Yeah, But What Is Your SharePoint For?

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Date: November 14, 2016 at 1:18 pm


Yeah, But What Is Your SharePoint For?


I’m sure this will come as a shock to you – I love SharePoint!


I work for a company that specializes in SharePoint. I go to SharePoint conferences. I speak at SharePoint conferences. I spend my own money to go speak at SharePoint conferences.


Yeah, not much of a shock that I love SharePoint.


But this may actually surprise you. SharePoint may not be the right tool for every problem.


This is why it is so crucial to the success of your SharePoint implementation that proper discovery be done.


My colleague, Liz Sundet, runs a session at conferences called “Elevate Your Game – Real World Innovation Games for SharePoint”. One of the example games almost always plays out the same every time she does the session. A list of requirements is presented to the session participants for them to complete a task. But a crucial detail is withheld from the requirements. With some thought, the participants could easily realize that they are lacking a bit of information. But just enough information has been presented that they start designing the solution immediately. And when the test comes at the end, of course the resulting output is unable to meet the unstated requirement.


As an example, let’s say you are tasked with creating a “table” from a given set of materials within a limited amount of time. Because the word “table” conjures a specific mental image and you have that time limit, it is natural to start thinking about how to use the given materials to construct your table, and you might not realize that there are some crucial details about the table that haven’t been defined. (What? No one mentioned that it needs to be on wheels to move it from place to place? And narrow enough to fit through the doors?)


It is way too easy to jump into design if you have a pre-conceived notion of the solution. But jumping in too soon often means that crucial requirements are not discovered until too late.


At the same time, too little familiarity with a proposed solution can mean using the wrong tool for the job, or not taking advantage of capabilities that you might not be aware of.


When you implement SharePoint in your organization, start by defining what you are going to use SharePoint for. What problems are you trying to address? Are you using the right solution to your business problem? Is the problem defined completely enough that the solution will actually solve the problem? Are you taking advantage of all of the capabilities of the solution?


Teaming up with an outside expert resource to help you do that definition can help ensure that you take advantage of all of the capabilities, ensure that you are using the right tool for the job, and make sure you aren’t overlooking crucial details. 


But regardless of how you get your answers, take the time and care to define what your SharePoint is going to be for before you jump into design.


 Jim Adcock

The SharePoint Therapist

Focal Point Solutions


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