Leaving the organization gracefully

We all know that your personal mailbox, agenda and personal documents will be deleted some time after you leave the organization.

But recently we have seen that more and more team content is stored (and automagically shared) on personal OneDrives, which means that when someone leaves, that shared content will be deleted and lost.
Owners may not be aware that they are the owner of the video, file or Whiteboard, and that these resources live on their OneDrive.
Colleagues of leaving employees may be in for several unpleasant surprises.

I tried to compile a list of things to look for, so if you are the leaver, you can check these items and decide if they needed to be handed over. You will save your colleagues, your manager and your Microsoft365 admins a lot of hassle!

Yes, the manager will have control of your OneDrive for some time after you have left, but

  • do they know enough about the details of your work to know what to keep and what to let go?
  • do you really want to burden them with this?
  • do you want to leave your remaining colleagues in the dark about team stuff?

If you know that a colleague is leaving, you may want to help him/her with checking NOW which content you need after they have gone.

Step 1: Teams Meetings

Are you the organizer of a regular Teams meeting? The meetings will keep running, but nobody will be able to change dates or times, add or delete invitees, or manage the meeting details. At this moment it is not possible to transfer the ownership, but I think that is in the Roadmap.
It is therefore important to either

  • Stop or cancel the meeting, and ask a colleague to re-schedule it. This will mean that meeting links and resources will change. This is the best suggestion for smaller meetings.
  • For meetings with many attendees, a collague can duplicate the event by opening the meeting, clicking on the … and then “Duplicate event”. The meeting will the be copied with the same invitees. The new owner can then remove the old organizer and make sure times and recurrence is OK. This will send a message to all people in the meeting, but in any case you do not have to add them all again.
    This will also change link and resources.
  • Check meeting chats for important files or attendee reports or recordings that needs to be safe-guarded in SharePoint.

Step 2: Regular files – copy or move to Teams/SharePoint or delete

  • Documents
  • Attachments (from Outlook)
  • Notebooks
  • Pictures
  • Office Lens
  • Transcribed files

Step 3: Special files

I have based this list on the various OneDrive folders as described in my earlier post “Who created those folders in my OneDrive?

Microsoft Teams Chat Files : everything you have shared in private chats

Do you realize that all those screenshots, funny videos and other stuff, that you have ever shared in a private chat (which means: not shared in a Teams channel) live on your OneDrive and will therefore be lost when you leave? It will not be big issue for that silly gif that made your colleague smile when they were feeling down, but there may be relevant documents or screenshots that your colleagues want to keep.

So, you can either check the Microsoft Teams Chat Files folder in your OneDrive, or scroll through your private chats. Upload the files to a relevant Teams/SharePoint site or send them as attachment to your colleagues. (Usually not recommended, but they will need their own document)

Now you will understand why Matt Wade, in his Definitive Guide to Everyday Etiquette in Microsoft Teams, says: “Work should not be completed in private chat”. (Page 14) ūüôā

Microsoft Teams Data: Meeting notes from Teams meetings

This contains the Meeting Notes you have created in Teams meetings. I personally do not use this very often to take notes, as I think the functionality is rather limited, but it is helpful in emergencies. Additionally, it does not open easily from OneDrive, I had to select an app to open it (it is an .mht file).

Do you have Meeting Notes that you would want to keep? Copy the text into a Word or OneNote document in the relevant Teams/SharePoint site.

Recordings: Videos from Teams meetings

Another shared resource that is being stored in a personal location. Make sure you move the video(s) that need to be kept to Stream or Teams/SharePoint.

Whiteboards: Sketching sessions (can be from Teams meetings)

At this moment Whiteboards are still stored in Azure, but they will follow the Recording path and be stored in the OneDrive of the person who creates the Whiteboard. This is expected to happen in October 2021, according to the Microsoft Roadmap.

I expect you will be able to copy/move Whiteboards, and I will update this post when I know more.

Step 4: Applications

Forms – the Forms themselves

Please check out my earlier post on how to handle Forms when you leave.

Forms – files from “File Upload” questions will be in a folder called Apps

If the Form will still be running after you leave, please move ownership of the Form to a relevant Teams/SharePoint site as mentioned above.
If you still need these uploaded files, whether the Form is still running or not, please move them to the appropriate Teams/SharePoint site.

This question type will create a folder in your OneDrive to store the documents – please make sure they are preserved if they are still needed!


