M365 Groups is too confusing for users

Iron Contributor

M365 Groups has been confusing for end-users for a very long time now.  I think the strategy of keeping M365 Groups loosely coupled with Outlook, Engage, Teams, SharePoint from a collaboration standpoint is causing users to get lost around that question of "What tool and when?".


I think it would be better for Microsoft to instead have M365 Groups tightly coupled behind the scenes in a way where users don't even know they exist.  Maybe even get rid of the name altogether.  I get it that M365 Groups have been around longer than many of the other apps.  However, in the new "Collaboration" world we live in now, I don't really understand why anyone would create a group for collaboration without either creating a Team or an Engage community.  Why would you create a group from Outlook or SharePoint?  It made sense before Teams and Engage came on the scene.  But now that those tools are out, Microsoft needs to simplify the messaging a bit....

  • Teams - for collaborating to get work done (includes calling, personal/group chat, channel conversations, team email, centralized notes, and task management)
  • Engage - to share knowledge across the organization; break down silos and provide a platform for Q&A (includes a site to store knowledge and a social layer for discussions and Q&A)
  • SharePoint Communication Site - to publish information to a large audience with granular permissions. (no need to even mention SharePoint Team sites anymore...those have been taken over by Teams)
  • Outlook - for very targeted and controlled communication

The M365 Group should be tightly coupled with a Team so that users can only change permissions from Teams; they shouldn't be able to go to the connected SPO site to change the SharePoint permissions; that can lead to team content being compromised without other owners/team members even being aware...then they start to distrust the safety of Teams.  Users also shouldn't be able to create folders on the team connected site.  That bucks the whole idea of having channel creation drive the parent-level folder structure...which can reduce visibility of content for team members.  In fact, why not make it so users can't even navigate to SharePoint?  Make it so everything is managed from Teams.


The M365 Group should be tightly coupled with an Engage community in a very similar way to Teams.  However, it would be nice if there was an easy way for community admins to decide whether or not members should be able to create/update/delete content that is stored on the community connected site.  That way, you could provide a controlled knowledge base of information for consumption but still allow members the ability to have discussions, ask questions, and upload files to the social layer of the product.  Same here, why not make it so users can't even navigate to SharePoint?  Make it so everything is managed from Engage.  It would also be nice if you could enable External Guest access on a community-by-community basis.  Right now, you either enable it for all communities or disable it for all communities.


For SharePoint, do away with SharePoint Team Sites.  Since those come with all the collaboration tools AND a push button option to deploy a connected Team anyway, why not just eliminate this altogether and just make it so users can only create SharePoint Communication Sites?  For collaboration, they would create a Team.


For Outlook...it's email.  Why bolt on collaboration tools on top of it?  If users want collaboration, they should create a Team.


I could be wrong...but it just seems like keeping all these tools loosely connected is just creating a lot of confusion.  If Microsoft tightened things up a bit so that the end user experience for each scenario is from one tool instead of allowing a user to go to the Team, the team connected site, and the related M365 group, it would reduce a lot of the confusion.  I'd be interested in hearing how others feel about the topic :)

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