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A Handy Microsoft Teams Migration Checklist & Guide

IR Team

Written by IR Team


The geographical distribution of today’s workplace calls for diversity, speed, and utmost ease of collaboration in just a few clicks. We need flexible communication tools, and intuitive workspace design, with plenty of scope for customization and integration. And that's just for starters.

Most used features in collaboration softwareImage source: SoftwareAdvice

The communication tools we deploy need to be user-friendly, align with business goals, and include the co-operation of all stakeholders within an organization. These are basic but critical requirements for a business to succeed in the modern world.

One of the biggest challenges companies face when implementing new tools or software is getting teams on board to use it. Secondly, getting the software to work as it needs to involves constant vigilance by organizations, such is the case when undertaking a software exchange or migration project.

Biggest challenges of collaboration softwareImage source: SoftwareAdvice

Destination Microsoft Teams

Many companies who were using Skype for Business Online (SFBO) as their primary collaboration platform before it was retired in 2021, will probably have migrated to Microsoft Teams.

This made perfect sense if their business was already using Microsoft Office 365. Other companies may have migrated to Microsoft Teams from competitor products. And others are making Microsoft Teams available as one collaboration tool in their multi-vendor UC ecosystems.

Microsoft teams destination

Many businesses have successfully migrated from SFBO, using third party migration tools or the Microsoft Teams migration tool, and are enjoying the benefits. But migrations are complex, time and resource consuming, and usually trial-and-error.

Office 365 and Microsoft 365 explained

It's easy to see why many users confuse the terms Office 365 and Microsoft 365. So we'll just clear that up.

Microsoft 365 ecosystem

Office 365 is a cloud-based suite of apps and services that focuses on business productivity. Most people are completely familiar with the apps Microsoft Outlook, Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Depending on the plan you get, subscriptions also include apps and services like:

  • Teams

  • SharePoint

  • OneDrive

  • Excel

  • Yammer

...and much more.

Office 365 apps

While Microsoft provides support and various upgrade options to make any migration to Microsoft Teams as seamless as possible, there are always challenges when introducing new technology. As usage continues to grow worldwide, migration between different teams or from different collaboration systems is becoming a more common requirement.

In this guide, we'll walk through the main things to consider during a migration project. We'll also cover the Microsoft Teams migration tool, vs third party migration tools, whether you're a new Teams user, or whether you already have the Teams app and want to migrate teams data from one tenant to another.

Table of Contents

> Overview

> Why do I need this checklist?

> The Challenges of Teams Migration

> Checklist for destination Teams

> Define your migration goals

> Engage and prepare for migration

> Design

> Deploy and adopt

> Monitor and Optimize

> Conclusion








Download a PDF copy of the Microsoft Teams deployment checklist

Microsoft Teams Overview

Microsoft Teams is a teamwork hub that combines chat, calling, video meetings, file sharing and plenty more, within a single integrated application. Its vision, when first released in 2017, was to provide intelligent communications within Microsoft 365 through a single hub designed specifically for teamwork, conversations, meetings, Office apps and third-party integration.

Microsoft announced in 2022 that Teams had 270 million users, up from 145 million in 2021, making it by far the most popular communication and collaboration platform in the world, and greatly outperforming Slack’s 18 million active users.

Microsoft teams users

Image source: Statista

Teams brings together all the elements for chat, calling, collaboration, video conferences, and file sharing and storage in a single interface. Microsoft is continually expanding and upgrading Teams’ capabilities in innovative ways, breaking through organizational and geographical barriers to drive efficiency in process and decision making.

Why Do I Need This Migration Checklist?

Whether you're an existing Microsoft Teams user, or are undertaking a tenant migration, the process is more complex than just the technical part of the migration. There are two methods you can use to migrate; automation or manual.

There will be changes in how users communicate and collaborate. There will be new aspects to learn, so organizations need to create a supportive environment and acknowledge that change in the workplace is not always easy, and people within your organization are important.

The ideal way to migrate Microsoft Teams is to look at the technical aspects, while actively encouraging user acceptance and adoption. This is the best way to create a positive user experience and optimize your outcome.

The challenges of Teams migration

Migrating Teams content is not straightforward, and many companies provide third party tools that profess to make the process easier. Moving files and data from SharePoint sites, managing shared files between source teams and destination tenant, dealing with time constraints and keeping track of all your files can be somewhat overwhelming.

But whether you use third party tools or the tools provided by Microsoft, it's a good idea to look at the main challenges and address those first before you migrate teams from one tenant to another:

There are plenty of Microsoft 365 tenant to tenant migration tools that can securely consolidate and migrate of all your data. Some leading software providers will facilitate the transfer of SharePoint content, retrieve Office 365 Groups, and avoid data duplication.

Microsoft Teams migration

Image source: Perficient

Challenge 1: Lack of pre-planning. One of the most common issues in tenant migration is not undertaking a structural review of your existing teams and chats, and deciding what to bring from your source tenant to your destination Teams tenant.

Solution: To ensure that every user has what they need to succeed in their new Teams environment, make a list of your existing teams and channels and solicit help or input from each team member who may be affected. Be certain about where everything is stored.

Teams data storage locations

Image source: Sharegate

Just like moving house, it's important to have a clean-out of the things you don't need. Take inventory, and decide what files and data needs to be moved, where it's located, who has access to that content and will the same teams need access in a new environment.

Challenge 2: Ensuring teams have proper permissions and membership. When you migrate Microsoft Teams from one tenant to another, you'll need to ensure that all of your membership and permissions data makes it to the new tenant with everything intact.

