Imagine that you’re in the market for a new house and you see a 1950s-era bungalow with a “for sale” sign in the yard. The house is beautiful from the outside, so you decide to put in an offer to buy it sight unseen.
A few weeks later, the deal closes and you pack up all of your stuff to move into the new house. When you finally open the door for the first time, however, you notice a few big problems: There aren’t enough bedrooms for your family, the house doesn’t have any appliances, and there isn’t nearly enough storage space to fit all of your stuff.
That’s a crazy scenario, right? No one would buy a house that way.
That might be true, but the metaphor above is a fairly accurate way of depicting how some organizations treat SharePoint deployments.
In fact, we routinely see companies make three common mistakes when they go about implementing, upgrading, or enhancing SharePoint:
1. Failing to incorporate business teams into SharePoint deployment
Just as you wouldn’t buy a house without taking into consideration the needs of your whole family, you shouldn’t approach a SharePoint deployment like it’s only one department’s responsibility: IT.
Too often, SharePoint deployment is treated like a purely technical job. That’s a problem, because for a SharePoint deployment to be successful, the team that implements it needs to be comprised of people from the departments that will be using it. It’s only logical that the people who will interact with and use SharePoint have input on the strategies and decisions for the implementation.
2. Moving too fast (or too slow)
SharePoint deployments can take as little as a few months or as much as a year (or more). The project timeframe isn’t what really matters, though. And far too often, we see companies either try to rush the deployment or allow it to get bogged down by typical internal roadblocks.
The right way to handle a deployment is to treat it like any other mission critical project. If you take the time to define your goals and understand the resources needed to accomplish them, you should be able to create a project scope with specific deadlines that allow you to complete the deployment efficiently and effectively. Then make a commitment to the plan and the time it takes to do it right the first time. Again, this is no different than buying a house. You need to understand your budget, your family’s needs, and your ideal timeline before you move forward.
3. Forgetting to purge before deployment
If you were moving to a new home, you’d spend time going through all of your stuff to decide what’s worth keeping and what you could do without. Deploying SharePoint is no different. If you move all of your old content and files to SharePoint without deciding what belongs there, where it should go, and who it benefits, you’ll have a hard time finding what you really need.
Taking the time to perform a content audit is critical to a successful deployment. The goal should be to only move the files that are vital to your business.
Have you made any of those mistakes?
If so, you aren’t the only one.
Here’s the good news: There are a few simple best practices that can ensure your next SharePoint deployment, enhancement, or upgrade gives all of your teams the structure they need to extract optimal value.