Attention Management: Steps to Successfully Deploy SharePoint

Too often I find deploying SharePoint consists of installing the software on the server, making sure it runs and sending an email to users “SharePoint is installed – good luck!” If this sounds familiar, your SharePoint installation has failed and only a few people are actually getting the benefits from SharePoint. Here are the steps to follow for a successful deployment:

1)  Requirements gathering: Why are you deploying SharePoint?
SharePoint is a platform for developing web based applications. SharePoint comes with various templates that allow web sites to be easily created. Which templates do you require? Which templates don’t you require? Before you make that decision, a requirements analysis needs to be done.

If a requirements analysis is not done, some keen users will experiment and utilize some of the templates. You will get pockets of success, but not wide spread deployment and the promise of communication and collaboration will not be met.

2)  Executive Sponsorship: Where’s the cash and muscle?
Assuming you did some requirements gathering, you are well on your way. You will probably realize which template web sites you require, what customization you need to do and how the web site will positively affect your business. You will need money: for hardware, licensing, deployment, training, and muscle to introduce the necessary changes and new ways of doing things in your company.

3)  Deployment teams: Who’s doing the work?
So, you know what you what, have some coins in the bank to help you roll it out, and you have executive muscle to make it happened. Now you need the roles and responsibilities. Roles don’t necessary need to be individual people; some people can wear multiple hats.

A: The Technicals– to setup and configure the server to meet your requirements

B: The Project Managers or site owners – to make sure all the pieces are rolling out as required

C: The SharePoint developers – could be just SharePoint web site configuration via the web site (easiest and recommended), SharePoint designer, or Visual Studio developers. Depending on your requirements, assemble the correct team

D: The Trainers – SharePoint is about creating a web site to meet business requirements and someone needs to train each user group on the web site and the functionality of SharePoint.

E: The Evangelists – to get the buzz out, develop a following and get those laggards converted

4)  Test deployment: What could possibly go wrong?
Start with a small test deployment, learn from your mistakes, and improve your product. Then, and only then, roll out a production environment.

5)  Rollout: Make it happen
Users don’t care if your web site is created in Java, .Net or SharePoint. They only care about the functionality. Concentrate on your business requirements and why you deployed the web site for the users. Don’t focus on features they don’t care about, focus ONLY on features determined necessary in your requirements. What are their pain points and how can the web site help? Don’t call the web site SharePoint; give it a name that suits its purpose, eg Project Management, Human Resources, Help Desk, etc.

6)  Rinse and repeat: Repeat your successes
Congratulate yourself and your team on a successful business application web site deployment using a rapid application development platform called SharePoint. Learn from your successes and failures and start with step 1 again.

Gord Maric

CiRAM eSolutions Ltd
Specializing in SharePoint and Business Intelligence

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