Office 365 Groups – What Are They and How Are They Used?
Users of Office 365 are faced with many different technological tools and approaches for creating and managing their projects in the cloud. Some of these tools can seem overwhelming.
Office 365 Groups bring all these tools together, so you have an integrated solution to manage your project. Office 365 Groups present a new way to allow team members to collaborate in a common workspace with a familiar set of tools.
You can create an Office 365 Group from Outlook, Yammer, Teams, SharePoint Online, or Planner. When an Office 365 Group is created, you automatically get a shared Outlook mailbox and calendar, One Note Notebook, Planner instance, and SharePoint site collection. A Team’s Team and Yammer Group can also be associated with the Office 365 Group. And you don’t have to worry about permissions since everyone added to the group automatically gets permission to use these applications.
Benefits of an Office 365 Group:
What are some benefits of this approach?
- Can be set up quickly (two clicks).
- Includes key applications to manage a project.
- Automatically assigns user permissions.
- Creates an Outlook project/site mailbox and calendar.
- Automatically integrates all the tools within the application.
- Creates a new menu system to navigate those applications.
- Allows external applications—such as Trello, Asana or Twitter—to “connect” to the Office 365 Group, which extends its functionality.
Considerations when creating an Office 365 Group:
- Depending on your Office 365 access, users might create an unwieldy number of Groups and exponentially increase the complexity of the tenant. For that reason, access should be limited to specific site administrators, and should follow a standard setup, taxonomy, and governance structure.
- Office 365 Groups grant access to applications with basic permissions. If you have external users that are part of the group (e.g., contractors) and are using SharePoint to store content, you may need to further manage permissions, depending on the content.
- You can “Connect” an existing classic SharePoint site collection to an Office 365 even if it’s not a modern SharePoint site. However, once you connect to an Office 365 Group, your site will be upgraded and your Home page will be replicated. If you want to go back to your original classic Home page, go to Site Pages and make that page the default home page.
- When you create a new Team or a modern SharePoint site collection, an Office 365 Group will be automatically created.
Microsoft is developing a new Fluid Framework which will further align all Microsoft productivity/collaboration applications into a consistent UI. This will break down the barriers between applications even more, and might change the whole Office 365 Groups experience. We will see.
In summary, Office 365 Groups are an easy way to bring all your favorite Office 365 productivity/collaboration applications together into an integrated solution that is easy to set up. We will discuss the set-up process in our next ‘Tips from the Field’ post. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter in the footer below to get more helpful information like this for project management professionals.