SharePoint & Microsoft Resources

Migrating to Microsoft Teams – 5 Point Plan

By Alex Graves, Managing Director, Co-Founder

Migrating to Microsoft Teams – 5 Point Plan

Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace that brings your organisation, your clients and your partners together to collaborate and communicate in an open, digital environment. If you have made the decision to move to Teams you may well be staring at your SharePoint libraries, or your on-premises file-shares and wondering how you are going to tackle the task.

Fortunately, the SharePoint Migration Tool is available for Microsoft 365 users to support you in migrating lists or files from any of these sources – whether they are a small set of files or large-scale enterprise migration – into either SharePoint, OneDrive or Microsoft Teams in Microsoft 365.

But whether you are migrating from SharePoint or any other source – and whatever the size of your migration – you will need to ensure that you manage your project from end-to-end with eyes on a complete and successful adoption of Teams.

Here’s our no-fail, tried-and-tested, five-point plan to a successful Teams Migration:

First – Define and Engage Your Stakeholders

Your stakeholders are the lynchpin of your migration’s success. You’ll need a fully engaged project team to ensure that your project delivers accurately and on time but – even more importantly – you need stakeholders across your organisation bought into Teams. It’s these users and influencers who will guarantee long term adoption and full realisation of all the benefits the platform brings.

Start, therefore, with a sponsorship coalition made up of executive and project sponsors who are both interested in the project’s success and can influence its outcome. C-level, Function Leaders, Division Heads… these are the ladies and gentlemen whose buy-in is vital to make Teams part of your business culture.

You will also need a clearly delineated and engaged project team, with well-articulated and bought-into roles for all the individuals responsible for ensuring technical and user readiness. These are the people who will design and complete the tasks outlined in the project plan.

The project manager sits between these groups, ensuring that the planned tasks are delivered on time and the coalition is kept informed and engaged from the outset and throughout.

Second – Define Your Scope – and Make It Meaningful

Aim high. Outline what your wider vision is for the migration project. This ‘big picture’ goal should sketch out what you are trying to achieve by doing the project. This could be something as simple as delivering cost savings through file management efficiencies, or as culture changing as bringing remote business units together to collaborate on cross-discipline innovation. Whatever the vision, you should explore the business and user drivers with equal emphasis, look at the challenges or current business challenges you are looking to overcome and be clear about the measures of this success (£s saved? Engagement score?).

With this in place, now you can define your project scope. This is what you are doing to work towards the vision at this time. In the context of a migration to Teams you need to decide at this point

  1. a) if your project needs to address the various coexistence modes (i.e. if you currently use Skype for Business) and what the best way is for Skype for Business and Teams to coexist before you move to Teams, and
  2. b) whether you should conduct a pilot to validate technical and user readiness in your organisation.

Finally, make the scope meaningful by defining the success you are targeting with your project goals.

Assign objectives and key results (OKRs), and SMART key success indicators (KSIs) to the detailed scope of your project. These lay out how you will know if your deliverables have successfully landed. Here project stakeholder support and buy-in is essential as it gives them a sense of ownership. Within your sponsorship coalition you need the commitment to provide the resources and drive the priorities, and across your project team you need an understanding of what ‘good’ looks like.

In your Teams migration project these may look something like this:


Pilot Teams alongside Skype for Business, in collaboration-only mode


FY19Q2: 500-user pilot conducted and completed


  • Identify pilot users
  • Create a pilot test plan
  • Enable pilot users on Teams
  • Implement the pilot
  • Execute a pilot feedback survey
  • Measure pilot success

Third – Prepare Your Team for Microsoft Teams

Early, clear and consistent communication is vital to assure a successful transition to Microsoft Teams. The tools are intuitive, straight forward and highly engaging but that doesn’t mean that employees don’t need to be eased into the change.

Getting people to change the way they work is often a challenge. Start by taking time to understand how your users work now and, from the outset, design a readiness plan that reflects how they will use the new technology, how they adapt to change and what communication is best for them. You may want to define different user groups who will use Teams in a different way – or for whom this method of collaboration is more of a significant change – and design different onboarding plans for each.

Your user readiness plan should be developed in parallel with your technical activity (never wait until transition to start your communication) and will consist of awareness, then training, and finally support activities that maintain contact after the migration has completed.

Fourth – Phase Your Rollout

Take it slow and steady. Give yourself the chance to test-and-trial with a pilot rollout ahead of the broader launch. Your pilot should involve actual users and can help you tap into the way they actually communicate and collaborate to verify both technical and user experiences of Teams and help inform your wider rollout communications and approach.

Sometimes considered Phase 1 of a rollout, the ideal pilot leverages the preparation you’ve already started and implements your defined plan with a targeted group of users.

Outline the pilot you want to conduct with, again, clearly defined goals for measuring success, a clear set of users and a set duration. A reasonable pilot length for a Teams migration project is around 30 days.

Fifth – Monitor, Optimise and Enjoy

Once you have completed your rollout, and all your users have been onboarded you enter probably the most critical phase for determining success – or failure. As excitement wanes and the ‘thrill of the new’ is replaced with familiarity and – potentially – frustration that things are ‘not like we used to do it’…  this is time to stay alert for roadblocks to success.

As you operate and support your Teams platform, ensure you monitor not just the technical performance but also the user engagement, – and how tech issues can affect this!

Encourage user adoption and maintain excitement for Teams with an ongoing adoption plan, which can include:

  • Enlisting peer champions to help evangelize and encourage fellow users.
  • Implementing an adoption and change management strategy, which includes assigning champions at different levels in the organisation and maintaining a level of senior sponsorship to model usage behaviour.
  • Let Microsoft help you with their kits and guides to adoption and success
    Microsoft 365 Adoption Guide
    Teams Customer Success Kit

And Finally – Be Ready For Continuous Improvement

Teams and Microsoft 365 roadmaps continue to unfold, with new functionality dropping on a regular basis. You will need to have a change cycle established in your organisation to stay up to speed and continue to gain maximum value from Microsoft 365 and Teams.

Simply ensure that the principles of your migration continue to flow through your operation. Assign clear roles – champions in both technical CI and user adoption; define the success for every upgrade – and measure the results; engage stakeholders across the organisation with the continual benefit you and your teams are seeing from the tools.

Microsoft Teams can change the way your business communicates, collaborates and … works! For the better. And with a successful, well-run migration you can start reaping the benefits from launch.

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