A regular SharePoint Romeo and Juliet tale
Ok, so there are no feuding Montagues or Capulets in this tale. Sorry to burst your bubble (especially on Valentine’s Day) but I assure you, this is still a love story.
Albeit this story has no Jack Dawson or Notebook Noah in it and there’s not even a single shade of grey to be seen. This is the story of a SharePoint Administrator playing matchmaker between his users and their new SharePoint environment. Please join me (or bear with me) as we shout our story from the terrace…
A SharePoint Love Story
Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was a young and aspiring SharePoint Administrator. Having recently purchased a SharePoint environment from Fpweb.net (it’s not a shameless plug if it really happened, right?), he longed for his users in the Kingdom of Corporate America to start using his environment.
After creating endless templates, lists and workflows, he could not get his users to fall head over heels in love with his environment. No matter what theme or web part he used, users still wouldn’t embrace the entire environment.
One cold January evening, right as he was about to give up all hope, he heard a stable hand typing away furiously in the stables on his laptop. As he approached the stable, he heard what the desperate worker was frustrated about. “How can I keep up with all these spreadsheets saved in different stables, not having a centralized spot to easily see how much each horse had to eat, who fed them last and when they were fed!”
The Admin walked up to the boy and using his vast SharePoint powers, showed him how to create a SharePoint list and then share that out to all the other Stable hands in the Kingdom. The Stable hand’s jaw dropped and was immediately lovestruck. He could not thank the SharePoint Admin enough for this new love of his life and promised himself to forever be faithful to SharePoint.
It then dawned on the Adminstrator. He has to work with each Department and talk to the users to find out what their frustrations are and show them how SharePoint can make their lives easier!
This was the answer to all his problems when it came to no one using his SharePoint environment. With this knowledge in place, he then came up this:
A Love Letter for SharePoint Administrators:
- Don’t make all the decisions yourself.
- As an Admin, you have the vast knowledge of SharePoint and how to use it.
- This does not mean that you can decide what the users need from SharePoint.
- That is for them to tell you.
- Talk to key, top performers from each department
- They will tell you what their current frustrations are with internal processes
- Identify their needs
- Ease them into this relationship
- Don’t bombard them with so much information that they get confused and don’t want to commit
- Start the spark, let that turn into a fire of love for SharePoint
- Show them how to use SharePoint
- Train! Train! Train!
- By showing those key users how to use SharePoint, they will turn around and show others how to use it.
- Empower your users
- Tell them to play around, use SharePoint. Take it out for a spin.
- Don’t be afraid to break something
- With the right security settings, there is extremely little damage they can do by playing around.
- Once they get more familiar or start yearning for more, give them a little bit more access to their site collection.
- Nourish the relationship
- Turn the group of key users from each department into a SharePoint user group/community
- Hold short sessions that allow you to demonstrate what other tools and features SharePoint has that can help their departments grow
- Features like:
- Office Web apps
- Email Alerts
- Project Server
- Business Intelligence
- Always open up a Q and A session
- Communication – the key to every solid relationship
- Talk to your users periodically and check in to see how they are doing
- Always ask questions such as:
- How has your team grown to use SharePoint?
- Are there any frustrations any one is having?
- How can we make things better?
After establishing the guidelines above, the SharePoint Administrator went on to become the most respected, revered and wisest Admin in the land. With the people of the Kingdom happy and in love, the King was extremely generous with his wealth and rewarded the Great SharePoint Admin.
How’s that for a love story! Happy Valentine’s day everyone!