Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Bake A SharePoint Cake

A SharePoint Project is no different to baking a cake. Without the right ingredients it can flop and you can be left with a sticky mess that nobody wants to finish. But what are the 'right ingredients' and where do you start? Perhaps the best way to find out is to follow the example of the television programme 'Blue Peter' and start with "one I made earlier". So lets start by looking at a succesful SharePoint Project, although how we measure success is another question. We will count a successful SharePoint Project as one where one month after 'Go-Live' people are no longer saving documents to their cluttered shared network drive and the word SharePoint is not always preceded by an expletive. The success story we will look at is a Chemical Manufacturing company based in the heart of England. Their SharePoint Project took just over six months (slightly longer than my Gran bakes one of her fruit cakes for), but you can't rush these things. So what ingredients were used in this successful project (the SharePoint one not my Gran's fruit cake). The most important one is a good SharePoint Project Team (obviously 'SharePoint' is a vital ingredient as well). Without a well built Project Team SharePoint can be doomed. The 'Well Built' Project Team needs to include a mixture of the following; 1. Project Owner - This must a member of the Senior Managers or even Mr. Big MD himself who will push SharePoint out to all areas of the business. I know it is tempting, but try to keep this away from the IT Manager. Otherwise who is going to shout at the IT Manager. 2. Project Manager - This person is in charge of the whole Project and they should have a good knowledge of the whole business. Still try and keep this job from the IT Manager as well. 3. Technical Lead - Now IT can get involved or it could be worth employing a SharePoint Consultant (I can recommend Officetalk in the UK, you might even get me). 4. Project Team Members - These are key people from each part of the business where SharePoint will be used. These Project Members can also become Super Users after Go-Live so treat them well and get them some SharePoint training. It is important to make these Project Team Members fans of Sharepoint as they will be the ones promoting it back to their area, or Department. The number of Project Team Members depends on how many Sites you think you will require although the best number is 6 to 10. If you have more than 10 the term about 'too many cooks' becomes true and you will never get anything decided. So now the Project Team is in place and you are ready to start mixing SharePoint with the first Project Team Meeting after weeks of trying to find a suitable day to hold it. The offer of a buffet lunch normally clears a few diaries. Now the ingredients are in place you can start following your recipe that will help lead your first SharePoint Project Team Meeting. This Officetalk freebie will help you start blending. SharePoint Project Checklist If only it was so simple to make a successful football team. Then I could supply Martin O'Neill with a checklist of players he should buy for the Villa.

1 comment:

Fred said...

Good oneliner this 'bake a sharepoint cake' ! I am looking for guidelines how to best set-up a sharepoint project. Eg first classify the target users, types of documents, security, metadata. Any tips for (free) further reading?