Google Team Drives

I am inquiring as to whether or not our district is planning on opening up Team Drives via Google Drive. I think these drives could be very beneficial for sites to have so site documents are not lost when staff leave a building.

Are other groups/organizations within our district using Team Drives?

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We are piloting them now. There are some complications and additional steps involved with making content in those team drives available for public viewing, but overall, my experience with them is positive and it should reduce complications with ownership issues.

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We are planning on making them available. We had to ensure that we were able to properly secure and back up data in Team Drive.

I believe we have overcome these obstacles for the most part and anticipate we’ll continue to expand our use in the district.

I would encourage anyone interested in using Team Drive to connect with Kim Helgeson to ensure it will meet their needs and so that we can ensure that IT can fully support it.

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Scott,

I think Google Team Drives are a perfect addition for us to use in the District, for the reason you describe about files not being owned by an individual user but being part of the team drive whether or not the user remain in the district or not.

Like Jon mentioned, we are currently piloting a few use cases for Team Drives and we are currently investigating the possibility of using Team Drives as the primary tool for district-wide and site-wide filesharing instead of the current T: drive.

There are a few challenges that we trying to work out with Team Drives that we need to find a good approach how to handle.

- District wide/Site wide or project based team drives or both?

We need to figure out the best mechanism to maximize the usability of the Team Drives. One way is to simply have any team/site/user create their own team drives and share with people in their team/site/user.

The pro of that approach is that the work load for IT is minimal and power users become more efficient in Google Drive use.
The con is that we might run the risk of ending up with hundreds of Team Drives with confusion about the purpose, who is managing it, which file exist where and similar. This approach is also less user friendly, as Team Drives does not allow access to be granted to groups only individuals. Meaning, if 10 users at NEC create their own Team Drives that they want all NEC users to be able to access. They each have to add some 300-400 users with permissions to those team drives and add/remove permissions as people join/leave the site.

The site-wide approach would be if IT pre-created Team Drives for each site and automatically controlled permissions to based on HR data. Ie, staff members would automatically be enrolled when the HR database show that they work at NEC.

The pro is simplicity for users to know that any file placed in a specific Team Drive will be visible/searchable/available for all people at a site.
The con is that there might be instances when it might not desirable for a whole site to have access to a certain file.

-Permissions and external sharing

In Team Drive, there are five levels of permissions. Full/Edit/Comment/View and no access.
Permissions set on a Team Drive apply to all files/folder in the Team Drive and cannot be removed/downgraded for individual files/folders. It is possible to increase permissions on or share individual files with additional people.

To be allowed to delete and move files, users need Full access. Full access also allows users to modify sharing permissions. We currently allow users to share with people outside the district. The external sharing is a setting that applies both to the personal drive and team drive, Google does not allow us separate external sharing settings for Team Drives. Since we have many users who often share files with external users, for practical purposes we need to keep this setting.

This in practice means that if we created a WEC folder and added all WEC staff to it and wanted WEC staff to have the ability to move and delete files. Any WEC users could accidentally share the entire Team Drive with their home Google accounts or other outside sources. However, without Full access usability can be frustrating that if you accidentally upload a file to a Team Drive you are not able to delete it.

Those are two of the major challenges we are trying to work out as we start rolling it out.

My thinking on those two issues is that it would be most user friendly if IT create one district-wide and multiple site-wide Team Drives that we manage permissions on and allow individual requests for project based Team Drives, but IT creates them. That we setup all Team Drives with users having only Edit permission apart from one or two clerical per site with Full access and a project manager for the project Team Drives.

I’d welcome any thoughts or input on the two issues I described.

Thanks for all the information and all your thoughts on this, Jonas!

This pretty much seems like what we have now with our current Google Docs environment, and it’s working pretty well. :wink:

I kind of like this idea, but I fear that the management and time of getting folders set up might slow down usefulness and adoption. If we have to file a request, then wait 24-48 hours for a team drive, we’re less likely to use them because we’ve put up obstacles to getting them going. And how would IT determine the validity of the request, other than just saying yes or requiring some more communication to clarify and judge? It seems to create quite a bit of stuff for IT to manage.

What about this for a possible revision?
“My thinking on those two issues is that it would be most user friendly if IT create one district-wide and multiple site-wide Team Drives that we manage permissions on and grant the ability to create project based Team Drives to a few dozen select 287 staff and administrators. That we setup all Team Drives with users having only Edit permission apart from one or two clerical per site with Full access and a project manager for the project Team Drives.”

I guess this is really a hybrid between the two systems you mention. Thinking on this more, I’m not sure, is it even possible to blend the two systems?

I also like the idea of

“My thinking on those two issues is that it would be most user friendly if IT create one district-wide and multiple site-wide Team Drives that we manage permissions on and grant the ability to create project based Team Drives to a few dozen select 287 staff and administrators. That we setup all Team Drives with users having only Edit permission apart from one or two clerical per site with Full access and a project manager for the project Team Drives.”

This allows for that quick adoption, decreases the workload on IT, and I think competent leaders could make informed decisions on whether or not to accept a request.

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I really like Scott’s approach. It’s seems to be the most flexible of the approaches. Could the innovation coaches be part of the “few dozen select 287 staff and administrators” that Scott was talking about that we “grant the ability to create project based Team Drives” too? We at NEC really look forward to the adoption of team drives at our site !