BPC: SharePoint End User Adoption with Kay McClure

Hello, Bamboo Nation followers! I'm here at the SharePoint Best Practices Conference in Reston, and the excitement is infectious! If you're there, make sure to say hello to your neighbor, because the amount of knowledge and expertise gathered in one place is astounding: IT professionals, developers, consultants, governance experts – you name the specialty, it's represented here this week. Not ready for a session to end? In the first session I attended, several attendees banded together and kept the party going at lunch so they could share notes.

Speaking of the first session…I sat in on SharePoint End User Adoption with Kay McClure, Product Manager for End User Products at Mindsharp. I had the pleasure of attending her SharePoint Power End User class two weeks ago, and was excited to hear that she would be a speaker here at BPC.

An impromptu survey of session participants showed there was pretty even representation from companies of fewer than 500 users, 500-5000 users, and over 5000 users. Clearly the interest in SharePoint end user adoption is relevant from small business to enterprise, and there were some government folks there too.

"The keys to a successful SharePoint implementation are: Planning, Training, Marketing, and Support." And, as Kay also pointed out, "You have to get users excited about SharePoint!" She listed a wide variety of creative strategies to show that there's more to SharePoint training than the traditional classroom and web-based training methods. Some of the strategies I thought were interesting (and some that just sounded cool):

Executive sponsorship – Critical to the success of any implementation, and sometimes a challenge, as several people in attendance pointed out.

Sandbox – Give your users a place to play after their training, so it sticks. "How many times have you walked away from a class and not had access to the tool?" Well said, Kay!

Real life scenarios – Give users good examples of how other organizations and others in their own organization are successfully using SharePoint.

Treasure Hunts – "Who doesn't want to win prizes?" (I had to smile a little that Kay's prize examples were iPods and iPads – I hope Microsoft wasn't listening in!)

"No other option" – For the hard core IT organization…No more file share for you!

Bulk loading parties – A little exotic, but I have to admit the prospect of free food and good company would make the tedious tasks of importing documents and migrating lists a little more bearable.

Of course, let's not forget documentation, wikis, Intranet content, incremental adoption (or as Kay called it, "easy first steps"), road shows, and a host of other ideas. Overall, my impression was that the "Best Practice" to secure SharePoint end user adoption was to have a good up-front implementation plan, multiple training options, creative internal marketing with executive sponsorship, and a well-defined support strategy.

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