There will be occasions when you need special groups to manage specific lists and libraries, it is very important to get the settings right. (These settings are applicable to SharePoint 2007 as well).
- Name – it may be Project Managers for example. A handy tip is to create it with the same name as the library / list you are planning to link it to.
- About Me – it is very important to copy the URL of the site this group is applicable to and paste in here! If you do not, it will be near impossible to access it again without a third party tool to manage permissions. See more on this below.
- Group Owner – you can only have one person as the owner. Don’t forget to change this name if that person leaves the organisation.
- Who Can View Membership of This Group – it is very important to change the default setting and make it “Everyone”! Troubleshooting permissions makes up 80% of all support calls – this setting makes it even harder. If you leave it as Group Members, when you click on that group when you are not a member, you will see “You do not have permissions to view this group”. This makes is real hard to get help from the Site Owners when you don’t know who they are. It doesn’t matter who can see the members of the group, you need to know who the next person is in line to get assistance from.
- Who Can Edit the Membership of the Group – this does matter however, especially if this is an Owners group. You don’t want all the people in that group having the ability to add and remove people, there will be no control. Make sure only the owner of the group can edit this.
- Allow Requests to Join / Leave the Group – you can decide if you want people to be able to request access to a group.
- Auto-Accept Requests – unless this is a Visitors group, it is absolutely not advisable to to auto-accept anything. You can only enter one email address in that field.
- Choose the Permission Level Group Members get on this Site – if you are creating a new Members, Owners, Visitors group for a team site, you would tick a box now to assign permissions. If you are planning to allocate this group to a list or library, you wouldn’t tick it now, you would do that in the settings of the applicable list or library. (Otherwise all these people would just have general access to the whole site, not just the list or library).
Once your groups are created, you can view them under Groups. This is a list of all the groups created in a site collection. Look at the difference between the About Me sections on the groups. The Bad group has no URL. The Good Group has the one we copied and pasted; and all the default groups created with a new site have a description and link in by default to the site the group is applicable to. Note the site we are currently on, LC Home. One would assume A Bad Group would link to a site that is called Bad perhaps. But if you click the name of the group or the Edit icon to edit it, notice where you are.
You are looking at the membership or edit setting of the group, but you are still on the site you started from! You are not in the site the group is applicable to.
If you do not have a third party tool installed on the platform specifically to manage permissions, the only way to find out where this custom group is applicable to, is to click through every single site in the site collection and look at the permissions to find it. Can you imagine the scope of this task? This is why it is critical to insert the link to the site the group is applicable to in About Me.
If you create custom groups and you no longer need them, it is important to delete them. If you don’t, people may get save conflicts as they try to create groups that already exist but are dormant.
Please note that when you delete a site, make sure you delete all your custom groups applicable to that site first as they do not automatically get deleted like the default Members, Owners and Visitors groups.
If you are a Site Collection Administrator, it is your job to implement measures and governance to ensure the proper management of groups in that collection. Make sure you and your Site Owners have the proper training to manage sites.
Go and click on your Groups link now to see what state your permissions are in and put measure in place to get it sorted out sooner rather than later.