July 14, 2014 at 6:33 pm #182684
Hello, my name is Kim and I’m working on implementing SharePoint as our new intranet for the City of Montgomery. I am quickly trying to learn all about it through any kind of free training I can find. We are also going through a complete redesign of our website. Both the new intranet and website will launch on Oct. 1st.
Before, city employees would go to our website to get forms they needed. Since the city website is for the public/citizens, we are trying to create separation and make the website easier for the public to navigate and geared toward them. We also had a HUGE need for internal communications and a place employees can go to get the info that they need.
Is there anyone that can offer advice (or documents to help me) on the following:
- Design an innovative and engaging adoption campaign
- Focus on the “how” and “why” of a technology roll out—not just the “what”
- Build an intranet with communication and engagement in mind
Really, I’ll take ANY advice on SharePoint you can give. Has anyone been in a similar situation? What would you have done differently?
Thanks in advance!
July 14, 2014 at 6:44 pm #182732
July 14, 2014 at 6:46 pm #182730
Are you doing anything fun in rollout? Prizes? Meet the city manager? Fun videos, etc?
What’s the hook? If you were on the other side, “what’s in it for me?”? What’s fun? What helps me do my job better/easier/faster
July 18, 2014 at 6:09 am #182728
Thank you so much for the resources and ideas!
July 18, 2014 at 1:34 pm #182726
Hi Kim, Having gone through similar changes, I’d recommend NOT trying to use too much of SharePoint right away. Stick to document versioning and some basic things like adding useful links to the launch page, forms that everyone needs. I’d also put HR out in front as sponsors and key content providers. Gradually, users will begin to see the value and request new uses. For us, it was, I believe, the difference between success and failure. To get staff engaged, make something MUCH easier for them by using SharePoint and really get the word out about it. Market the benefit, even if it is technically tiny, as though it were sliced bread (emails, videos, contests, posters, word of mouth at meetings, presentations before staff, directors, elected officials, social media announcements, and so on.) Letting everyone know that this new staff website will save them time and frustration (Think about the value of versioning alone in situations where someone really damages their document!). Good Luck! -Bob
July 18, 2014 at 1:40 pm #182724
Rolling out a new website and intranet at the same time is a daunting task!
We’ve been using SharePoint for an intranet since 2007 and are about to start migrating to SharePoint 2013. We offered limited training with SharePoint 2007 and it was one of the barriers to adoption (don’t get me started on the others). So this time around, we plan to offer three levels of training: Casual user (search, nav and social), contributor and owner. As you probably know, Microsoft has a lot of free user triaining available online and so does Rackspace. I think (hope) training folks on the social piece will be key to getting them engaged.
Another thing to help people with the why is to showcase creative uses early and often. With SP 2007 we had some folks who jumped in and used the functionality to optimize processes. Showcasing their solutions sparked ideas for others.
Make sure people know what goes on their shared drives versus what belongs in SharePoint.
I’ve spent a lot of time with SharePoint, so feel free to ping me for more specifics.
Good luck and please post update on how your rollout goes!
July 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm #182722
Thank you so much for the tips Bob! I really do appreciate the advice… This is my first time working on an intranet, and I want it to go as smoothly as possible.
July 18, 2014 at 1:56 pm #182720
We’re doing something similar in our agency (albeit on a much less restricted timeframe and in separate stages). If you haven’t already looked at it, I really recommend the book “Essential SharePoint 2013” by Jamison, Hanley, and Bortuk. It will walk you through not only the basics of SharePoint, but some of the really important stuff that often gets overlooked (like architecture and governance).
One thing that our agency often overlooks when rolling out new technology is training the staff on how to use it. In my opinion, this is a HUGE part of getting people to adopt something new. Training helps them understand the “how” and “why” this new technology exists. That might be worth considering, if you aren’t already looking into it.
It sounds like you’re on a pretty good path for building an intranet. Communication and engagement is pretty key. We haven’t done a lot of planning for ours just yet, but we anticipate our weekly employee newsletter would be moved into a SP-based intranet (most likely on the front page). The intranet would also become the place to go to find commonly used forms and collaborative team sites for the various areas of our agencies. Some teams in our agency have already begun using collaborative sites in SP (we just need to reshape the larger framework around them), so we hope that when we build our intranet in SP it will be a natural transition for many – and that will help boost engagement and adoption.
