No, there are lots of reasons for the appalling performances of the great Aston Villa this season and ideally they will start to put these right in the summer. Hopefully ready for another season in the Premier League. The Premier League without AVFC is unthinkable.
SharePoint environments can also hit some pretty rough patches. My blog this week is going to compare how to prevent your SharePoint hitting the rocks with trying to avoid relegation from the Premier League. Many companies invest heavily in SharePoint with key members of the business forming a dream project team. SharePoint is launched with a big fanfare and everything is rosy. A little like a Championship team winning promotion. Reading and Southampton are celebrating now but for their managers the hard work has only just begun. Keeping their teams in the Premiership is the real challenge. With SharePoint the real challenge is getting users to use SharePoint and then keeping them using it. It is not as easy as it sounds.
Based on my 32 years of watching Aston Villa, my 7 years of SharePoint Consulting and my 8 years of playing Championship Manager I have drawn a list of six things that are needed to keep SharePoint working and to avoid relegation.
I have numbered them 1 to 6 but I think they are probably all of pretty equal importance. But let’s start with Management.
SharePoint like a football team needs somebody who is in charge and takes ownership. They need the full backing of the Board but they also need to be accountable. Despite what Microsoft might claim SharePoint won’t look after itself. It isn’t a project that once started you can walk away from. It needs a manager or a management team. There might have been very few successful management teams in football (I can only really think of Clough and Taylor) but in SharePoint Management Teams can work.
You might know how SharePoint works and might happily create custom lists and fancy views, but can all the End Users do this. In football even the best players need training and so it is in SharePoint that everyone needs some form of training and most importantly refresher training. It is worth setting up a designated Training Area where users can try new SharePoint tricks out. I have no idea what the Villa players have been doing in their training sessions this season. If you would like any onsite SharePoint training please visit the Office Talk website.
If you are using SharePoint you will need to continually invest in it and the money doesn’t stop after Go Live. As with a football club if you don’t invest in it your SharePoint will standstill or end up being relegated to the scrapheap. You need to invest in training, backup solutions, support and SharePoint Add-ons. I would strongly recommend having a SharePoint budget. But then as somebody who works for a company who just does SharePoint I would. If only Randy Learner would invest more money in Aston Villa perhaps the future wouldn’t be so bleak.
Maybe this should have been earlier but you need to have a plan. What would you like to do with your SharePoint, how are you going to develop it and will you be upgrading it? You always need to be reviewing and thinking what you can do next with your SharePoint. Football teams need to have a plan of how they are going to play and ideally a plan B when it doesn’t work. Football owners also need to have a plan of what they want from the team. Do they want trophies or a healthy balance sheet?
Your SharePoint system needs to be relied on. It needs to be working most of the time and contain the type of information the End User needs. In the same way football teams need players they can rely on. Players who will put in above average performances most weeks instead of players who are brilliant every five games but disappear for all the others. Regular Health Checks can help your SharePoint be reliable.
Perhaps some Villa players have been at Villa Park too long and become too comfortable. New signings may have freshened things up and kept things moving forward. In SharePoint freshness is vital and the need for continually updating content is so important. There is nothing more soul destroying than when as a SharePoint Consultant you are involved in an exciting launch, but return a year later to see exactly the same content and the Home site. Wolves were relegated this season with many of the players that had played for them in the Championship three years ago.
So those are my six pointers to avoiding SharePoint or Premier League meltdown. I feel that if you get those six right not only will you start to climb the table but your SharePoint will grow and grow.
So I need to now start thinking, what I can do as a fan to help the Villa beat Spurs on Sunday and keep them in the Premiership. Maybe my lucky pants need one last outing.