Ownerless Microsoft 365 SharePoint Sites Q&A

Recently Microsoft announced a new feature – “Manage ownerless Microsoft 365 groups and teams“. Very nice. A long awaited functionality.

Question: Why it is important?
Answer: Because many other “governance” activities (e.g. retention policies) rely on site/team ownership. I.e., before we notify site owner that the site is going to be deleted due to inactivity – we want an owner present.

Question: Is it about groups ownership or sites ownership?
Answer: Group ownership and group-based sites ownership (teams, yammer etc.). Non-group based aka Standalone sites (e.g. communication) are not in scope of this feature/policy.

Question: Who can configure this policy? What kind of permissions required to create/update policy?
Answer: “Manage Microsoft 365 groups” permissions required – e.g. admins with roles “Teams administrator” or “SharePoint Administrator” can configure the policy.

Question: What if somebody created a group but did not add any members?
Answer: so the policy will not work – as there is nobody who can be a new owner

Question: How do we know the group is ownerless? An owner has beed deleted from AAD? What if an owner blocked? Unlicensed?
Answer: blocked or unlicensed users are still users; so the policy will be triggered if the group owners list is empty.

Question: How do we handle ownerless standalone non-group sites?
Answer: You can convert an orphan standalone site to a group-based site. The rest is already taken care of.

Question: What if nobody respons? “Active members” will be getting e-mails like “Need your help with $Group.Name group. You’re receiving this email because you’ve been an active member of the group that currently does not have an owner…”, but what if all of them will ignore it as nobody wants to be reponsible?
Answer: We really hope that magority of group will get a new owners. But if not – there are some possible options:
– Option 1: Admins can configure the policy with more pressure on groups members: “if nobody accept ownership – the group and site will be deleted..”
– Option 2: Admins can take care of groups manually or archive or delete them
– Option 3; User 3-rd party tools – e.g. with Syskit Point you can enforce minimum or maximum number of owners and configure a workflow that can reach manager or special team to assign a new owner.

Question: We have implemented Azure AD Settings “EnableGroupCreation” and “GroupCreationAllowedGroupId” (as per Microsoft: Manage who can create Microsoft 365 Groups), so not everyone can create m365 groups. Would this impact ownerless groups policy? In other words – if a users cannot create group – if this can keep them from being assigned as owners?
Answer: No. Microsofts’ Manage who can create Microsoft 365 GroupsĀ trick regulates groups creation only. Leter – when a group is created – nothing prevents existing group owner add them as an additional or sole group owners.

Question: Are external users able to own the group?



Note: do not be confused with SharePoint content databases related known problem – orphanage sites – that impacts SharePoint on-prem patching process – described here or here.



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