13 Replies Latest reply on Dec 18, 2014 10:06 AM by scottwdennis

    Groups vs. Spaces

      I am having trouble explaining to others the difference between Groups and Spaces in our community.  Maybe this is because I am not quite sure about the difference myself. I can see the concept, and know that there are some things you can do in one and not the other (ie projects), but am wondering how you explain the difference? Is there a guideline of when one would be more appropriate than the other, as well as a list of the differences?

        • Re: Groups vs. Spaces

          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 PurposeSpaces 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-1032Groups 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). 
          QuantityBest 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.
          FunctionalityProjects, 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.
          MembershipThere is no membership element to a public Space. There is, however, with a private SpaceThere 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 - DifferencesSpaces 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.
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          • Re: Groups vs. Spaces

            This definitely helps. Thanks!

            • Re: Groups vs. Spaces

              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.

              Typical Purpose

              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).
              key business processes where there is a strong collaborative requirement (e.g., idea-to-market product  development methodology)

              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:

              • Teams
              • Committees
              • Departments
              • Units
              • Project Collaboration
              • Communities of Interest dedicated to sharing knowledge  around topics
              • Communities of Practice dedicated to sharing best practices  and support
              QuantityBest    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.
              FunctionalityProjects,  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?

              MembershipThere    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.











              1 person found this helpful
                • Re: Groups vs. Spaces

                  Great update!


                  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.

                • Re: Groups vs. Spaces

                  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"?