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Groups vs Teams

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Stefanos Papadopoulos
Occasional Contributor

Groups vs Teams

I recently read the following blog Groups vs Teams which recomends that when utilising Groups and Teams, the best way to achieve optimal integration between the two is to first create a Team rather than creatng a Group first and then linking the Team to the Group on creation. Below are the reasons why the former is better:

 

However, the integration between the new Team and the existing Group has some gotchas:

  • Teams do not show existing file storage from the Group unless you add a SharePoint tab, which is confusing and adds extra tabs as you already have one for Files.
  • Teams do not display the existing Groups’ OneNote content, only the sections that were created for each channel
  • The existing Planner already in the Group is not accessible at all from the Teams interface
  • New Planner tasks created in separate channels within the Team do not show up in Groups or Planner

I've also been told subsequently that this blog is not factual and has provided the wrong advice. 

 

Could someone please clarify for me?

21 Replies

Re: Groups vs Teams

To be clear, the four bullet points you cited, apply in both cases, i.e when you create first a Group and after a Team connected to such Group and, conversely, when you create first the Team, thus creating automatically also a connected Group.

More in general, I won't get from the article you cited that it is always better to create a Team first: it depends...

Re: Groups vs Teams

@Salvatore Biscari -

 


@Salvatore Biscari wrote:

To be clear, the four bullet points you cited, apply in both cases, i.e when you create first a Group and after a Team connected to such Group and, conversely, when you create first the Team, thus creating automatically also a connected Group.

More in general, I won't get from the article you cited that it is always better to create a Team first: it depends...


I tend to disagree that it is the same both ways. My experience is that if I create a Team first I automatically have a group created and the planner and sharppoint components are automatically shared?

Does anyone have an architectural diagram or reference to one that shows what component across the Microsoft suit integrates with what and under what conditions?



 

Re: Groups vs Teams

I haven't said that it is the same in every aspect. I have rather said that the four bullet points apply in both cases.

For a general introduction to what you get upon Group creation, you can give a look, for example, to https://en.share-gate.com/blog/groups-for-office-365

Solution

Re: Groups vs Teams

I think the article captures some of the issues that do exist in the integration with Planner (in particular). As disclosed at Ignite, most of those issues will disappear soon through updates to Planner that will support multiple plans per group (it does today in Teams, but those plans don't appear in the Planner hub in the browser app). And by the way, you can absolutely show the default plan created for a group in Teams (see below). I do this to track the outstanding items (many) for the Office 365 for IT Pros ebook project...

TeamsOlan.jpgDefault plan created for an Office 365 Group shown in Teams

I don't think the point about the SharePoint tab is important because the Files tab points to the specific folder used to store documents shared in a channel whereas a SharePoint tab might bring users to any or all of the resources available in the SharePoint team site. The importance of this will vary on the usage of a channel - if document-centric, it might be important. For most, it probably won't.

 

The issue with OneNote is also, I think, due to be addressed soon. Again, its importance depends on how you use the tools. 

 

My view (as in https://www.petri.com/groups-and-teams-office365) is that the choice is tied to how you see Teams and Groups being used in the organization. If you are an email shop where your work focuses on Outlook, use Groups and create Groups through the apps that support group creation. On the other hand, if you're interested in the kind of communication in Teams and do not want to use email for some internal communication, use Teams and create whatever teams you want through the app. Remember that you always create an Office 365 Group for each team and that the integration between the two is getting better all the time. Remember too that Teams is going to replace the Skype for Business Online client gradually over the next few years, so that might affect your decision.

Re: Groups vs Teams

I think that the title of that article causes confusion, because these are not in competition with each other because you can't have a Team without a Group and the fact there is no Group app on the App Launcher.  

Re: Groups vs Teams

I agree, but unfortunately there have been so many twists and turns along this particular path that people often lose track of what is possible in Groups and what can be done in Teams and the very close interdependency between the two.

Re: Groups vs Teams

I'm currently trying to help a client figure out how to take advantage of this, along with Yammer, and preventing them from getting overwhelmed and confused is a big challenge :)

Re: Groups vs Teams

Yep. Add in the inner loop and outer loop discussion a la the latest Microsoft positioning and you can confuse them to your heart's content...

