Book Reports · Professional Development

SharePoint Adoption

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This post cover’s SharePoint adoption considerations based on the whitepaper “8 SharePoint Adoption Secrets” by Lee Reed, currently available with Kindle Unlimited. These are the points that stuck out to me:

  1. For organizations new to SharePoint, adoption is often a “journey from a world of ‘information comes to me via e-mail’ to the world of ‘I can contribute information to a site for the common good.” This is important to understand, because with email has been around for a relatively long time, and people are used to it, which means bringing in SharePoint can require a paradigm shift, which is unlikely to be a trivial task.
  2. “The power of SharePoint can only be realized as the user community gains experience building lite applications with it that addresses their particular business needs.” I’m not sure exactly what Reed means by “lite applications” here (although he later alludes to users employing SharePoint Designer to create workflows), but I assume he doesn’t mean creating custom add-ins, which requires programming in HTML and JavaScript. At any rate, the key take-away is that users cannot be passive, they must understand and take ownership of their sites. The paradigm that the user group tells IT (or a SharePoint consultant) what they want and sit back and wait for it is wrong. Users must take the initiative with configuration.
  3. Reed suggests the initial roll-out of SharePoint be labelled a “beta” roll-out, to communicate to the team that feedback is expected, and not everything is going to work perfectly. My issue with that approach is how do you define the end of beta? Not sure their would be any organic point, since SharePoint configuration can be constantly revised.
  4. Always good to remember: “people support what they help create”
  5. Like any software project: “release 2 or 3 great things at a tie instead of releasing 15 or 16 great things”
  6. On governance: “The best approach is one that allows both the organic growth you desire while placing guardrails on the road…” I.e. give users ownership, but keep them in check so they don’t do any damage
  7. On training: “Training your users isn’t a 100-yard sprint, it’s a marathon.”
  8. Reed recommends creating sandbox sites for users to “play” in. “…create a team site within your SharePoint environment. Apply permissions to the site so that the general user community is unable to access it. Off of that site, create a team site for each of your business people that will be working with SharePoint. Give the ‘Full Control’ to their own site and ‘Contributor’ permission to the ‘main’ team site.”
  9. More on using users to take ownership: “IT’s involvement after a deployment (within the first 3 months or so afterward) should move from daily involvement and education to weekly oversight and the strategic planning of rolling out new features. Don’t assume that your users won’t be able to understand how to use SharePoint Designer to create a workflow or convert a list to XSLT format.”
  10. “…allow the users to present the solutions they have built. This will work to create a culture of community and support within your company. IT’s essential that the users drive the content of the group discussions as well as the presentation topics.”
  11. On legacy systems: “If SharePoint is replacing an existing system, educate the user community on why it’s replacing the prior solution and why SharePoint will be better than the prior system. If SharePoint isn’t replacing an existing system, educate the user community about when they will use SharePoint’s capabilities and when they will use the other solution.” I would add it is critical that user’s understand the work process SharePoint is expediting or otherwise improving. Make sure everyone knows what problem is being solved, otherwise SharePoint may seem like “just another hoop to jump through.”
  12. Make sure leadership buy-in is readily apparent: “When people understand that their managers have goals and expectations for SharePoint, and when the expectations are socialized, it gives people license to use the platform and learn the features.” If you don’t have leadership buy-in, you’re not going to get end user buy-in. Furthermore, leaders should be using the application. “If they [leaders] are not blogging, contributing to others documents or managing task and projects on SharePoint then others will question its value and will adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach.”
  13. Make sure users know the data they store in SharePoint is secure. Highlight redundancy and backup procedures. You don’t want your users feeling like they have to make their own backups or data on SharePoint is some insecure.
  14. Keep information on SharePoint relevant! I see this issue a lot on small company websites and even Intranets. Information becomes outdated due to lack of attention, and suddenly the website or Intranet site has lost all relevance. As Reed states: “When we see out of date information on our intranet or internet site we begin to discount all of the information on the web site.” “Keep all the information that is presented on your SharePoint sites as current as possible and remove old content with a vengeance.”
  15. Another tip for making SharePoint relevant: “Providing content only on your SharePoint sites make your SharePoint sites attractive to your users and they will repay you with increased use.”
  16. SharePoint implementation does not create collaboration at a company, but makes it more efficient. “Take time before your SharePoint project starts and discuss what collaboration means within your organization. Define it. Test the definition.”
  17. If SharePoint is an integral part of your business processes (and it should be, otherwise you’re probably wasting money), then add it to job descriptions. “Adding SharePoint content owner owner responsibilities to an individual’s job description helps to focus a content owner’s efforts on the SharePoint platform and assists in the management of information being stored on the system.”
  18. Make sure SharePoint solves a business problem! Otherwise it’s not part of the solution. “For users to adopt SharePoint, these capabilities must meet the user where they are; meaning that they must provide the power that’s needed to solve the user’s current challenge while also being easy enough for the user to understand and implement.”

What tips do you have from your SharePoint deployments/adoptions?

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