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Create a meeting in a 365-Group calendar without inviting the whole team? Question and critic!

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Frequent Contributor

First, the question

We have an issue. We want to replace our Shared Mailbox Calendar with the 365-Group Calendar. We use the calendar exclusively to create meetings with our customers. Unfortunately, every time someone creates a meeting with e.g. one customer and one employee, the 365-Group invites itself to the meeting. The result is that everybody in that 365-Group receives an invite.

 

We checked very carefully not to invite the Group, but once you send out the invitation to the attendees, the group automatically and unavoidably adds itself as a participant.

 

My question is, how to achieve this?

 

Now the critic

There is a very active uservoice with 718 votes and 109 comments, that suffer with the same issue. Although Microsoft blatantly said "BOOM! IT'S DONE" it doesn't work at all. Dozens of people are complaining about this, but Microsoft stays silent about it. That is very frustrating. In my opinion the right way for Microsoft would be to follow-up on implemented features and ask the people if they work as intended. This is both, a communication problem at Microsoft, and a lack of quality assurance that Microsoft still needs to address.

22 Replies

Hi! How do you create these meetings? If you create a teams meeting without adding it to a channel, it isn't accociated to any team, therefore not to any group-calendar!

 

If you have a channel meeting the mail going to the members of the team is decided if the members are following the group in Outlook..You can also set this in powershell for all users

 

-AlwaysSubscribeMembersToCalendarEvents ( Can be set to $false ) 
read more here:
Hi Adam,

I don't know what you mean by "channel"? I'm talking about the calendar in a Office 365 Group. Channels is something I see in a Microsoft Teams team and not related to calendars at all, as far as I know.

Anyway, it works like this. The 365-group's members are all the managing directors of the different companies and departments and their respective assistants. In 99 out of 100 cases, the assistants create the meetings and invite whoever needs to attend to a meeting, including directors of our clients.

They open the calendar in Outlook, then create a meeting by double-clicking in the 365-Group and then invite the attendees. This adds the 365-Group as an attendee automatically, even if you remove the group before clicking the 'send' button. They do it like that because the assistant must not be a participant of the meeting and the meeting must not appear in the assistants personal calendar.

We have a multitude of other 365-Groups that we'd like to use as a replacement for traditional Shared Mailbox Calendars.

Thanks for pointing me to the PowerShell cmdlet. Unfortunately, that wouldn't work because our 365-Groups are already set up and have a couple of hundred members in total. But the command works only for new members: "Changing this setting doesn't affect existing group members."

Any other ideas? We'd really like to transition to groups as this solves a multitude of other issues, but this issue is a deal breaker for us.

Sorry, for some reason I thought this was posted in the Microsoft Teams forum :)

 

Unfortunately, this is the case!  Also regarding notifications , there is a tickbox while creating the meeting "Send an invitation to the group" to turn off, but as long as there is any attendees in the meeting this will turn on itself again! There is a uservoice for this you can put your vote on:

 

 

https://office365.uservoice.com/forums/264636-general/suggestions/15008637-office365-group-calendar-...

 

Adam

No worries. I also double checked the switch, but -AlwaysSubscribeMembersToCalendarEvents was already disabled. So it is definitely not the cause of the issue.

Could you please post a screenshot of the tickbox in Outlook? Microsoft already talks about this in https://office365.uservoice.com/forums/286611-office-365-groups/suggestions/9532698-allow-calendar-a... but I simply can't find it. And as you see from the comments, I am not alone with this.

Thanks for the other uservoice link. I consider voting, once I find the tickbox.

@Christophe Fiessinger can probably address this better than my suggestion of "just use good old shared mailbox instead of Group" :)

Thank you for pinging Christophe. Maybe he knows a solution.

To give a little more information: We have well-founded reasons we want to transition away from Shared Mailboxes (which we currently use). The assistants using the calendar need to send Skype Meeting invitations from it (so the calendar is the inviting party, not the assistant). That only works if they are delegates (have Editor permission on the calendar and the delegate flag set).