Solution: If you're carrying out a manual migration, you’ll need to create a list of existing Microsoft Teams permissions in your source tenant including external users. To export these, you can use a third-party tool to automatically map users at the new destination, so that you can be sure the right people have access.

For example, to make conversation history viewable for team members, save it as a document and upload it to the 'general' folder in the team's associated SharePoint site to make it visible in the team's 'file' tab. Repeat this step for every team you want to migrate.

Challenge 3: Underestimating the time and effort involved. Undertaking a migration plan will be different from one company to the next. So it's important to consider the size of your enterprise and the resources needed vs the effect of any potential downtime during execution of the project.

Solution: Testing is the most effective way to determine the time it will take to migrate to another tenant, and what type of challenges you could face as you migrate. For example, take a folder or storage file with contents of at least 1 GB and migrate it to see how long it takes. If 1 GB of data takes an hour to migrate, you can make a general assumption that your content will transfer at a rate of 1 GB per hour.

Challenge 4: Risks of data loss and downtime. One costly side-effect of a migration plan can be the security of your data.

Solution. The risk of data loss is always present, but increases when moving larger volumes of data at once. Migrating data in smaller stages or phasing your migration may seem more time-consuming, but can help to identify and solve any errors during the project. Additionally, with the help of a third party migration tool, you can ensure a seamless migration with accurate data mapping and minimal loss of data and downtime.

Architecture approach for migration

Image source: Microsoft

Your checklist for destination Teams

Once you've considered the challenges and addressed those, it's time to put your plans in place step-by-step. This checklist refers to businesses migrating from another platform, but can be applied to tenant migration or any project to migrate teams.

Define your migration goals

What are trying to achieve above and beyond what your existing platform had to offer?

▢ Identify what you are trying to achieve with the migration

▢ Identify the workplace scenarios that will benefit most from Microsoft Teams.

▢ Where do you plan to improve operations, strategic initiatives or transformation projects?

▢ Consider conducting a pilot to determine readiness for Microsoft Teams within the company

▢ Assign Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) and Key Success Indicators (KSIs) to the scope of your plan. This will determine if your deliverables have been achieved.

▢ Understand the Microsoft Teams features your company will deploy, such as telephony solutions, chat functions, document storage in the SharePoint site, online video calling, conferencing, meetings and screen sharing etc.

Engage & Prepare for migration

It’s important to allow adequate time for on-boarding all stakeholders

▢ Define all team administrators and assign project team members accountable for driving migration success including admins, tech leaders and help-desk

▢ Prepare a readiness plan for users to define how you will communicate, train and support users.

▢ Prepare your network to handle Microsoft Teams workloads.

▢ Set up and configure and organize Microsoft 365 or Office 365, SharePoint content, Exchange Online and OneDrive for Business.

▢ Make sure all users have Microsoft Teams licenses. 


Test technical deployment and network architecture by conducting a user pilot to evaluate Microsoft Teams as a viable solution.

▢ Outline pilot logistics, ensuring the right stakeholders are on board. This is also where you design your test plan and feedback survey.

▢ Assess the outcome and evaluate whether your company is ready for a broad deployment of an extended pilot, or do you need to add additional users. If the right outcomes weren't achieved, make appropriate adjustments and revisit.

▢ Identify what security, governance and rights management will be required to ensure secure data.

▢ Define firewall rules, SIP Trunks, accounts and certificates for each use case.

Deploy & Adopt

Once you understand who your users are and how they will use the technology it’s time to move to the deployment and adoption stage.

In every scenario you will need to:

▢ Give users guidance on available Microsoft Teams clients and device compatibility.

▢ Identify and leverage internal influencers to encourage the adoption of Microsoft Teams.

▢ Decide on governance (naming conventions; or who can create teams). Every account in Microsoft Teams uses Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) for identity management.

▢ Consider any relevant limitations and specifications like the maximum number of members in a team.

Deploying teams guide

Image source: Keifer Consulting

Monitor & optimize your Teams environment with IR Collaborate

An optimal operation plan depends on monitoring your environment for health and quality so you can keep up momentum to ensure a positive end user experience.

▢ Define how you are measuring success.

▢ Develop an awareness and adoption strategy for all users.

▢ Create an interactive feedback process to allow evaluation for each new site or group.

▢ When problems arise, invest in the right tools to quickly pinpoint, and resolve them.

▢ Implement a performance monitoring solution to enable you to proactively and pre-emptively detect problems and create alerts before they impact users.

▢ Optimize your Microsoft Teams environment by using IR Collaborate to monitor, report, troubleshoot and analyze all aspects of your ecosystem in real time, 24/7.

Watch our Webinar

Microsoft Teams Reporting in Hybrid World


Technology is undergoing a constant, dynamic growth cycle. Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 roadmaps will continue to evolve, adding value to your organization’s communication and collaboration infrastructure.

Read our guide 'Reviewing your Microsoft Teams Migration Project'

Microsoft Teams provides a number of Microsoft and third-party apps to help engage users and support productivity, as well as integrating commonly used business services into Microsoft Teams.

By using IR Collaborate as a third-party performance management tool to monitor and troubleshoot what can be a complex communications environment, you’re ensuring your Microsoft Teams migration will be seamless and painless.

Microsoft Teams and Real Time Visibility

Watch the Webinar

Download a PDF copy of the Microsoft Teams deployment checklist

Topics: Communications Performance management Proactive troubleshooting UCaaS management High availability Migration, deployment and adoption Operational costs Microsoft Skype Microsoft Teams Collaborate

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