(Note: This is a guest post by Tahoe Partners Director of Enterprise Collaboration David Sidwell.)
This is the final week of our five-part governance blog series. We’ve spent the last 4 weeks exploring numerous concepts around governance, including an overview on the series, details around a SharePoint Strategy and Governance Plan, technology solutions that provide governance automation, and understanding how your users are using SharePoint and taking appropriate actions. In this final installment of the series, we’ll focus on the importance and types of training and communication that go along with a successful governance plan and automation.
None of it Matters without Adoption
Over the last two years, one statement that has consistently resonated with our clients is that you can’t have a successful implementation of a collaboration solution (SharePoint) without adoption. The bottom line is if users are not adopting the solution, you are most likely failing to meet the key objectives you set at the beginning of the project.
In addition to solid governance, a great user experience, good response time, and appropriate functionality, training and communication are key components of obtaining and maintaining high levels of adoption. Training and communication work together to inform individuals of capabilities, guidelines, best practices, “what is in it for them”, and the how-tos surrounding the collaboration environment.
Target Training to Specific Roles
One staple of all training is to target the training toward the audience. This holds true for training around collaboration environments too. You will have numerous roles, often including:
- Content Owners
- Content Contributors
- End Users
- Business Analysts
- Governance Committee Members
Each role has specific training needs around the use of the system, the governance areas that are appropriate to them, and how they can accomplish specific needs through any governance automation that has been put in place. In order to understand the specific needs for each role, we often suggest creating a matrix of roles and training areas. This serves as the guide when creating the actual training material.
Train to the Level Your Users Can Handle
Besides targeting training to specific roles, it is also important to train according to what users can handle. With a platform like SharePoint where there are so many capabilities and often three or more ways to perform the same tasks, you want to avoid overloading users with training they won’t use for many months. Not only does this confuse and frustrate users, they typically don’t remember it that far in the future anyways. Establish a training plan, which outlines what training each role needs in the near term and the subsequent training appropriate for the future. Having a solid SharePoint roadmap allows you to better understand what the future environment will look like so you can anticipate training needs.
Remember, training sessions can be an excellent source of feedback. Be sure to capture feedback not only on the training sessions, but also on the collaboration environment and supporting governance processes. Revise training based on what you learn – even if it means near real-time updates.
Has Anyone Ever Been Accused of Over-Communicating?
There is arguably some over-communication in this world, but I’ve never seen it on a collaboration project. New functionality, new tools, changes to how work is done, changes to employee behaviors and other major impacts of a new or updated collaboration environment mean communication is paramount. Just like with training, communication needs to be targeted to specific roles at specific times. In fact, communication and training should be coordinated to work together. Some items are best delivered by communication and reinforced during training, while other material is best introduced during training and touched upon in a subsequent communication. Communication can itself be training.
Your users, including all levels and roles throughout the organization, will appreciate regular, informative communication on the collaboration environment and how it benefits them and the entire enterprise.
This concludes our series on governance. We hope you’ve found it valuable and encourage you to leave comments below with any thoughts or questions you have on the topic of governance.
For more on the topic of governance, please be sure to check out past posts on both the AvePoint Community and the Tahoe Smart blog.
By pure coincidence, this was the first blog of the series that I read on Governance. I have an alternate take on Training and Communication, for a Business Analyst perspective: if SharePoint is already deployed then it is likely being used poorly, incorrectly, or not at all. I think you need to start with Training first, while the BA defines the site requirements. For example – suppose the plan is to have 6 planned activities this year; the PM has created 6 folders, all defined the same, including a Calendar folder in each of the 6 event folders. Create one calendar at the top level, show them how to enter each event, and create a unique event view if necessary (assuming someone is only going to work on one event.) This gets the team comfortable with the Capabilities of SP, while you can start creating the Governance Plan (e.g. only one calendar per site, please). That way, when the Governance Plan is implemented, little enforcement is required, and training opens up the opportunity for new feature implementation.