With that two problems arise:

1. Microsoft only tested and consequently supports a maximum of 4 delegates per mailbox. (I can't remember where I read that, but it was a Microsoft source.) And in fact, we experience very weird behaviour with our currently 9 delegates. Users losing the delegate flag, or Skype Online not syncing the delegate flags correctly from Exchange Online, resulting on people suddenly not being able to create Skype Meetings. We had weeks of issues with that.

2. Adding delegates to a Shared Mailbox can only be done by us administrators, which adds work to us that we think should be handled by technology.

Office 365 Groups solves our issues, because every member of the group is able to create Skype Meetings in its calendar. And members can be invited by any number of group owners.

Hi Daniel,

 

There's currently two types of calendar scenarios that your group in Outlook supports:

  • Appointments: Open the group calendar, and select "New appointment." The appointment you create will only live in the group calendar--no invitations are sent. 
  • Meetings: Invite a group (from your calendar or from the group calendar), members will receive an invitation in their inbox, unless they explicitly opted out of receiving meeting invitations from the group. If you invite anyone explicitly, the group will also be sent a meeting

 

However, we're actively looking at a third scenario, which seems to be exactly what you're looking for:

  • "Brownbag": Meeting invitations are sent only to folks explictly addressed. A lunctime brownbag requires a presenter to attend, and other folks on the team are free go to the group calendar and add it to their own personal calendar. In your scenario, you would address the event to the employee and the customer.

 At this time, I don't have any concrete timelines to share, but it is an active investigation!

@ElenaBuliga--it's an active work in progress. Stay tuned on the feature @ Microsoft 365 Roadmap and here at Tech Community.

@Ethan Linow if it were possible, with that Brownbag update, to make the group the sender of the invitation, that this would be exactly what we needed. Could be a checkbox like "send as group", when creating the Skype-Meeting. It's always nice for the invited person to see a sender like events@contoso.com instead of unknown.person@contoso.com.

@Daniel Niccoli -- we aren't changing anything else with this specific update. Right now, to my knowledge, when you create a meeting and sent it to invitees directly on the group calendar (versus your own inbox), they should be from "Daniel Niccoli on behalf of My Group Name". Is this what you're seeing?

@Ethan Li any timeline on getting the Appointment vs. Meeting option in Outlook on the Web?

@Kevin Crossman--could you clarify what you mean "Appointment vs. Meeting option"? You should be able to create group appointments to group calendar and meetings with the group (plus any others).

Ethan, that is unfortunate and we won't be able to jump to Office 365 Groups until we can SEND AS meeting invitations just like we do from our shared mailboxes.

Also, we still have the issue that every group member still receives invites that weren't even sent to them, although we unchecked the option that group members received a copy of the meeting invitation.

@Ethan Li  in Outlook on the Web (both old and new experiences) there is only one type of calendar event you can create.

new.pngold.png

As an option to create a mail flow rule to catch messages sent from the group.
It's not an issue in OWA but most users in our organization use desktop Outlook. I would love to hear a proper solutions too.

@Ethan Li Unfortunately, when adding an Appointment, everyone gets an invite in their inbox still.

Hey @Ethan Li looking at your "Brownbag" option and looking into how the invites currently work for group emails when sent directly from Outlook from the Create a Meeting option. When you Mark the "Office 365 Group" for sending the request to it it takes the distribution attributes and sends the whole team an invite. What might be a good idea is to add a listening address for only adding calendar invites. 

 

The way that we have worked around this to have calendar invites sent directly from the Group to only those that we want invited is as follows.

  1. Open up the Group Calendar Calendar in Outlook. (I am using Outlook 2016)
  2. Select the date that you wish to have the Calendar invite on and create a new meeting request.
  3. When the calendar invite pops up, delete the Group Distribution List, and add the contacts you want.
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  4. Once you send the invite, it will appear as if you sent it from the Group. It will show up on the Calendar and only add to those who are invited.
Tried this; removed (from equivalent example) our team as you described. However, it is still sent to the team. Check "sent items" folder and team is automatically added to distro.
Any other suggestions?

@sane4now We'll be fixing that as a part of the same "brownbag" feature ;). I'll be posting details shortly.