Office 365 Groups and Teams are here and they offer a tremendous opportunity for you to improve collaboration across the organization and drive productivity.  While we’ve reported on their launch and development, the important news that you need to be aware of is that Groups are now going to be auto-generated in our tenant.


What does this mean?

According to the Support Article published this past week, Microsoft will begin auto-generating Groups for managers that have 2-20 direct reports in March 2017.  Specifically, the article states:

“Managers who have 2-20 direct reports, do not already have a direct reports group, and have permissions to create groups in Outlook, will automatically have a private group created for them with their direct reports. The manager will be added as an owner, and the direct reports of the manager will be added as members by default. The group will be named “<Managers Name>’s direct reports”, but that can be edited.”

This update is relevant to clients who have their organizational structure in Active Directory and sync to their Office 365 tenant.  Smaller clients will not see an impact since that is where Microsoft will pull the reference information from.

Update: Microsoft announced on March 22nd that they are going to revise the rollout of this feature to a smaller group of users.  Here is the quote from that message:

**We listened to your concerns and have decided to limit the rollout of this feature to a smaller set of customers (notified via MC94808) whom we will work with directly to ensure feedback is considered, and the feature has a positive impact. We thank you all for your constructive feedback, we have learned a few lessons and look forward to continued Group innovations in the future.**

What Are Office 365 Groups?

Groups are a service that is included in Office 365 and developed with collaboration in mind.  They come with a collection of capabilities that are auto-generated when you create a Group.  These include:

  • Shared Inbox
  • Shared Calendar
  • Shared OneNote
  • SharePoint Team Site
  • Planner

This creates a powerful, turn-key, tool that will enable collaboration without time-consuming configurations and templates.  You can access these resources through Outlook, a browser, or mobile app.  Groups can also be opened to external users.  Yammer has also integrated Office 365 Groups.

office 365 Groups Screenshot

Are office 365 Teams the Same As Office 365 Groups?

Well, yes and no.   Teams are essentially an extension of Groups and expand on the concept.  Teams add persistent chat and “channel” which divide topics more granularity than Groups.  Our friends at AvePoint posted a good blog on the differences between Groups and Teams.

Office 365 Teams Screenshot

What if I’m Not Ready For Office 365 Groups?

There are options if you are not ready for Groups.  You can disable Groups for your tenant, or limit the ability to create Groups to admins.  You can also turn off the Direct Reports Groups mentioned at the top of this post through a PowerShell script. More detail is provided in the support article.


As always, you can get more information about Groups, or any other Office 365 by contacting us at

Bill Wootton is the Founder and President of C3 Integrated Solutions, a full-service IT provider based in Arlington, VA that specializes in securing our nation’s Defense Industrial Base through cloud-based solutions and industry leading partners. Bill is passionate about bringing cyber-awareness, and cyber-maturity to the nation’s Defense Industrial Base, working with clients to help them achieve CMMC and NIST 800-171 compliance by providing MSP, security and Office 365 integration services.

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