For the public website, one motto our web team lives by is that “the website isn’t an archive.” It should only contain fresh, usable content that’s relevant to our public audience. Everything old and stale should be retired from the site and moved elsewhere (like the intranet) if it needs to be preserved. It sounds like you guys are on a similar path, since you want to streamline things for the public.
I’d love to keep in touch with you and hear more about what your organization winds up doing with both your website and SP. I’m sure we could learn something from what you guys decide. Thanks!
July 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm #182718
Thank you Susan!
If you’ve got time to explain the “other” issues you had with adoption of SharePoint, I’ve got time to listen and learn. I love the idea of the three levels of training.
We are having our first SharePoint team meeting today to discuss planning, rollout and adoption. I’ll keep everyone posted on how we go about it… everyone’s responses have been very helpful and I appreciate them.
I’ll keep sharing our progress (successes and failures) and hope that our journey will help others in similar situations.
July 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm #182716
Kim: Here’s what I can offer you…first, a good exercise to complete with your team is figuring out the key functions that the site would address and prioritize them. Below is an initial list to get the ball rolling (this may have been mentioned in the previous link, so forgive me if it’s repetitive):
- Tools (for most requested services, etc.)
- Community & Culture (building/promoting moral, highlighting people/teams, etc.)
The priorities you/your team may have for each these will drive the design, look and feel for the site. Additionally, I’ve found that coming up with a catchy name based on the organizational culture works well especially from an internal marketing sense. Secondly, there are some wonderful examples out there on social media, particularly Slideshare and Pinterest boards. You also may get some inspiration from examples posted last year by Richard Harbridge.
Finally, I would offer to that you poke around some of the sharepoint “communities” which can provide insights, tips and best practices from developers and other techies in the space. In my experience, users’ expectations of an “intranet” have morphed over the last few years going from more top-down to bottom-up. That said, you should be getting input from those line staff that would most likely use it more frequently. Discussion forums, polls or very quick surveys are great ways to gauge interest on projects or new initiatives as well as moral. The great thing is that Sharepoint comes equipped with all the functionality you’ll need to create something engaging. Unfortunately, I can not offer any proprietary documents, but look forward to any additional questions you may have.
July 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm #182714
We moved our intranet to SharePoint about six months ago and we are still sorting things out. A couple of things I wish I’d known earlier:
- SP is a collaboration tool, it’s not a communication tool. You can certainly use it for communication, but how successful you are depends on you. If you’ve organized your intranet so that people can easily find what they need, you’re off to a good start.
- Because it’s a collaboration tool, many people can add data in many different ways. You need someone keeping a high-level eye on who’s putting what where. If not, you’ll quickly find duplicates, important things buried, outdated information, etc.
- You might have a large governance document, but few people are going to read it. You’ll get better results by breaking up the rules and instructions and putting them where people are when they need to know them. For instance, on our site, if an employee wants to comment on a blog post, they click “Comment” and they see a link that says “Ready to comment? Please review the commenting guidelines.” That takes them to a short page that gives them just the information they need at that moment.
July 18, 2014 at 2:35 pm #182712
We recently went through the same process, updating our public website and launching a SharePoint site for employees. For the employee site, the best thing we did was to survey our potential users to see what content they would find helpful and how they would like to see it arranged to maximize their efficiency. Listening to them saved us a lot of grief and helped get their buy-in once we rolled it out. The one thing I’d do differently is to start a bit slower and let the users get accustomed to a few uses before moving on to additional ones. It was a bit too much too soon and we scared a few people off.
July 18, 2014 at 3:16 pm #182710
Agree with Lisa on her second bullet. We have “content managers” or “knowledge managers” that are trained in sharepoint and are in charge of their own division’s page. The look and feel should remain the same throughout the intranet, but it’s important that people are assigned to update and expand the areas they know best. This also means the architecture of the site is important.
Also, don’t try to do too much up front. The intranet will evolve, talk to your coworkers after it launches and see if there are areas that can be added or improved. Good luck!
