Summit 7 Team Blogs

“Thou Shalt Use SharePoint”… Now What?

The word has come down from on-high, “Thou Shalt Use SharePoint”. Management has heard all the buzzwords and has bought the licenses. The directive has been given to IT and the pertinent business managers, “Use SharePoint.”

IT isn’t used to SharePoint. (If you’ve ever been thrown into the SharePoint pool without floaties then you know all too well – It’s a different beast.) So they go to YouTube, TechNet, MSDN and maybe even buy a copy of the SharePoint2013 Pocket Guide from Sam’s.

They install SharePoint. How hard can it be? Install, Next, Next…

Assuming that goes well and Web Applications get built without a hitch (except a few minor heart attacks for the SQL and Active Directory admins), some Site Collections get built – With no input from the people who will be using them because that’s not how it’s been done before. Time passes and pretty soon an email goes out to the department heads in the company, “Here’s the link to your SharePoint site. Good luck and God bless.”

The manager reads the email (maybe) and forwards it to a few folk. Many of them read it and go, “Huh? Whatever,” and the site goes unused. A few intrepid individuals will see it and say, “Oh cool! Something new!” One or two of those blessed souls may even have heard of SharePoint and will be thrilled that they now have it.

From this point on one of two things happens with the majority of sites IT has created. They never get touched or people click around enough to get the hang of uploading documents into document libraries. Since they hate their current file share they decide to take the contents of it and dump them into SharePoint.

Time goes by.

Lots of sites are unused. Management thinks, “Why did we ever waste money on SharePoint?”

Lots of sites have become cluttered with unsorted, ungrouped massive Shared Documents document libraries. It’s hard to find things. There’s no order. It’s frustrating, just like the file share. Search may not be working and even if it is, lack of meaningful columns and tagging makes search results mostly unhelpful. Management thinks, “Why did we waste money on SharePoint?”

Thou Shalt Use SharePoint

Does any of this sound familiar? Have you been here before? I have; on both the IT and the business side. It’s painful and frustrating for everyone involved.

I’ve had the pleasure of teaching and working with business and IT folks across the country, helping them learn how to get more out of SharePoint. More than a web-based file share. We’ve worked to de-clutter and organize the chaos that can be introduced to department sites when plain ol SharePoint is never massaged, never examined to help teams accomplish their goals.

The scenario I outlined above is a common theme with common pain points but also with common solutions.

The best first step is to stop.

The British military advises its soldiers, when lost, to stop, sit and have a cup of tea. This keeps soldiers from acting blindly. If forces them to reassess the situation and recharge a bit so they can think clearly.

This piece of advice also applies to SharePoint (and many other areas of life). Stop and look at how you and your team works. What is great? What is frustrating? Not just in SharePoint but the big picture of what it takes to get your job done.

After that it’s time to PREACH.

I’ll be going over the points of PREACH at the SharePoint Saturday event in Dallas on November 2nd at the Microsoft campus.  If you’re not able to join us there, stay tuned and I’ll fill you in on the keys to PREACHing SharePoint.

Hope to see you in Dallas!!

About Joy C. Turner