Make the Group concept clear through our wordings


I have a New Year wish: Since the fog around the ”Group”  concept in Office 365 now has lifted, could we in 2017 please be more clearly and consistent about how we use the group definitions, in our announcements, posts and discussions?


Office 365 Groups should in my opinion only be referring to the overall Azure AD-based group, the service that connects all Office 365 applications and experiences to a common and shared membership.


Unfortunately, Office 365 Groups has for many been synonymous with the Group experiences mode in Outlook, maybe even synonymous with the Group conversation mode in Outlook. Today it should be quite clear that the mail-implementation of Groups should be called Outlook Groups, and nothing else.


If we try to apply this differentiation between Group as a service and Groups as experiences, also to the other parts of Office 365, here are some suggestions:


  • 1. We could for instance introduce them as Groups in Outlook, Groups in Yammer, Groups in Sharepoint, Groups in Skype, Groups in Teams etc
  • 2. We could call them Connected Outlook Groups, Connected Yammer Groups, Connected Sharepoint Sites, Connected Skype meetings, Connected Teams etc.
  • 3. When it comes to the conversation modes, we could call them Group conversations in Outlook, Group conversations in Yammer, Group conversations in Skype, Group conversations in Teams etc.


I can imagine that there could be a lot of other ways to talk about Groups, that still would be consistent and differentiate between the Office 365 Group as a service and the experiences where Groups are enabled.


Maybe you have some thoughts or suggestions?

5 Replies

It's hard to be 'correct' in that there isn't really any consistency in the naming. I refer to the overall concept as an Office 365 Group, then the workloads as Outlook Groups, Yammer Groups, Teams, Plans, SharePoint Sites.

I take the same approach as @Steven Collier. Office 365 Groups have a few services in common - Identity first and foremost, a Team Site / Files, a Notebook, Planner, PowerBI. The main difference is where you hold your conversations. I refer to the conversation experience as Outlook Groups, Yammer Groups (expected in January) and Microsoft Teams.  Yet in the case of MS Teams naming gets interesting because they use Office 365 Groups but we refer to each of the services as the Team Files (er... Team (Team) Site), Team Notebook...


@Steven Collier, are you appending a prefix (naming convention) to your groups when they are created?


Here is our latest slide on this subject, I agree you should differentiate "Office 365 Groups" from each workload: Outlook, Yammer, Teams, SharePoint etc.

Office 365: Designed for the unique workstyle of every groupOffice 365: Designed for the unique workstyle of every group

Yes, we prefix with GRP - , so they are easily identified in address books.