In this blog post, we will learn how to apply naming conventions to our teams. As large organizations have special needs on what teams’ names would be in order to easily manage them, it’s essential for teams admins and even anyone who is working professionally with Microsoft 365 to know how it’s done.
The ability to apply naming convention to Microsoft Teams is done by applying a naming policy on groups in Azure. Once the policy is applied on the groups then any newly created team will be constrained by these rules. Any existing Microsoft Teams won’t be affected by these rules. Also note that in order to make this work, you will need to have Azure AD Premium P1 license (or EDU license).
Let’s have a fun scenario and say that in our organization, we would love that all newly created teams to be named as: Accountants-[Team Name] or Teams Developers-[Team Name]. Meaning that they should be prefixed by the person’s title + s-. How can this be done? This can be done by having a combination of an attribute prefix combined with a string prefix. So the combination of both would give us something such as [Job Title]s-[Team Name]. Note that I added an s to the job title as another prefix to achieve the s in Developers or Accountants.
In order to apply this policy, go to Microsoft Azure (portal.azure.com), and navigate to Azure Active Directory > Groups > Naming Policy
On the first tab, you can specify words that you want to be prevented from being part of your Team’s name. You can download the csv file, populate it with the required words, and reupload it again. Note that it’s not case sensitive, so if you add the word tips, TIPS will also be prevented from appearing in the team’s name, however tipss will be allowed.
Now click on the next tab that says Group naming policy, and here you can see we have 2 types, we have prefix and suffix, and under each one we can specify the policy to be based on free text (String) or based on user’s attribute. The attributes supported are shown in the dropdown list:
Note that not all user’s properties are supported and only 6 of them are at the time of this writing. Now to achieve our goal, we’ll have the first prefix as Attribute = Title, and the second prefix as s- so our newly created team would look like: Accountants-TeamName
Note that the prefixes and suffixes are applied in the order they’re listed here, by appending the latter to the previous prefix. Now save the changes and try to create a team. If you get an error like the one showed below that says: “The team prefix or suffix is incorrect, please try again”:
Don’t worry, as it takes some time for the changes to be applied. In my case it took around 10-15 minutes. Also note that if you’re testing with a global admin account then you won’t be affected by these policies and you can create teams with whatever names you want.
So with a regular user who’s title is Retail Manager, when creating a team, it will look like this for a team named Client Support:
The catch here is that this naming policy is done on the Azure groups themselves, which means if we try to create groups from another service, let’s say in Outlook, we’ll have the same constraints applied there as well: