Lots have been written in the SharePoint community about the product, how it helps people collaborate better and strategies for user adoption. This has been an area that I have spent a lot of time both working on, researching and writing about. More often than not my learning and knowledge has been driven from outside of the SharePoint bubble, a lot has come from my background and affinity to the agile community and how it has battled over the years to change the way software is defined and developed and from a general openness to look at new ideas and techniques like dialog mapping, innovation games and the doodle revolution to name a few.
When I started planning this post and adding in all of the areas I wanted to cover it grew to a length that meant it would never get completed, or if it did it should be in book form (it’s now on my books to write list). This is the abridged version that I hope provides enough insight and helps broaden the conversation.
Whilst enjoying a wonderful pint of Liberation Ale, at SharePint, following the 1st official Channel Islands SharePoint user group, the conversation shifted to the challenge that is often seen where, really successful, well implemented, aligned to business goals and meeting all of the normal measures of a successful deployment of SharePoint there is something missing. People aren’t really using the platform fully or aren’t progressing forward on their journey and changing the way they work.
It is evident that people revert back to old habits, to the way they used to work and often fail to change the way they work and to realise the real benefits that a platform such as SharePoint can being.
“We guarantee that within 90 days 100% of your initial user groups will be trained and using Huddle actively”
“Active user is defined by at least one auditable action per user over a 90-day period.”
“Huddle’s Customer Engagement team require the co-operation of internal and external user groups in order to provide training services as purchased.”
i.e. Huddle define user adoption as one auditable action, during the initial 3 months of the project when they have a customer engagement team on site and are actively training.
None of the projects I have worked on have defined a measurable success criteria as being one auditable action so its a bit of marketing license, however the requirement for a customer engagement team and the co-operation of internal and external user groups is something people should take note of.
PS: Nothing against Huddle, I just don’t want a marching band outside the house anytime soon.
Its not confined to SharePoint
The SharePoint community for all it’s good points can sometimes be a bit insular, perhaps thinking somehow what is being done is unique or special in some way. Honestly there is a lot going on in the outside world, at 21apps we feel we bridge this gap and continue to funnel new ideas and practices into the SharePoint bubble as this example shows
A post by Neil Usher, titled “The light at the end of the tummel” really struck me.
In my (now) twenty years building workplaces around the world, despite the visual and practical success I have witnessed, there has always been something missing. I have never been able to put my finger on it.
Sound familiar – successful project, but something not working.
The puzzle is now mirrored in the virtual, in social networks internal to organisations such as Yammer that end up as ridiculously safe and benign environments where no-one talks to one another or shares anything worthwhile, fearing to tread.
OK replace Yammer with SharePoint and he’s nailed us.
The phrase “build it and they will come” omits to state that they will understand it, embrace it, actively get involved, and that their lives will change for the better. Why do we expect that having built it, people will just “get it”? Communication is not enough.
We know the phrase, its not reality and they won’t come.
In the workplace profession we create environments, bring people together, and believe we are creating “communities” – we complete the project, engage and communicate, and sit back and – phut. Nothing.
Still sound familiar? Replace workplace with said SharePoint word
We observe the same things happening in the same ways, with perhaps some minor change around the frayed edges. Then everyone involved runs off and gets the obligatory award, leaving a ghostly void where the community might have been.
OK – now I’m pointing a finger at all the Gold Partner types out there that have loads of plaques on their office walls and web sites when all they did was build it.. did they come???
The next part of the Neil’s blog resonates with me and the work we are doing at 21apps. You may have seen tweets from me and others in the SharePoint Centre of Excellence #SPCoE – a small team of people passionate about SharePoint and everyday doing things differently, encouraging, supporting and mentoring people, helping people over come the feeling of loss they feel during a transition to a new way of working.
In the social world, people lie at the centre of business, technology and culture. And so the modern workplace needs – as Lloyd Davies puts it – people doing things differently, and talking about doing things differently. It needs people in the workplace able to impart the art and skills required to engage in the social world. They may be existing employees – they may be people brought in for the purpose. The workplace needs – indeed requires – tummelers.
21apps are Tummelers, people doing things differently, and talking about doing things differently.
Tummel is a Yiddish word. A tummeler is a person who catalyses others to action, traditionally hired at Jewish weddings to encourage everyone to dance. It originates from the German tummeln, which means ‘to stir’.
The last paragraph in Neil’s post is again so easy to relate to SharePoint projects
We spend a huge amount of money building and operating workplaces, and filing them with employees. Funding the vital role of tummelers is barely a rounding error in relation to the investment, yet is vital.
When did you last buy a car without an ignition key?