Re: Groups vs Teams

Thanks for this. I believe that Teams is the better option for our team as we are trying to move away from Outlook...

 

I personal prefer the collaboration and flexibility that Microsoft Teams provides as well as the view you shared around the integration of Skype for Business Online into Microsoft Teams as we use this extensively across the African continent.

Re: Groups vs Teams

With respect to moving away from Outlook, remember that the user mailbox will still be needed for calendar meetings and that Outlook or another email client will be needed for external and internal email communication. Teams has some limited email capabilities, but only for notifications and inbound email to channels. It is not a complete replacement for Outlook by any means.

Re: Groups vs Teams

Outlook still serves many purposes and many people like to get notifications from Teams and other systems in their email inbox. It is important to focus on the task that the user is attempting to perform and to help them learn. I'm working my clients to help them understand the benefits of collaborating in tools other than back and forth email (which many people still do). 

Re: Groups vs Teams

My experience is so far - Do not make groups first and then teams at least with the same name. If you do you will get two sites at Office365 [sites\yourGroupName] and [sites\YourTeamName] If both group and Team names are alike - office365 will make Sites\yourName and Sites\YourName2. You will see this referenced in URL. I have still to find out how to merge those two sites in our 365 organization. Site admin role not helps - or our site admin does not know his way around. /Henning

Re: Groups vs Teams

If you create an Office 365 Group, you can then team-enable the group and avoid the problem of having two groups/sites with the same name. I agree that allowing groups to have duplicate (display) names is confusing and wish that there were a setting to disable this for a tenant.

Re: Groups vs Teams

Hello you can read this article if you would like to do a governance for Teams and Groups.

You can create a Group of user who are authorized to create Groups and also Teams. 

https://support.office.com/fr-fr/article/Créer-modifier-ou-supprimer-un-groupe-de-sécurité-dans-le-c...

Re: Groups vs Teams = Channels vs No Channels

We are testing and preparing to enable GROUPS and TEAMS. In our discovery, proof-of-concept groups, the users are accessing their TEAM through TEAMS as well as GROUPS shown in Outlook. We may not want them to but they are. Maybe these two are meant to be mutually exclusive for some reaons but, as it is now, they are not and workspaces created via TEAMS are displayed in the list of GROUPS in Outlook, therefore, there's a significant point of confusion.

 

Here's what happens: they click on the Files tab in the GROUP and it shows all files with out the folders/channels. Not horrible except if they decide to upload a file from here, it is added without being in a folder which means it is not in a Channel in TEAMS. Then, if someone else looks for the newly uploaded file via TEAMS (which doesn't give you an option to view files that are not in a folder/channel, including the General tab/channel, they can't find the file and think it's not there. To see docs that are not in a folder/channel, the user has to know to open the site in SPO and click Documents in the breadcrumb. This is not going to fly. Either make the folders show in the GROUPS view of Files so the user is aware of the details for the library or make the view of files for the General channel point to the root of the library (meaning .../Shared%20Documents [seriously? Still putting a space and calling it Shared Documents in the URL? I thought this would be fixed by now!] which will show files not in folders as well as the folders/channels.

 

This is also the issue for Planner: Planner view in TEAMS assumes the channels; Planner view in GROUPS does not and does not offer the details for a user to know of the channels and the Planners therein.

 

Same is true for OneNote, sort of, except in this case, the link in GROUPS points to the Notebook in the Site Assets library and the one in TEAMS points to a notebook created (when you add the Tab to the TEAM) in the General channel/folder in the Documents library.

 

In general, files can easily be uploaded without a folder affiliation unless the users are VERY well educated and versed in how TEAMS and GROUPS is/isn't working consistently and logically together. Currently, the organization of the files heavily relies on the end-users awareness of what's happening behind the scenes. I don't know about others, but my end-users don't have nor want that level of understanding. They want things to work in a way that they DON'T have to think about the organizational assumptions and expectations for the depository and app---to them, if they do have to think about it, it's more of an annoyance and source of confusion and will revert to what they know. So much for innovation and new features... :( We may want users to go straight to TEAMS but it's not happening and won't for a long time. Outlook is much loved and is going to be the starting point for most users for a really long time so this reality needs to be embraced and accommodated if you want them to embrace the concept of GROUPS and TEAMS going forward.

