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Bloody SharePoint, no I love SharePoint


Exactly a year ago I was attending the SharePoint Saturday in my hometown Stockholm, it was on the 14th of February so there was love to SharePoint on Valentines day.

Not everyone loves SharePoint, I meet frustrated users of SharePoint when I tell them about my job and passion do they tell me, ”I don´t like that bloody SharePoint”. That is one of the nicer things they say about SharePoint, I will today spear you from all the swearing I hear about SharePoint. I will today focus on what I have seen as background to this frustration these users have against SharePoint.

Underestimating the complexity of SharePoint

I have met with companies that don´t realize the complexity of implementing SharePoint so they just install and start working without building a plan or even knowing what they want to achieve.
I have heard of SharePoint as a Swiss army knife or like Lego, I say it is like a puzzle. Do you want 50. 500, 5000, 50 000, 500 000 or 5 million pieces? Have you seen the picture on the box of the puzzle? If you see or hear of someone who is about to install SharePoint without a plan, take their laptop or their keyboard and tell them they have to ”buy it back” bt paying you with their plan that has to be approved by the users who should us it!

Lack management support

To be succesful in getting user adoption and end users who see a benefit in their daily work with SharePoint you have to have BDMs and C-level support! In order to get the best usage you have to get management buyin to implement SharePoint with succes and happy users, I don´t think I have to tell you that management has to use SharePoint themselves. Employees don´t do what you tell them, they do what their managers do.

How do I navigate in SharePoint

Many users feel they don’t know the best way to navigate in SharePoint, I am aware that it can take some time to find the best way. Usually is navigation issue due to lack of planning as above. There are also many different ways to navigate in SharePoint and there is no right or wrong way. The best is to shwo all the different ways and let the pilot-team find out what works best.

No pilot implementation

You need to test the best solution for your organisation, I tell users to build test, training and pilot-implementation prior to put SharePoint into production. It is so easy to get lost or take a path that leads to a ”dead-end”. The result is often to do a redesign, don’t try to fix a broken or bad implementation, you caneasily end up with an even bigger mess.

SharePoint is so ugly and boring!

This is a concern I hear from time to time from users, usually at larger roganisations. The SharePoint IT-team does a great job to design so the SharePoint works technically good and easily reproducable. It is a thin line with doing enough coding and not doing to much coding. I have seen sites that are ”branded to death” with coding, especiaally in SharePoint Online.

Lack of consistent end user training

I don’t understand organisations that implement SharePoint and are not training the end users, usually it is the same organisations that claim the staff is their biggest asset.
Like I wrote above with how huge SharePoint is, the need of training is vital to success in implementing SharePoint with good user adoption. This training has to be consistent and sometimes done over and over again, my work as an architect is after implementation as being the SharePoint mentor.

All of the above is easily solved by having workshops prior to implementing SharePoint, once it is implemented you need to establish proper change management to avoid having an information graveyeard in your organisations SharePoint. This is what I plan to write about next week.

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