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Here is a chart that should give you some ideas between the two:
Functionality Space Group Who can create? Only space administrators. These are usually designated community managers who have received space administration training. Any authenticated user Typical Purpose Spaces are typically used to create a more structured, browsable hierarchy. For example, some create a space and sub-spaces for each functional area across their organization; some create spaces that promote the cross-organizational conversations you want to invoke; some also create departmental spaces, but that is not a best practice, since it promotes siloes of information. http://experian.jivesoftware.com/docs/DOC-1032 Groups are typically used for ad hoc gathering around a particular topic. Some create groups for their departments; some create groups about more social topics (e.g. Beer Lovers). Quantity Best practice is to keep the number of top-level spaces small. Proliferation of spaces leads to a confusing UI and the inability to figure out where exactly to place new content. Best practice is to let users create as many groups as they want and allow overlap. Group membership appears in a person's profile, and facilitates expertise location and the discovery of similar people. Functionality Projects, Discussions, Documents, space-based Blog, Tag Groups, Polls, Announcements and more can be created in Spaces. Of the two, the Space has more functionality. Discussions, Documents, group-based Blog, Polls and Announcements can be created in Groups. Membership There is no membership element to a public Space. There is, however, with a private Space There is membership for all four Group Types, including Open, Members Only, Private, and Secret (create a group to learn about the differences in these types) Appearance in UI - Differences Spaces are available in the Space widget, which can be added to All Content page, users' Your View page, and the Overview page of spaces. Groups only appear via Browse -> Groups, and in the Your Groups widget, which is only available on a user's Your View page. Best practice is to add a link to the User Bar that takes a user directly to the Groups directory, as you see we've done in this Clearspace instance.
This definitely helps. Thanks!
Is there a new veresion of this chart? (Since Projects can be created in groups now?)
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Here's an updated comparison after some reading. References at the bottom.
Functionality Space Group Who can create? Only space administrators. These are usually designated community managers who have received space administration training including how to control permissions in detail.
Group creation can be set up as 'self serviced' or 'governed'. If you setup the system as self serviced, the end users get the ability to create Groups on their own that allows emergent patterns in an organization. The community managers can then monitor the emerging patterns. If some groups are not adopted well they can disbanded. If there are groups with similar interest they can be linked together or merged depending on the needs and objectives. On the other hand if you setup the system as governeded it allows the community managers to pre-govern and monitor the creation of new groups (* see note below).
* In the jive admin console, you can set permissions at the system level such that end users cannot create Groups by themselves in order to implement a governed approach for Groups creation. Though it seems counter intuitive it may make sense for some implmentations.
Spaces are the closest thing to the hierarchical/folder paradigm we're all accustomed to. They are typically used to create a more structured, browsable hierarchy.
For example, to create a space and sub-spaces structure to replicate a departmental or organizational heirarchy. While users may occasionally have cross-functional needs that require them to visit a variety of spaces, they will generally spend most of their time and energy in the space dedicated to their functional area. This is not a best practice, since it promotes siloes of information.
Best Pracice: A space can be used for high level cross-cutting topical areas of collaboration. The can be used as an entry point or a 'lobby' for a certain area of interest or community. In a large enterprise, space structures should reflect:
- key enterprise knowledge domains (e.g., products, customers, industries) where there is significant business value to be gained by improving collaboration at the enterprise level
- key strategic topics where your organization is trying to stimulate enterprise conversation and collaboration (e.g., Innovation, High-Performance Teams, Growth, Globalization, Customer Focus).
Groups on the other hand, can be used to bring people together in the kind of informal networks that form spontaneously within an organization (This can be better achieved by using the 'self serviced' approach described above).
Groups can be used to create departmental collaboration, functional areas, topics, projects, team based collaboration, communities of interest, practice groups, etc. Groups can also be used for ad hoc gathering around a particular topic. Groups do not have a heirarchy (no sub-groups within groups). While a Space can be a high level entry point around topical thems or organizational and strategic areas, Groups can be created for smaller groups/committees/teams/departments/units. Community managers can create links to relevant groups inside the broader enterprise level Space.