 

I don't know who's responsibility this is at MS (TEAMS or GROUPS dev or both) but the experience/result received when clicking on the same tabs in either interface must match up/be consistent or adoption will be stopped dead in its tracks.

 

And, of course, if I'm totally missing the boat and these tabs are consistent between the two apps and I don't see it (or maybe my tenant isn't privy to the most recent updated and fixes), please set me straight, show me how to make sure they are consistent for all my end-users or, if not, offer a workaround and timeline for a fix. We won't be able to deploy GROUPS or TEAMS if this continues to be the end-user experience of these apps/services/features.

 

Thank you.

Re: Groups vs Teams = Channels vs No Channels


@Lisa Stebbins wrote:

We are testing and preparing to enable GROUPS and TEAMS. In our discovery, proof-of-concept groups, the users are accessing their TEAM through TEAMS as well as GROUPS shown in Outlook. We may not want them to but they are. Maybe these two are meant to be mutually exclusive for some reaons but, as it is now, they are not and workspaces created via TEAMS are displayed in the list of GROUPS in Outlook, therefore, there's a significant point of confusion.

 

TR: Soon you will be able to hide groups that you want to use with Teams from OWA and the other Outlook clients. See https://www.petri.com/hiding-office-365-groups-exchange-clients 

 

After you hide the groups from Outlook, users will only be able to access the group through Teams.

 

Here's what happens: they click on the Files tab in the GROUP and it shows all files with out the folders/channels. Not horrible except if they decide to upload a file from here, it is added without being in a folder which means it is not in a Channel in TEAMS. Then, if someone else looks for the newly uploaded file via TEAMS (which doesn't give you an option to view files that are not in a folder/channel, including the General tab/channel, they can't find the file and think it's not there. To see docs that are not in a folder/channel, the user has to know to open the site in SPO and click Documents in the breadcrumb. This is not going to fly. Either make the folders show in the GROUPS view of Files so the user is aware of the details for the library or make the view of files for the General channel point to the root of the library (meaning .../Shared%20Documents [seriously? Still putting a space and calling it Shared Documents in the URL? I thought this would be fixed by now!] which will show files not in folders as well as the folders/channels.

 

TR: The easy solution to this problem is to create tabs in the channels to point to the default document library used by Office 365 Groups. That's what I have done in situations where I wanted to transform an Office 365 Group into a Team.

 

This is also the issue for Planner: Planner view in TEAMS assumes the channels; Planner view in GROUPS does not and does not offer the details for a user to know of the channels and the Planners therein.

 

TR: I believe that the problem you're referring to is that Teams supports several plans per group/channel whereas Office 365 Groups uses the model of a single plan per group. That issue is due to be changed, However, you can open Teams-created plans in Planner (for web) - see https://support.office.com/en-us/article/use-planner-in-microsoft-teams-62798a9f-e8f7-4722-a700-27dd...

 

Same is true for OneNote, sort of, except in this case, the link in GROUPS points to the Notebook in the Site Assets library and the one in TEAMS points to a notebook created (when you add the Tab to the TEAM) in the General channel/folder in the Documents library.

 

In general, files can easily be uploaded without a folder affiliation unless the users are VERY well educated and versed in how TEAMS and GROUPS is/isn't working consistently and logically together. Currently, the organization of the files heavily relies on the end-users awareness of what's happening behind the scenes. I don't know about others, but my end-users don't have nor want that level of understanding. They want things to work in a way that they DON'T have to think about the organizational assumptions and expectations for the depository and app---to them, if they do have to think about it, it's more of an annoyance and source of confusion and will revert to what they know. So much for innovation and new features... :( We may want users to go straight to TEAMS but it's not happening and won't for a long time. Outlook is much loved and is going to be the starting point for most users for a really long time so this reality needs to be embraced and accommodated if you want them to embrace the concept of GROUPS and TEAMS going forward.

 

TR: Maybe you should stick with Office 365 Groups if Outlook is so embedded in the organizational culture. Teams is a radically different paradigm to Outlook, so I would hesitate to rush to embrace it if Outlook is the preferred desktop client.

