Monday, 22 August 2011

SharePoint Success - Howzat?

So what does it take to make your SharePoint Project a success? I am typing this whilst watching the last day of the final cricket Test Match in the series between England and India.It has been a series which will end with England being the number one test nation in the world. As with SharePoint projects I have been involved with, as part of Office Talk, it is interesting to try to work out why England have become so successful. After the Botham, Willis and co. years English cricket suffered twenty years in the doldrums. Years were the Aussies often whipped our bottoms and an England Test match victory was as rare as a Gordon Ramsay swear-free sentence. So why are we suddenly so good?

I believe there are 5 reasons why England cricketers have become so good and these are as follows;

1. They have good coaches and mentors. Players who have been there like Graham Gooch.
2. They spend longer training.
3. They have good players in all areas. Best batters, bowlers and fielders.
4. Teamwork.
5. They have a winning mentality.

So back to SharePoint then and the best way of steering a successful SharePoint Project. The best starting point is the five points we included for the successful England cricket team.    

Firstly, good coaches or mentors. It really helps to have somebody involved who has been there before and knows about the pitfalls and the hidden gems of SharePoint. I strongly recommend you use a SharePoint consultant at least for the early weeks of your project. Somebody who can transfer their knowledge to your SharePoint Project team. I will, of course recommend Office Talk if you are UK based but there are lots of other SharePoint Consultants you could use. Look for ones who are only involved in SharePoint and have experience of working with similar companies to you. If you want a quote from Office Talk please email

Secondly, make sure that you Project Team (and Super Users) all have the necessary training. These are the people who will be working the most with SharePoint and sharing their knowledge with others so it is vital they have the correct teaching. Also provide all your End Users with at least a one hour training course and then once a year offer some more training. The more training users have the more likely they are to use the system and use the extra features. You wouldn't just give somebody a bat and expert them to be able to bat against a world class fast bowler.

Thirdly, have the best people on the Project Team from all areas of the business. Having all IT personnel won't mean success in the same way as having just a team of bowlers won't. You need people in project team who know how the business really works and can help provide a SharePoint environment that enhances procedures that are already in place and develop new ways of working that can improve the business.

Fourthly, the Project Team needs to be a team and whenever possible work together. Consistency throughout sites and document libraries will help the overall use of the SharePoint. Different Project Team members will have different qualities that they can bring to the team. Shared experiences can help to find and resolve issues even before piloting.

The fifth cricket one was 'a winning mentality'. I don't know if this one is really relevant to SharePoint, but I do feel that it is vital that both the business and all the Project Team members fully believe in SharePoint and what it can bring to the organisation. Any negativity from the Project Team will be passed to the End Users and can prevent success. The England cricketers have a belief that they can now win any Test Match and this is why they never seem to give in. What a great way to celebrate 30 years since Botham's Ashes.

The cricket season might just be coming to an end but the Premier League is very much back with us in England and on Saturday night my beloved Aston Villa FC were top of the league. I celebrated by pressing the pause button when the league table came up at the end of match of the day and filling in my SharePoint Premier League Performance site. You can follow the Villa's performance on SharePoint by visiting . There is also the chance to claim your own free 'My Premier League Performance' SharePoint Template by clicking here.   

Come on Villa lets starts challenging for trophies again as we were in the early 80's.

1 comment:

SharePoint Consulting said...

Looking forward to reading more. Great article post.Thanks Again. Really Great.