How do I create and manage ad hoc groups?

Most Watershed clients manage groups using an automated integration with an HR system or similar. These integrations normally sync groups data overnight ensuring people are always assigned to the right groups. Sometimes you also need to create an a group directly in Watershed. This is useful if you do not have a groups integration set up, or where you need some extra groups that aren't part of your integration. 

Who can use this feature?
 User Types
Only Global Admins can create ad hoc groups. Global Admins and Area Admins can add people to existing groups.
Available on paid plans (Analyst, CLO, and Enterprise).
Anybody (both beginners and experts) can use this feature.

 Please note: Depending on how your groups integration is set up, group assignments for people may be overwritten every time your integration script runs. In these cases ad hoc groups may not be useful since people will be automatically removed. In other cases, your groups integration may be configured to only add people to groups and not overwrite their groups, in which case ad hoc groups will work fine. Contact us if you are unsure how your integration is set up and if it’s possible to change it.

Creating groups

 Heads up: The default group template should only be used for simple manually created CSV files about ad-hoc groups. To import data from another system that contains groups data, you should use a group import template.

Creating groups manually can be done by uploading a CSV file defining the groups. To do this, go to DATA / CSV Data on the menu, then select the Default Group Import Template. Download the example CSV file.

The default template file contains a number of example rows illustrating how the template works.

Each row provides space for enough information to define a group, assign one child group to that group and/or assign one person to the group. Groups and people can appear in the file as many times as are required for all the groups and group memberships to be defined. Child groups are groups that sit inside parent groups and are useful for building hierarchies. If a person is a member of a child group, they are also a member of the parent group (and any parent of that parent group) too.

In the example file the rows function as follows:

  • Row 2: Creates a group called “Global” with the id “global” which has no type. Also creates another group called “Region 1” with id “region1” of group type “Region” and makes this a child group of “global”.
  • Row 3: Creates a person “Learner Mclearny” (If they don’t already exist) with the email “”. Assigns “Learner Mclearny” to region1.
  • Row 4: Creates a Region group called “Region 2” with id “region2”.
  • Row 5: Creates a person “Another Mclearny” (If they don’t already exist) with the email “”. Assigns “Another Mclearny” to region2.
  • Row 6:  Makes region2 a child group of global.

It’s also possible to include no people in the file at all and just define the groups; you can then use Watershed UI to manage group memberships as explained below. A very simple groups file might only use columns A, B and C to define the id, name and group type of groups to be created, without defining parent child relationships or group memberships.

Edit the template to define the groups you want to create and then upload the edited file to Watershed:

Check the preview to ensure you have uploaded the right file. Make sure that the people and groups totals are correct and check the Row Details to confirm the file has been set up to create the groups and memberships you want. When you are happy with the import, click Start Import.

Depending on the size of the import file you created, the import could take anything from a few seconds to a few days. For very large files, there can also be a period of processing after the import completes before all the data is available in reports. Please be patient during this period.

Adding people to groups

You can also add people to groups directly in Watershed. Go to SETTINGS / Your Organization and find the group that you want to add people to.

Scroll down to the People section of the group page and click Add Person.

Search for the person you want to add, then click Add Person.

The person is now added to the group.

 Please note: Reports will need to recache before showing updated group information.  Users with permission to see the group may need to sign out and back in again before the change is reflected in their permissions.

 Warning: There is no way to remove a person from a group in the UI; people can only be removed from groups via CSV or API. Please take care when adding people to groups.

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