Power Automate workflows are not stored in your OneDrive, but they are personal. Your Flow will keep running (if it is not something in your personal apps, of course) but if it needs an authentication, or needs an edit, it will need a new owner.

You can simply share the Flow with a colleague, so you co-own the Flow.

In your “My Flows” you can select the workflow and share it with your successor. Make sure they have permissions to the source info!

If you have not done that before you leave, your Administrator will be able to hand it over to your colleague. But hey, your Admin is usually busy enough and all those individual fixes take a lot of time! ūüôā

How to manage orphan flows when the owner leaves the organization (microsoft.com)


Do you have any instruction videos that may be useful later, or do you have any old meeting recordings that should be kept?
In Stream, go to “My content” and then “Videos” and see what needs to be transferred. Open the video in question, click the … and select “Update video details”. See screenshot.

More info: Permissions and privacy in Microsoft Stream – Office Support

Here’s how to start changing ownership of a video. Not the most obvious wording ūüôā


I do not have too much experience with PowerApps, so I have found a blog that explains how to transfer PowerApps: HOW TO: Change PowerApps Owner | Todd Baginski’s Blog


For lists in a SharePoint site, you do not necessarily have to change ownership, as generally all Owners will be owner of the List.

For personal lists, that live somewhere in your OneDrive, it may not be so easy. You will have to recreate the list in a SharePoint site. You can use the Excel file as a basis (see my earlier posts on the topic). I hope Microsoft will make moving a personal list to a SharePoint site easier in future!

SharePoint sites

Make sure you appoint another Owner if you are the only one (which is not a good idea, I always suggest to have at least 2 Owners for backup)

You may also want to check the permissions to content that is important for the team, and make sure it will still have an Owner after you have left. Appoint another Owner or, even better, make sure that the permissions of that content follows the permissions of the site.

Have I missed anything?

Or do you have any experiences or suggestions to share? Please let me know!

Update 7 June 2021:

Good addition from Loryan Strant, I do not have too much experience with the apps mentioned (except for OneNote, of course) but be aware if you are using them!

A little Bring-Your-Own Drama

BYODToday is going to be an exciting day! With my new iPad fashionably dressed for the occasion, I head into the office. Today we start Bring-Your-Own-Device to work! Although this saves my boss a lot of money, and sets me a back a large chunk of my paycheck, I can finally choose what I am going to work with. And my netbook and my desktop at home are both not suitable for work.

How wonderful it will be to work with one computer! No more struggling with Dropbox or USB sticks to transfer files from one place to the other; finally I can update software when it suits me. Never again will I be interrupted by a mandatory immediate reboot while in the middle of a Live Meeting training to 20 people across the world. (Yes, this has really happened).

My new colleague had already told me that she would not have accepted this job if she could not use her MacBook. I think that is rather a “spoiled brat” attitude. Work has different rules than play, however much the times and locations for work and play are being intermingled these days.
My other colleague has been grumbling for days because he is no longer entitled to a business laptop and is too stingy to buy something from his own money. So he has brought an old laptop that has been collecting dust in his attic for some time. Even the local charity does not want it anymore.

I have already checked my email on the train, so once settled, I decide to go to the intranet first. Now, what was that URL again? I have never had to remember that! After some typo’s I manage to log on smoothly. Hold on, what am I saying: LOG ON?¬†What has happened to Single-Sign-On? Do I need to log on every time from now on? That is not exactly progress!
The Homepage looks a little strange. Some¬†headers display differently than I am used to, and some texts that should be clickable, are not. But the document I am looking for in my department’s Team Site is still there, and I need to update it with the latest insights. Hey, why can’t I edit it? Oh wait, that can only be done if you have IE and Office.¬†Or¬†the SharePlus app, but does anyone know if that works with our¬†on-premise SharePoint?¬†I decide to download the document,¬†then edit and upload it again. Too bad¬†it loses its version history, but I can’t be bothered really; it has to be updated. This all takes more time than with my office laptop though.
Phew, typing texts with just a touchscreen is not that easy! Perhaps I should buy an extra keyboard if I have to write these large chunks of text.

When my document has been saved again, I check the status of my order in SAP. But why can I not log on to SAP? Let me call the Helpdesk.
“Which¬†system¬† and browser are you using? IOS? Safari? O, I am sorry, we are still learning about that. We are accustomed to Office and IE. Can you please call back in a week, we expect to have figured out all those new systems¬†by then.”