Best Practice for Groups usage:
- Project Collaboration
- Communities of Interest dedicated to sharing knowledge around topics
- Communities of Practice dedicated to sharing best practices and support
Quantity Best practice is to keep the number of top-level spaces small. Proliferation of spaces leads to a confusing UI and the inability to figure out where exactly to place new content. Best practice is to let users create as many groups as they want and allow overlap. Group membership appears in a person's profile, and facilitates expertise location and the discovery of similar people. Functionality Projects, Discussions, Documents, space-based Blog, Categories, Polls, Announcements and more can be created in Spaces.
Groups have all of the functional tools of a Space e.g. Discussions, Documents, Blogs, Projects, Polls, Events, Ideas, Announcements etc. Functionally, there's hardly any difference.
INPUT NEEDED: Can someone input any functional difference?
Membership There is no membership element to a public Space. For a Private Space, the space admins or the system admins can create access control in the backend. Space admins can then use a widget in the front user interface to show who has access. It is not recommended to use Spaces to create private collaboration. Although the membership and permissions can be controlled at a much granular level, it is usually not recommended to use a Space for private collaboration.
Groups have a strong membership component, unlike spaces – there is a Members tab, in fact. Members can feel 'belonging' to a group. Because of this, groups are a great way to uncover pockets of like-minded people within the organization, and provide an opportunity for them to discover one another.
There is membership for all four Group Types, including Open, Members Only, Private, and Secret (details here). There is always a 'Members' tab in a Group that shows members of that group. Members can join or leave groups. Everyone can join or ask to join a Group depending on privacy settings of the group. For secret/restricted groups users don't see them in general listing or search, the group owner must invite a user to join.
Since we're on 4.0 and not on the latest version of SBS, I'm not sure about the following:
-- space memberships: can space admins invite people to join spaces now or become members? Or perhaps there is just an email component to spaces now?
-- functional difference between space & groups: I think it's worthwhile noting that groups do not support subspaces nor flexible permission schemes
-- do you think most people use groups for departments and organizational units? From what I can tell, I think my companies uses spaces for that primarily because of the need for subspaces and more flexible permissioning.
I noticed that hosted Jive Environments provisions the "Water Cooler" place as Space vs. a Group. I would think a gathering place (Water Cooler) would best fit as a Group, so not sure if I am missing the point of a Space vs. Group. What are others choosing for a Place type when creating a place to gather and have ad-hoc conversations like "Water Cooler"?
Thanks Tracy, that was helpful!
Noob question; is it correct that groups and spaces are both considered places? If so, are there other content types that also fall under the places umbrella?
I believe Projects are also considered Places.
Scott Dennis its certainly common parlance to refer to Spaces and Groups as places but there is a definite hirearchy which may need to be descibed depending on the familiarity of your audiance with the differences between the two types (Spaces and Groups).
Hi Scott. Officially Groups and Spaces are both Places. Also, Projects can be considered a Place, though they live within Spaces and Groups and will inherit the security of the place they reside.
To throw a curve ball into this, Personal Blogs are not a Place, but they behave a lot like one. For example, you can follow a personal blog in your inbox and will be updated each time that blog is updated, just like you would if you followed a Group in your inbox and were updated each time a new piece of content was uploaded to that Group. Blogs that are created within a Place (Group or Space) are treated just like any other content type in that Place.
Alan, Jeremy and Libby,
Thank you very much. This helps.
So, I have my community. At the top level I have a limited number of spaces. Authenticated users can create groups. Within groups or spaces people can add various content types, including projects, which while technically being places themselves, must live within either a space or a group. I can browse spaces or groups or all places. At the All Places level I can also choose to browse by Spaces, Projects, and Groups. Does that about cover it?
Is there a limit to the number of members that can be in a group or space?
To my knowledge there is no limit to the number of members – I've seen groups with members in the thousands. Spaces do not have members, they just have followers which is not limited.