SharePoint Best Practices Posts, Day 1 of 10. Avoiding failed deployments and newbie mistakes.

April 9, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Best Practices Posts 

Well it seems a long time ago but it is actually only 72 hours since the first European SharePoint Best Practices Conference kicked off in London. The three days were very intensive with 63 possible sessions to visit and our decision to send 4 colleagues was fully justified with so many inputs available. Looking back at day 1 we arrived for the Keynote with Mr SharePoint, Joel Oleson, running the opening session. Joel presented an overview of the 10 factors you should consider when deploying SharePoint in your environment. For our team at Twynham this was really encouraging to see that most of what we have done aligns with the views of the SharePoint Community.

Joel has kindly made his Keynote deck available from Slideshare and I have added it below with permission. It is well worth working through and most of it will make sense without the input we received from Joel. Below are my thoughts on what instantly made sense to us and aligns with what we have already done.

View more presentations from Joel Oleson.

What made sense- Top 3 things we have already done.

  1. Adoption is what counts. For our SharePoint setup we have always believed that the most important measure of success will be user adoption. This drives everything and at the end of the day if your SharePoint is not being used it is likely to have failed. How did we achieve this? Perhaps one motto sums up our philosophy at Twynham- Content is King. Whilst this is an over simplified statement, in education too may people spend endless hours discussing and searching for VLEs. If you build rich and varied content into your Learning Platform which makes the end users experience richer they will use it. This leads nicely into point 2 which is…
  2. Keep it Simple Stupid. Most of the discussion I see in education focuses on ‘The Magic Bullet’ with online learning and so many people avoid the easy gains that can be made with a learning platform by waiting for the killer app (VLE with SCORM compliant resources) which has shown little sign of appearing. This fits in with a third ot Joel’s 10 top tips which resonated with us- Build a Service not Install Software. A classic example of how we have done this is The Revision Gateway which was envisaged as a ‘One stop shop’ for all your revision needs.
  3. Get a Passionate Executive Sponsor. This was something we only realised we had done when seeing Joel’s deck but it instantly made sense. I have spent most of the last 3 months talking about how we engaged end-users with SharePoint but looking back none of this would be possible without the engagement of our Headteacher and to some extent the whole Leadership Team. They provide the financial resource and allow the time, input and focus in the school which ensures our SharePoint deployment is successful. It is no surprise that our number one point on the School Development Plan is the Learning Gateway- we have full Executive buy-in and it is essential for success. 

Tomorrow I will cover the three key messages we took away from the keynote which we feel we need to work on to develop our SharePoint deployment further. My 3 colleagues who came along to the conference are busy polishing their more technical posts which will appear from Saturday onwards for a week so look out for them.

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