The order is not that urgent, so I decide to update my performance and development plan on the Employee Portal. I can’t seem to find the brand new instruction videos¬†that should be on the instructions page since last week. ¬†“Those are¬†in Flash”, the HR employee sobs when I call for enquiries.

At the coffee machine (iPad under my arm, because I am afraid to leave it on my desk unattended), I run into our Project Manager Green IT. He looks unhappy. “All my project goals are messed up”, he says, “we used to have a nicely uniform low energy consumption and now we have a zillion of different systems with different power usage…and everyone seems to be charging their devices continuously at the office.”
The Security Officer joins us with a tired face. “You do not want to know what I have seen in our systems”, he sighs. “People are using the¬†strangest software at home. It is a matter of hours before there will be a major issue. And think about all those unsecured Wifi connections that people will be using on trains and in restaurants, and all our business data being passed through unprotected systems. How can I still do my job?”
“You are not alone” I tell him. “Many people are thinking about the implications of BYOD“.

“But do you know what happens if my¬†iPad crashes, or is completely broken?” I ask them. “Will¬†the Helpdesk fix it? And do I get a temporary replacement?” They shake their heads, much to my annoyance. Their remark that, in case of loss or theft, they can remotely wipe my device and all its content, including my personal stuff, does not really make me any happier. “And”, the Security Officer adds, “if your phone or iPad or laptop¬†contains potential evidence in a lawsuit or investigation, you will have to hand it over for investigation. That may take some time, and they will have access to your personal¬†content too”.

Hmmm, I do not know if the price for “Bring Your Own Device” is not a little too high…

Of course the above story is entirely fictional. And while I am convinced that we can start today with Bring-Your-Own-Telephone to work,  I am also quite certain that at a lot of Silicon will have to run through the Valley before 100% Bring-Your-Own-Computer will be a realistic option in every organization.

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Training in a web conference

TrainingAlthough this example is actually about Live Meeting/Lync and not about SharePoint, is does illustrate my point that you can do more with your existing toolset than you think!

What was the problem?

One of our content experts needed to train about 150 people across Europe. She had always visited each country when there were a few people who needed training, but she was now looking for an option that would save time and money.

An official e-learning module was rather expensive, especially if it was for only 150 people.  Also, only an external person would be able to make adjustments to the module afterwards. And she did not need all the functionalities of a dedicated Learning Management System (LMS).

So we had to think of another way to meet her needs.

What is the solution?

We decided to use PowerPoint, a Team Site and a standard Live Meeting (web conferencing) with poll and recording functionalities.

To make her feel comfortable with the tool, we helped her with

  • setting up a meeting with the desired options
  • sending out custom invitations
  • creating and managing polls
  • handling the Q&A panel
  • looking at the meeting reports (attendees and poll results, which would serve as her “LMS”)
  • creating a¬† recording
  • a “dry run” to fix any functional issues she might encounter, and to give feedback on other aspects of the training
  • attendance at the¬†first¬†session to make sure she felt comfortable and could focus on the content of her training

The PowerPoint, the training schedule and the recording were stored in a Team Site, along with other content on the topic.

The different parts of the training



The different parts of the training



What are the benefits?

Of course this saves her time and money, but also

  • All trainees¬†can easily access the training, since there were no password barriers.
  • Doing¬†the training via Live Meeting enables her to have personal interaction with all attendees. This would not have been possible with an e-learning module.
  • The interaction and discussions are much richer than in her one-country-trainings, since every session attracts attendees¬†from different countries.
  • New employees have a faster learning curve because they can watch the recording as soon as they need it.
  • Giving this training several times, and analyzing the poll results, allows her to continuously and quickly adjust the training to the needs of the audience.
  • She¬†can make any changes herself – it just needs an update in the presentation and a new recording.

So, once again it shows you do not always need a lot of fancy new shiny software to be able to meet your business goals! Check what you already have at your disposal, use your creativity and off you go!

Do you have a good example of using web conferencing? Please share it!

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.


Here’s some experiences and thoughts from my 9 years as “Intranet/Digital Workplace¬†Adoption Manager” in an international company. I will focus on Sharepoint, since that is what we used, but I¬†am sure¬†you can translate my experiences and tips to other tools. Feel free to share your experiences or views here!