July 18, 2014 at 3:23 pm #182708
I know you said you are seeking free training for SharePoint, but sometimes you really do get what you purchase. I would encourage you to take out a temporary membership at Lynda.com and go through the SharePoint courses there. The cost of a basic membership is $25/month and the premium membership, which includes practice files, is only $37.50. The cool thing about Lynda is you can find courses for your exact circumstances. Lynda offers SharePoint courses for the online version, the 2010 version, SharePoint Server, etc. You aren’t stuck trying to learn an application by piecing together your version of the application against training from another version. Lynda also makes it easy to learn in small bits, and you can grab exactly what it is you need at the time. The courses are laid out with a menu telling you exactly what you will learn. The full course might be eight hours in length, but you can learn a piece you need in 10 minutes or less. I was a doubter, but now consider myself a Lynda convert and use it regularly. It’s one of the best investments I’ve made when it comes to updating skills and application knowledge.
SharePoint can quickly become a nightmare, in part, because there are so many different tasks you can accomplish with it. What I learned from a SharePoint implementation a few years back:
- Plan your initial rollout thoroughly. What key features will you be using? Why? What is your hierarchy for groups, sites and sub-sites? Why? How many people will have access to make changes to sites, sub-sites, and documents? Why (what is your rationale)? What are the rules for operation (formatting, images, access, etc.)? Why? The answers to the ‘why’ become a part of the message you send to your internal people. It’s been my experience when people understand the approach and rationale, they are more likely to embrace the change and approach you with questions and suggestions for improvement.
- Use internal staff to do some user testing. (You can even use PowerPoint mock ups for this. It doesn’t require fancy.) Does your layout and hierarchy make sense to the people internally? If it doesn’t, do some re-thinking before deciding on a permanent layout.
- Plan now for expansion. How will you make changes to your sites as you grow and your needs expand? What are the protocols? What additional features do you think you will add and when? Talk to your internal staff. Do they have immediate needs you relegated to expansion?
Determine where your document life cycle! Where will documents be stored? In what format? Who has access to make changes to documents? You can never do enough planning in this area. Tips we learned:
- Documents are stored in one specific location. Each site may have its own document storage, but everyone knows if they need a document, they go to the site/sub-site and then the Current Document folder (whatever you choose to call it).
- Each document exists ONCE. Use the links feature if you want to have a document show up in more than one place. It is the only way to ensure everyone is using the correct version of a document.
- Develop a document flow process for changes or creation of new documents. STICK TO THE PROCESS.
- Use the versioning features like a religion.
It truly amazed me how quickly documents become unruly! I found we had several versions of documents (each carefully copied and reloaded in a different location, with people, each working with their own version, to make changes. It became unmanageable, and staff started hating the application rather than our sloppy processes.
Develop a library of acceptable images. Everyone likes to use images to help make a point, but again, images can quickly get out of control. Set up a general library for images (beginning with acceptable images) along with a flow process for adding images.
Share the rules of operation with all staff. If people understand the purpose of using SharePoint, the rules for using SharePoint, and why the rules are in place, your job rolling out the application will be easier and more successful.
We thought we had covered everything in our pilot process. We expected the enterprise rollout to be a snap. We didn’t plan on how our carefully planned approach would be interpreted by the additional people and working units during the enterprise implementation. Their perspective of our information didn’t always look the same as we intended.
July 18, 2014 at 3:56 pm #182706
Training is important, but I have found there can be a schism between training and usage. More often than not people are trained, but we do not help them create the necessary muscle memory by having them practice their new skills. My suggestion is for any document you put on SharePoint, never attach it to an email. Get people used to clicking on the link that you provide and they will use other aspects of the site more often as well.
July 18, 2014 at 5:38 pm #182704
Agree with other posts…SP can get out of hand quickly without proper governance and best practices. your objectives need to be a bit clearer than “engagement”…have your stakeholders/sponsors articulate specific measurable desired outcomes so you can measure success and align with your goals (eg 50% internal users will use site or 50 percent reduction in fileshares used).
As well think of ways to drive usage of site…build it and they will come does not work…you have to ensure it improves on how things are done today.
In terms of information architecture…pay close attention to how the info will be reused as well.
Take care and good luck.
July 18, 2014 at 7:41 pm #182702
I agree entirely with Bob’s statement about not trying to use too much of SharePoint right away. At my agency we all go a SharePoint site collection allocated with the “advice” that “you can do ANYTHING with SharePoint.” But that is a guaranteed way not to anything well.
