Use pilot projects to gauge success
By Eric Riz
June 19, 2012 —
(Page 1 of 2)
I’m often asked for advice on how to ensure that a SharePoint project is completed and implemented successfully. Following some pointed questions, I provide some tactics to try, but the reality is that there is no single tip or strategy that will provide such an insurance policy.
Even with the most finely tuned adoption or governance plan, your project can still fail for a variety of reasons: mismanaged requirements, development errors or simply the wrong training. It takes a perfect storm in order to get everything rolled out and implemented correctly. Though it’s impossible to identify just one item that can save you from such issues, a pilot project is a great way to measure twice and cut once with your rollout of SharePoint.
A pilot project is a soft launch that puts your deliverables into the hands of a subset of your user community. Following a shortened cycle of design, development and delivery, a pilot runs for a defined period of time in order to review and obtain feedback on the rolled-out functionality. Once a corporate perspective has been obtained on the rollout, the project team can then begin developing for a wider deployment to the business.
Possibly the best advice I can give is to take your pilot project as seriously as you would a full deployment. Staff your project with A-Team players and make sure that everyone who needs to know about the project does. What you are limiting is not functionality, but the distribution of the product in order to get the feedback you need to ensure corporate rollout success.
Once you have made the decision to roll out a pilot, you must next decide who will be involved in it. Depending on who brought SharePoint into the organization, this may be an easy choice. For example, if HR is responsible for SharePoint coming into the business, they are also an easy choice to be in the pilot. They will provide strong, user-defined requirements, honest feedback, and a keen interest in its long-term success. If IT is responsible for SharePoint, look for business units or user groups that will provide the same strong requirements driven by business needs. You can also start backwards when defining your pilot group by choosing a business problem that you know SharePoint can solve, then define which user group can best be affected by its deployment.
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