We've only had Jive up and running for about 6 months and are still evolving our approach, but here's what we have been moving toward:
- We think of groups as the "default" and spaces as special cases. We are set up so that users can create open and members only groups on their own, but need to put in a request to IT to have a private or secret group or a space created. This was primarily to encourage openness as much as possible.
- In general we say to use groups for team or dept collaboration and spaces when a you have a small group of contributors who needs to share their content with a much larger audience.
- Spaces are better for representing "official" content -- e.g., the HR space, the IT space, the Finance space, etc.
- Since this kind of environment is still new to most employees, there are always early adopters (often down low in the organization) who "get it" before everyone else does. So sometimes we recommend a space for them instead of a group when the place they want to create seems like it is destined to be part of a larger effort once that business area gets its act together. This is strictly a technical decision because spaces can be merged and reorganized as subspaces, while groups cannot.
- We try to make sure that there is a strong commitment to administration of the space when someone requests one, because there is more to managing permissions than with a group. A space admin will have to be more knowledgeable of how Jive works and probably spend more time as an admin than group owners do.
Even with all that, we still see people going overboard with the creation of subspaces once they get a space. I think this is at least partly because they are coming from a "folder mentality" and since Jive doesn't have folders and subfolders, subspaces are the closest thing to that. So we are trying to develop some techniques, processes, and education on how to leverage subspaces, tags, categories, and projects for good organization of content.