SharePoint, Office 365 Groups, or a number of other integrated features and components.

My colleague Damien Margaritis recently wrote of another hybrid-style approach using “Meetings First” – effectively allowing organisations to stay on Skype for Business but use Microsoft Teams for meetings due to the improved performance, experience and functionality.

This scenario is especially useful in cases where organisations have on-premises deployments of Skype for Business Server where migrating away is not so easy due to third-party integrations or even just network challenges.

In my scenario I effectively avoid having users as members of Teams and subsequently Office 365 Groups. In Damien’s he talks about a best-of-both-worlds approach. Another best-of-both-worlds approach allows organisations and users to utilise the underlying Office 365 Groups functionality without being exposed to the potential of slipping and falling into the teamwork functionality offered by Microsoft Teams.

Before going on further I want to address a question you might be thinking: why do I appear so adamant to not give people access to the full suite of Microsoft Teams? Because not every organisation is ready for the potential firehose of functionality and change. Readiness comes not just in a technical form, but also a people form – and this is the most important. This isn’t just about training or digital literacy; this is actually about culture and foundations of how people work together as a team. Just because users are assembled in a team based on organisational structure or work assignment doesn’t mean they know how to work as a team. And when this is the case, any product applied as a fix will ultimately fail. Not only will it fail, but it will most likely make things worse. However, I digress, and we can talk about that another time.

What I’m about to show is how to remove Teams from Microsoft Teams.

Let’s start by looking at what the Microsoft Teams application looks like for the average user:


What I want to focus on is the “Teams” button in the left navigation area. Even if we don’t make people members of a Team they will still see that button, and the itchy trigger finger will remain. They’ll even start wondering what they’re missing out on.

To avoid this, we can actually delete the button entirely through the use of an App policy in the Microsoft Teams admin center by browsing to

What we’ll see is the out of the box policies:


We can either modify the existing Global policy, however my suggestion would be to create a new policy as it can be deleted later.

This new policy has all of the out-of-the-box apps we saw before:


Let’s go ahead and give it a name, a description, and select the Teams app:


Now let’s go ahead and hit the Remove button, which leaves us with this:


Let’s hit save, and then find someone to apply it to.

From the main policy screen, we select our policy and then click Manage users:


From here type in the user(s) you want, click Add, then press Save to complete the process.

It is important to note that the results won’t be instant. The policy can take up to 24 hours to update, and the user will still see the Teams app until the click to something else, but ultimately it should end up looking like this:


Congratulations, you’ve now effectively deployed Microsoft Teams but limits its functionality to be that of Skype for Business, but better!