 

I don't know who's responsibility this is at MS (TEAMS or GROUPS dev or both) but the experience/result received when clicking on the same tabs in either interface must match up/be consistent or adoption will be stopped dead in its tracks.

 

TR: The two apps serve different user commuities. Office 365 Groups serve the email-centric Outlook clan. Teams is very different. You've got to expect that differences will exist. If you inisit on the same approach being taken in both apps, you end up with one app.

 

And, of course, if I'm totally missing the boat and these tabs are consistent between the two apps and I don't see it (or maybe my tenant isn't privy to the most recent updated and fixes), please set me straight, show me how to make sure they are consistent for all my end-users or, if not, offer a workaround and timeline for a fix. We won't be able to deploy GROUPS or TEAMS if this continues to be the end-user experience of these apps/services/features.

 

Thank you.


TR: Maybe some further reading about Groups and Teams would help crystalize the issues for you. Being biased, I recommend Office 365 for IT Pros. https://practical365.com/ebooks/office-365-for-it-pros/ But there are other texts to read...

Re: Groups vs Teams = Channels vs No Channels

Thanks Tony!

If we were to choose to use GROUPS instead of TEAMS and MS is removing our ability to disable TEAMS globally in May, that means we'd have to access each users profile, individually, to disable TEAMS----not feasible.

 

Also, at this time, TEAMS doesn't have a native calendar so, to show the group's calendar, I must add the Outlook browser view of the O365 Groups calendar created for the TEAM. As soon as I do that, the user now has the ability to interface with the group's content via O365 Groups in Outlook and hence, my problem begins to crop up again. And, in reverse, if we were to choose to enable TEAMS and ask the users to make the paradigm leap, there would be no group calendar available automatically, which they will want, thereby forcing me to create the tab to the O365 group calendar via the 'Website' connector in TEAMS which exposes the O365 Group functionality in Outlook....and I'm back to my problem again. So saying that TEAMS will be hidden in Outlook's Groups list becomes meaningless.

 

Is it still possible to create 2 groups with the same name/URL: an O365 Group named and a TEAM and not know it, or has that been fixed? This is important no matter what, but especially if TEAMS are going to be hidden in Outlook.

 

For the end-user, the distinctions between these two paradigms seems to be quite blurring. They've said, "The only difference I can see is that one has these channel things and the other doesn't, and there's no calendar in TEAMS". What's the best response to that? I hear it when you say O365 Groups is designed to be on big chat/Planner/Notebook, etc. which explains the difference that the channels introduce, but, other than that, I'm a little stumped about how to answer them because from their viewpoint, these differences create more confusion that help. Is TEAMS going to have its own calendar view/functionality soon?

 

With MS pushing TEAMS on us so fervently, I don't get the feeling I can choose to enable GROUPS and disable TEAMS without, basically, choosing to be left behind as well. 

 

Thanks again for your input. I really appreciate the time you put into responding. Hopefully my questions, even my stupid ones, are helpful to a few others.

 

Re: Groups vs Teams = Channels vs No Channels


@Lisa Stebbins wrote:

Thanks Tony!

If we were to choose to use GROUPS instead of TEAMS and MS is removing our ability to disable TEAMS globally in May, that means we'd have to access each users profile, individually, to disable TEAMS----not feasible.

 

TR: As explained in https://www.petri.com/new-teams-skype-for-business-online-admin-center, although Teams is moving to a new admin center, you will be able to disable users individually or in groups (or as a whole) using policy. You'll be able to do this through the console and with PowerShell, so you will not have to access individual user profiles.

 

Also, at this time, TEAMS doesn't have a native calendar so, to show the group's calendar,

 

TR: Teams uses the calendar in the group mailbox created for the underlying Office 365 Group.  One fact that you've got to remember is that Teams takes functionality from other applications instead of recreating the wheel.  This allows Teams to use best of breed functionality.

 

I must add the Outlook browser view of the O365 Groups calendar created for the TEAM.

 

TR: Nope. You can click the meetings icon in the Teams client to show the user whatever is in the group calendar, plus items from the user's personal calendar that are combined into one view to show the user both group and personal commitments.

 

As soon as I do that, the user now has the ability to interface with the group's content via O365 Groups in Outlook and hence, my problem begins to crop up again.

