Foster a culture of SharePoint champions

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The forgotten player is the success of Microsoft SharePoint is the person on the project team who makes SharePoint work for the team. SharePoint may not even be part of their formal job description but from a combination of prior experience and knowing the potential in SharePoint to solve some existing project-level problem with project management, collaboration, or communications. I call this person a SharePoint champion.

Organizations who take a few simple steps to create a culture of SharePoint champions are going to reap the benefits in their business without a heavy financial outlay.

Here are some things organization can do to foster a culture of SharePoint champions:

Put SharePoint administrator control on the team level. When a SharePoint administrator is ensconced behind multiple monitors inside in an IT department with a hundred other more pressing responsibilities, a SharePoint site becomes an obstacle growing cobwebs. Project teams are either going to ignore or look to circumvent SharePoint sites if making site changes is a web of approvals, Remedy tickets, online forms, waiting and more waiting.

Embrace the SharePoint power user. SharePoint 2010 at Work by Mark Miller has a great write up about how you can work better with SharePoint power users and your user community as a whole. SharePoint power users spread across the project teams in your organization can be the shot in the arm an otherwise lukewarm reception to SharePoint and help dispel cynicism from previous subpar SharePoint experiences. The SharePoint Power User can be a SharePoint implementation team’s best friend or worst enemy as the case may be.

Develop, document, and communicate SharePoint governance policies. Along with putting SharePoint administrator control on the team level and showing the SharePoint power users in the organization some love is time to develop, document, and communicate SharePoint governance policies to the SharePoint user community. The policies aren’t meant to be a buzz kill but rather help set some site standards, support policies, and related policies to help ensure SharePoint meet is potential inside your organization. Lastly, there should be some training and/or communications about SharePoint government policies to empower the SharePoint champions studding out in the various project teams and departments in your organization.

Make SharePoint a central project management platform. Organizations can realize many benefits from centralizing their internal and client projects on SharePoint. Dux Raymond Sy in his book SharePoint 2010 for Project Management describes how to build a very useful (yet, code free) Project Management Information System using SharePoint 2010.

Look for the code free solutions your organization can create with SharePoint. With the right user roles, there are code-free solutions that organizations can create out of the box with SharePoint. With a book like, Microsoft SharePoint 2010: Creating and Implementing Real World Projects and the right roles, there is a lot of non-coders given the right amount of time to use SharePoint out of the box to solve some of their project-level issues and improve productivity. Going the Code Free solution avenue is great for fostering a culture of SharePoint champions because some development direction and tools are in the hands of the people who want SharePoint to work the most.

How are you creating your own culture of SharePoint champions?

Will Kelly is a technical writer and analyst based in the Washington, DC area. He has worked with commercial, federal, higher education, and publishing clients to develop technical and thought leadership content. His technology articles have been published by CNET TechRepublic, Government Computer News, Federal Computer Week,, and others. Follow Will on Twitter:@willkelly.

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