16 Replies Latest reply on Jan 3, 2011 1:09 PM by Renee.Harper

    Is it a space or a group?


      When planning your implementation, how did you decide between creating a space or a group for certain topics?  Is there a good 'strategy' document that you can recommend?

        • Re: Is it a space or a group?

          Hi Renee! We use spaces primarily to set security permissions that apply to all the groups, projects and content that live in the space. I usually describe our space/group strategy like this:


          Think of a space as three things:

          1. A container where groups, projects and content for a similar topic are located.
            Example: Company Products space contains multiple groups for Product A, Product B and Product C.
          2. A billboard to explain the audience/purpose of that container (i.e. Collaboration happens in the groups and projects, not at the space level, unless it’s a blog/doc/discussion relevant to the entire audience
          3. A security level. We grant permissions at the space level that apply to all the content in the space. Then at the group level we can get more specific, but it’s an easy way to ensure that only a given set of members have access to content in a specific space.


          With that description in mind, it’s a lot easier to understand that groups and projects are where the meaningful collaboration takes place.


          I think we may do it differently from other organizations, so I’m interested to hear how others went about the space/group strategy!



          • Re: Is it a space or a group?

            We have spaces/communities for our product areas.  Then each category is a specific product or product feature.  Spaces/communities are also for some other high-level topics that apply to all of our users along with Site Support.  Then we use groups for for non-product-specific content:


            ·         user types (Electricians, plumbers, gas lamp repairers, etc.)


            ·         regional groups (India, NE United States, New York, etc.)


            ·         events


            ·         workgroups


            ·         topics of interest that go across products


            ·         products open only to a few people (so access is not managed by the site team but by another person)


            ·         Client-specific groups (like your Jive support group)

            Most of these are open to all users and some are private or secret.

            We have run into some confusion between communities and groups, and with some users not being able to find “their” group.  To combat this we recently added a widget to the home page that links to the most popular groups, in order to make them more visible.  I’m interested in seeing how the activity level in those groups changes over the next few months.

            I don’t know of any strategy document around this, although the Jive consulting team provided their expertise in coming up with this plan.

            • Re: Is it a space or a group?

              In addition to what the others said, here's what we recommend during your Jive Strategy consulting session:


              • If granular permissions are required (e.g., only certain people can create documents), then you must use spaces. Groups do not support this.
              • If the ability to see who belongs to a place is more important, then use a group. Spaces do not automatically show who "belongs" to it.


              If you are more concerned with hierarchy, don't make the mistake of automatically going for spaces and sub-spaces - you probably already have loads of other applications where you've got hierarchies, and they don't work for conversations and interactions (but are decent for document repositories). To organize content, look first at using Categories, whether you're using a space or a group.


              Also, look at the Business space in this community as an example. It is the "lobby" space for all business-related content, but the majority of interactions go on in this External Community Managers and the Internal Community Managers groups, because you all care more about who is here than organizing content. I "related" the groups to the Business space via a Formatted Text widget on the Overview tab for the space and the two groups.


              Hope this helps!

              • Re: Is it a space or a group?

                Here's a slide deck that I've found useful for describing and illustrating the differences between groups and spaces:


                Groups vs Spaces

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                  • Re: Is it a space or a group?

                    Thanks, Rick! That has some of the stuff we share during the Jive strategy consulting session, so there you go!

                      • Re: Is it a space or a group?

                        I would love to use the groups more, but some of my private space have multiple sub pages under them. Currently Jive groups do not support any type of sub-page. As for spaces as our community has grown over the years our uses are the ones requested more in-depth structure  or complex self sorting ability. They feel with this ability to find the information they way want will speed up getting to the right discussion or Doc. I think over the years the biggest debate has been over the hieratical structure of the community. As a community manager I always want to keep things simple and condensed as possible. Avoid what I call “community sprawl”. It is a constant battle with growth.


                        My  two cents

                          • Re: Is it a space or a group?

                            I second what John just wrote: keep community hierarchy as simple as possible. We created four community areas and one of those has four sub-communities, and we found that we rarely use the subcommunities; they get a bit buried. Start simple—you can always add if needed.


                            On my wishlist, too, is a Groups-only widget that can show a member their groups and all groups. The Places widget has it, but I want to be able to place it strategically so that people understand the quantity of groups that are available.


                            (by the way, we find people struggle to understand the word "space"; if anyone has a better descriptor I'd love to hear about it!)



                              • Re: Is it a space or a group?

                                We are at 6 root community space public and 2 private partner communities that don’t show up. I would love to get that number down. One of the root space we have always had is Community News and Feedback. I have been think do we really need that there anymore. Would group work just as good? Another negative is users reported that groups can get buried and not get as many clicks living in the groups section as a root level community space would. It is prime click space that is for sure.


                                As for group widget. On the yourview tab there is a group membership widget that is pretty cool. You can add it a default widget then your use will see it.

                              • Re: Is it a space or a group?

                                I can second that notion to reduce community sprawl, John! ☺


                                Along the lines of people feeling the “need for hierarchy” that I’ve found slightly humorous is that when members get sent links to their community and join it directly, or find their community through search, they usually don’t realize there’s a hierarchy of spaces around it until someone points it out. Same with content in the communities.


                                The desire for hierarchy is sometimes more related to our tendency to revert back to the familiarity of SharePoint and ShareDrive structure. Isn’t that what we’re moving away from? Having to know where to look to find what you need?  Tagging and searching should take you directly to your community/content, regardless of hierarchy. And if you’re in the habit of navigating via hierarchy to the info you need, you run the risk of missing relevant content that is found by search in different areas!

                            • Re: Is it a space or a group?

                              Rick, thank you for that. We're having a lot of discussion around this topic right now.

                            • Re: Is it a space or a group?

                              In addition to all the great points above, CSC uses spaces/groups as follows:


                              1. Spaces are set up by the admin. They are for global topics and there are very few (right now). Only admin id's can set these up and configure all the permissions and options correctly. (We have less than 10 of these.)


                              2. Groups are self service. They can be created on demand when a work team or interest groups decides they have a need. Groups allow collaboration patterns to emerge on demand, when needed. (We have close to 7K of these.)

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                              • Re: Is it a space or a group?

                                Thank you all so much for all of the great responses.  I have so much to think about as we plan our first small launch. I'm sure that I'll be back with other questions.