 

TR: Yes, but only if you encourage users to go outside Teams and use the browser to access the group calendar. You do not need to do this.

 

And, in reverse, if we were to choose to enable TEAMS and ask the users to make the paradigm leap, there would be no group calendar available automatically, which they will want, thereby forcing me to create the tab to the O365 group calendar via the 'Website' connector in TEAMS which exposes the O365 Group functionality in Outlook....and I'm back to my problem again. So saying that TEAMS will be hidden in Outlook's Groups list becomes meaningless.

 

TR: No, as explained above, the meetings icon is enough to expose the group calendar.

 

Is it still possible to create 2 groups with the same name/URL: an O365 Group named and a TEAM and not know it, or has that been fixed? This is important no matter what, but especially if TEAMS are going to be hidden in Outlook.

 

TR: It is still possible, which is one reason to restrict group/team creation to a select group of people. This is easy to do with a group creation policy.

 

For the end-user, the distinctions between these two paradigms seems to be quite blurring. They've said, "The only difference I can see is that one has these channel things and the other doesn't, and there's no calendar in TEAMS". What's the best response to that?

 

TR: It's a completely different way of working. I cover some of the points about this in https://www.petri.com/teams-wont-replace-email 

 

I hear it when you say O365 Groups [TR: No, Office 365 Groups is designed to handle the more traditional email-centric communications favored by Outlook users] is designed to be on big chat/Planner/Notebook, etc. which explains the difference that the channels introduce, but, other than that, I'm a little stumped about how to answer them because from their viewpoint, these differences create more confusion that help. Is TEAMS going to have its own calendar view/functionality soon?

 

[TR] No. See above.

 

With MS pushing TEAMS on us so fervently, I don't get the feeling I can choose to enable GROUPS and disable TEAMS without, basically, choosing to be left behind as well. 

 

[TR] Never confuse marketing Kool-Aid for strategic advice. I think you probably need to sit down with someone who really understands Office 365 Groups and Teams and can help you make the right choice. You will not be left behind. At this point, Teams is used by a small minority of Office 365 users (but growing fast) while email is the single biggest workload inside Office 365. Office 365 Groups gives you a way forward for your email-centric user communities. Groups work like distribution groups with extra resources, like document management. It's a great solution for email-centric users.

 

Thanks again for your input. I really appreciate the time you put into responding. Hopefully my questions, even my stupid ones, are helpful to a few others.

 

TR: Again, take the time to read up on this topic and understand how Groups and Teams work - and go talk to someone who knows their stuff in this area. Or, if you want to go into a holding pattern, deploy Office 365 Groups now to meet an immediate need for better collaboration, and keep Teams to one side until you have the chance to do your research and make a solid assessment. Coming to the Ignite conference in Orlando in September would be a good thing to do as it would allow you to consult with Microsoft and independent experts and hear from lots of others who use Office 365 Groups and Teams.

 


 

Re: Groups vs Teams = Channels vs No Channels

Just to add a little bit to the detailed replies by @Tony Redmond, I would like to suggest that you don't think of it as Groups vs Teams.

Groups is not an app like Teams is,  it doesn't event show up on the app launcher. Granted, there is a mobile app for Groups, but I don't find it nearly as useful as the mobile Teams app.

Groups are really just a container of people, that are allowed to use a bunch of different apps/services. When MS rolled out Groups, they did not make this clear and we have been dealing with the confusion ever since.  

Re: Groups vs Teams = Channels vs No Channels

Re. the comment about the Groups mobile app.

 

We now access Groups through the Outlook mobile apps and I think this change is good. I have different conversations with different communities. Some use Groups and some use Teams. I think the mobile apps are as good as each other in terms of keeping up with what's going on in conversations. The Teams app is better when it comes to voice (obviously). And that illustrates an important point in the dialog, which is that if you use Microsoft voice/audio within Office 365, you will use the Teams apps because that's where Skype for Business Online is going...

Re: Groups vs Teams = Channels vs No Channels

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my concerns individually. These are the things I'm getting from users/executives so, while I have a better global understanding than they, I still benefited from hearing how someone more informed than I would answer these things so I could do a better job going forward. Thank you.