Google Shared Drives (Team Drives) Best Practices

Google shared drives (formerly known as Team Drives) are a feature in Google’s G Suite offering shared space in Google Drive where teams can create, store, search, collaborate on, and have access to all their team-owned files. Below is a list of best practices for using your shared drives here at the University of Michigan.

Related: Also review shared drive limits and observe these technical limitations when migrating data or organizing content.

Plan before you create a shared drive

Take the time to plan out your shared drive structure before you create one. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • How many shared drives do I need? There is no limit to how many shared drives you can create.

Note: Everyone in a team (i.e., shared drive members) can at least see a document in that shared drive and you cannot share at the sub-folder level. If you need a smaller group of people to have access to a particular set of documents, a new shared drive is needed.

  • How should we manage shared drive membership? Keep in mind that everyone at the top level folder will be able to see every file in the shared drive.

Establish Naming Conventions

There are currently no barriers set up in Google shared drives to prevent the same name for multiple shared drives, files, or folders. We recommend teams use the active directory prefix for your school, college or unit, or a generally recognized prefix for your school, college, unit or project.

Examples:

  • ITS | All Staff
  • LSA | Leads
  • EAS | FIN | Upgrade
  • ITS | INF | Shared Drives Rollout

Migrate Data from Google My Drive to shared drives

Migrate your files instead of making copies. Making copies could cause confusion and will change links that could be bookmarked or posted elsewhere. When a file is migrated, the link remains the same and the collaborators who currently have Edit/View/Comment rights to that file will continue to have access even after the file is moved to a shared drive.

Note: Google shared drives can contain a maximum of 400,000 files and folders. For more information on limits, see shared drive limits.

Assign Permissions Accordingly

We recommend giving the Manager role to only a few people while giving MCommunity groups and other individuals the Content Manager or Contributor role. The Manager role permissions include the ability to delete files, manage team members, and change the name of the shared drive. For more information on shared drives membership and permissions, see Shared Drives Overview.

Shared Drives Membership and Management

Membership can be managed individually or with MCommunity groups. We recommend using MCommunity groups so when a change is made in MCommunity, the change is also made automatically within the Google shared drive membership. When using an MCommunity group, we recommend giving the lowest appropriate permission level. Higher permission levels can be assigned to individuals in that group as needed.

Last Updated: 
Thursday, May 2, 2019