One of the most well-regarded SharePoint gurus in our area, Dux Raymond Sy, goes so far as to say don’t call it SharePoint. SharePoint is just a platform. What you do with it is a content management system, a records management system, an Internet site, an intranet site, a collaboration platform, a workflow management system. Start with just one. Don’t just accept the defaults; think about what you and your users need. For example, that versioning Bob mentioned isn’t turned on by default for most libraries, but it is for some (Documents, Images, and Pages). So if you need versioning, you need to turn it on. And when you turn it on – and for all those libraries where it is already turned on – you need to set some limits on how many major and minor versions you will store. If you don’t your content storage will exceed your capacity and no one will be able to get anything done.
July 22, 2014 at 1:51 pm #182700
Kim, I don’t know if anyone else mentioned this, but what is also crucial is to have a SharePoint governance plan. Without providing proper boundaries (hard, soft, and medium varieties), users will sort themselves into a range of types, from the very complacent not wanting to use the platform much (discouraged or afraid to “mess up” something) all the way to the “ultra power users” who create very complex or highly customized sites that probably won’t fit your organization’s brand, look and feel, navigation, etc. The latter also will put more burden on IT admins as they try to balance databases and other routine tasks behind the scenes. Without governance, you also face the real possibility of people creating several thousands of tiny sites, collections, web parts, etc. that just grow uncontrolled; in the end, people will easily become even more siloed and more isolated than before as they run their pet site collections like fiefdoms.
On the other hand, governance doesn’t mean bringing the beat-down on users so hard that the platform becomes unusable and undesirable. Some organizations have done this in the interests of security or just plain fear or misunderstanding of what SharePoint allows, and ended up killing the investment and turning off people completely to SP itself.
Indeed, a balance is to be made between all stakeholders want, need, and would like. You and your colleagues are in the wonderful situation of starting new, so getting this right is truly an exciting time to engage your organizational culture and crafting solutions that’ll make most of the staff happy and glad. Since many of them have heard of it, they’ll be curious or eager to some extent, so don’t disappoint them by rolling out endless default settings nor rolling out something so tightly controlled like brochure-ware which ties their hands and leaves nothing to their imaginations.
I could go on and on, but do a search on sharepoint governance and you’ll find plenty of ideas. Personally, I took a course in it and really liked it.
July 28, 2014 at 8:00 pm #182698
Thanks for the advice Sandra!
July 28, 2014 at 8:04 pm #182696
Great info Brooke, thank you!! And I love your web team motto. I’ll keep you all posted on how this is going… We have decided to break down the intranet into stages, focusing on the departments that will need to come off our website for the launch first.
July 28, 2014 at 8:06 pm #182694
Thanks so much for the advice Sean! good stuff!
July 28, 2014 at 8:08 pm #182692
Great points and things to think about. Thanks Lisa!
July 28, 2014 at 8:10 pm #182690
July 28, 2014 at 8:21 pm #182688
Thank you for sharing your experience!!
I’m going to go plan now…
September 14, 2014 at 5:26 pm #231632
Let us know how it goes.
July 29, 2014 at 2:07 pm #182686
Make a value proposition to users. Why should they use SP in their day-to-day work that any other tool could not do. When I have seen SP rolled out, there has been no distinction about why I should change behavior from using email, a shared drive, or the old intranet. Thus ths technology gets used only by those who find it “neato” and we lose out on the full potential of the rule.
An old adage from my internal communications days is, “People will do what you ask when it is fun, easy, and popular.” Some potential ideas to do that:
– scavenger hunt to incentivize folks to explore the features in a non-threatening way
– enlist some early adopters to showcase their communities in visible places, almost like a science fair (ours was next to the cafeteria)
– keep it simple–don’t put so many caveats on the technology that it becomes unintuitive; also, be sure most people can do most things (don’t create another layer of complexity by requiring users to ask the administrator when new pages, permissions, users are needed)
– have a small cadre of non-techies pilot your training and give you feedback before you roll it out (what seems easy for the SP admin is probably not so easy for the rest of us)
-offer an in-person Help Desk. For the first few weeks, make a techie available in the lobby at a booth (Lucy-style) for folks to consult, maybe the hour before and after lunch? That person should be available to answer Qs on the spot and possibly demo particular features.
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