The issue with channel sites (private and shared channels in Teams)

Copper Contributor



I'd like to know of your opinions, experiences, practices, decisions you've made concerning private and shared channels in teams.


In my company, we are progressively migrating to Teams from Webex. Users have started creating private and shared channels.


My own practice and recommendation to users has been to get a new team created when a different list of users need private access to conversations or documents, instead of a private or shared channel.


My reasons are as follow:

  • Rigidity: The SharePoint channel site created cannot follow its own direction if needs arise. It is locked with the parent site. Say we want to reorganize teams and work units, and we want to join a SharePoint channel site with a another hub − we can't, at least not easily. And now the rigidity of subsites is brought back! And anyway, the conversations are also locked with the parent team! It can't be made independent.
  • Lack of control: Control is removed once again from us, the admins − Microsoft loves to allow users to do everything they want and foster chaotic environments. We have disabled group creation and sites creation for all but a few in order to manage the information environment, try to restrict the scattering of important documents, and make things clearer for users. But with private and shared channels, end users can now create new SharePoint sites. As the documents management specialist, I can't easily see where documents end up. And when I export the list of sites to Excel, the channel sites don't appear! So I can't really see which sites take a lot of storage space.
  • Lack of features: Let's say the management team of a department created a private channel for management topics in the department team, and after several months of active use, they now decide they'd like to manage tasks in Planner − tasks that should be private to the management team. They can't, should have created a M365 group for that! Once again, it is rigid.
  • Troubles for the admin: I want to apply a change to all SharePoint sites − so I type a PowerShell command that will apply to all sites. But it won't apply to all sites: not the channel sites. Also, ShareGate can't seem to get the access matrix of channel sites − it returns errors for them.

However, when I turn to the Web for advice with this issue, I only find appreciation for private and shared channels, and none of my concerns addressed. Apparently, they allow to avoid the multiplication of teams. However, I'm not sure how multiplying channels is better than multiplying teams. With both teams and channels, users can hide or show them, and as a team always have a channel, they can disable notifications.


Maybe I should just deal with and accept the rigidity, lack of M365 features and troubles for the admin. Maybe I should approach the control of the information architecture and documents differently.


What is your view on that? Did you have any issues with channel sites, and if yes, how do you deal with them? Did you discourage or prevent the creation of private and shared channels? Have you reconsidered your decision? Do you see private and shared channels as a very useful feature, and if so, why? I'm interested in all experiences on this topic and I'm thankful for all answers.

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