10 Secrets of SharePoint Success

San Diego — At the SharePoint Best Practices conference here today, the keynote speaker provided the ultimate SharePoint resource: a list of 10 steps to success with SharePoint.

SharePoint Best Practices
is produced by Mindsharp, which is a technology training and education company. This is their second SharePoint Best Practices conference; the debut event last year was in Washington, D.C.

The keynote speaker was Joel Oleson (pictured), who is a SharePoint Evangelist and Senior Product Manager at Quest Software. However, he’s probably best known for his tenure at Microsoft, where he architected Microsoft’s internal SharePoint deployment, and also served as product marketing manager for the launch of SharePoint Server 2007.

Here, without further ado, are Joel’s 10 steps to success with SharePoint. What’s in bold are his points; the descriptions are my summary of his comments.

1. Confront reality. Assess the situation, and determine where you are right now, with skills, resources, culture and plans.

2. Create a governance plan. You need a governance plan to define services, resolve ambiguity and mitigate conflict within the organization. The plan explains defines services by using people, process and policies.

3. Get an executive sponsor. Because a successful SharePoint implementation will necessarily affect organizational policies, processes and culture, it’s important to have genuine, sincere and consistent top-level support.

4. Create a dream team. You’re not going to have a successful SharePoint deployment if your team consists of a single guy who’s designated as the new SharePoint admin, and maybe a developer who’d rather be playing with AJAX.

5. Build services, not stuff. A SharePoint deployment requires software, data, metadata and other artifacts, duh, but that’s not the point of the deployment. Don’t forget: The reason you deploy SharePoint is because of the services it offers the organization.

6. Define clear policies and standards. Users across the organization want guidance about what they can do, what they can’t do, who does what, what’s appropriate, and so-on. Ambiguity and vagueness are bad.

7. Invest in scalable information architecture. When planning the deployment, understand where the scalability pain points are, so you can plan for them.

8. Don’t forget change and risk management. The SharePoint deployment you envision is not going to be exactly what happens. Be sure to plan carefully — but stay flexible and responsive to changing needs and changing realities.

9. Adoption is what counts. The job’s not done just because the software is running. If information workers aren’t using SharePoint, you’ve lost. If workers aren’t taking SharePoint farther than you expected, you’ve lost.

10. Keep It Simple Stupid. Make your SharePoint project a series of many easy wins. While it’s great to have big plans, use a phased approach that is realistic about what you can accomplish, and go from success to success to success.

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick
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