More than words

SharePoint leaders owe it to the user base to stick to their guns when we talk about SharePoint. Don’t fall into the trap of using non-SharePoint words to describe SharePoint things.

More than words...

Words are EXTREME-ly important

For example- I’ve heard people refer to their SharePoint profile as their “landing page.” I hear other people refer to their My Site home page as their “landing page.” Still others say “landing page” when they mean the home page of their team site. This inconsistency and non-standard usage will only lead to confusion and frustration. If a user is interested in finding out how to update his profile, and he keeps Googling “SharePoint landing page,” he won’t find anything relevant. (Trust me, I tried.) That’s because no one calls the profile the “landing page” in any official capacity. So we shouldn’t either. Is this just semantics? I say no- it’s leadership and training played out in consciously managing what we say and how we say it, and taking every opportunity to get others to do the same. Continue reading

What puts the “dead” in “deadline”?

“Companies certainly shouldn’t expect overnight success…. on average, it takes one to two years past initial deployment for companies to reach their target adoption rates for social technologies.”

The above quote, from from Ann All’s post on Underwhelming Adoption of Social Technologies in the Enterprise, caught my eye as we inch closer to the rollout of SharePoint 2010. I certainly consider SharePoint a “social technology” so this insight definitely stood out to me. I am ever more concerned with post-deployment outcomes and making sure we are ready for the other side of that deadline date.

All’s post led me to this post by Laurie Buczek. Buczek refers, somewhat dejectedly, to an unsuccessful project which she walked away from after 2 years: “We deployed just another tool amongst a minefield of other collaborative tools – without integration. To make it even harder, we underinvested in transition change management.”

Clearly, flipping the switch is not enough. What happens next is the true indicator of the life or death of the project. Are you ready for the aftermath? Do you have a long-term training strategy? Do you have a dedicated support structure? Will users know what to do when they need help? Do they understand how the new product mixes with the old ones?  If you cannot answer YES to all of these questions, you may find yourself wanting to take the same walk Buczek did.

Of course no one expects instant adoption. But what DO they expect? Is there an adoption strategy? How will you know if you’re on track? Will you be able to point to metrics that indicate whether adoption is even occurring? What are the key performance indicators?

Planning and preparation are not a waste of time. As pointed out above, they are investments. They pay off later, which is why they are so often pushed aside in favor of “right now” deliverables demanding faster turnaround. But they matter. Their absence is a colossal risk.