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About Team Drive

What is Team Drive?

A Team Drive is a shared space in which a team can easily store, search, and access files. Unlike a file in My Drive, a file in a Team Drive belongs to the team, and not an individual. Even if team membership changes, a file in a Team Drive stays exactly where it is so the team can continue to collaborate and work.

Why Team Drive?

Team Drive is not designed to share files in a manner that mirrors highly-structured organizations. Rather, it is designed for highly collaborative partnerships.

A Team Drive is especially useful and appropriate when files derive their significance due to a particular role and that role's work, especially in conjunction of work within a unit, or team.

Team membership and individual roles frequently change, and when files are stored in a Team Drive, access to the files based on team membership and role can quickly be managed. Given the frequency of team member changes in a highly collaborative environment, like a university, Team Drive will help UNCG to manage files more efficiently.

One of the major issues with a large organization, like a university, is personnel changes. People are regularly joining, changing roles (assuming a different job, or different responsibilities on a committee or taskforce), or leaving the university. Google Drive files and folders owned by a particular user are subject to the user's state. When a person changes his or her university role, documents related to past work must be transferred to a replacement. This work can be tedious and/or time-consuming. If a replacement is not yet identified, the process of transferring files to a supervisor, who must then transfer the files to another user, can disrupt work. In cases of rapid personnel change, access to files may become problematic; a person in a role who should no longer be permitted to have access, may have access, or if a user leaves an organization, his or her account is disabled and files may become inaccessible and transferring can become problematic.

Thus, the benefit of having files and folders owned by the domain and not a particular user is the ease by which file access can be managed.

Access and Sharing

Like My Drive, files stored in a Team Drive have granular levels of access and sharing. Specifically:

  • Full (default): Member can manage members & can upload/edit/delete all files
  • Edit: Member can edit all files & upload new files
  • Comment: Member can comment on all files
  • View: Member can view all files

Non-UNCG users with a google account can be granted access to Team Drive files, similar to My Drive files.

Benefiting from Team Drive: Use Cases

Two particular use-cases exist for Team Drive: Team-based work and Role-based work. The following scenarios serve to illustrate.

Team Drive for Team-based work

The Student Group

Alpha Alpha Alpha is an active student group with regular membership changes. Annually, the student group has numerous files and folders whose permissions must be managed: new students join the student group, the leadership within the student group changes, and because of students graduating, student groups members become inactive. In addition, occasionally, the group's faculty advisor changes. Historically, the group has numerous files whose ownership must regularly be transferred. A Team Drive allows the Student Group to more easily manage file access among existing members.

The Committee

The "Safety Council" is a standing committee comprised of individuals from various departments at the university. This committee regularly meets and, as needed, researches and reports on a particular issue impacting the university. The Committee has a google Group for communication. Who should own the committee's notes and working files? The chairperson? The senior-most ranking official? The person whose full time job involves safety? More significantly: who will be required to share new supporting documents as they are contributed and shared? What will happen as the committee's membership changes? What if the committee's leadership changes, whether the chairperson's term expires or leaves the institution? A Team Drive is created and shared with the Google Group. Membership changes to the Google Group also result in access to the Team Drive.

Team Drive for Role-based work

The Department Chairperson

Professor Smith has been granted a unique role at the university: Interim Department Chair. Professor Smith will continue to serve the university in other capacities: as an instructor, a member of faculty senate, etc. But in addition, many files will be generated specifically in the capacity as Interim Department Chair. Professor Smith may possess this role for a short time or, if selected for the position, for a long time. Regardless, eventually Professor Smith will need to grant the next department chair access to files regarding the role. In order to facilitate this future transfer, Professor Smith creates a team drive called "Department Chairperson" and grants limited access to the department's administrative assistant. When it comes time for Professor Smith to no longer serve in the role, the next department chair is granted access to the Team Drive and Professor Smith's access is removed.

The System Administrator

As the administrator of a particular system, Susan Staffer is uniquely qualified to collect and organize documentation and project files related to the system. Susan Staffer has a back-up, her colleague who administers another similar system. Together, with their supervisor, they make up a team of individuals who need to collaborate and have access to particular files. Susan is planning to retire in a few years, and her supervisor knows that her years of experience will be difficult to replace. It may even be that for some time, the supervisor and back-up will have to jointly manage the system, until a qualified individual is located to fill the role. Having files related to the system in a System Administrator Role Team Drive will help avoid potential loss of file access.

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