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High-level Planning Meetings

Posted by Steve Pietrek on September 6, 2008

I had a good day yesterday. Earlier this week I started a project at a new client who is in the beginning stages of rolling out SharePoint. Yesterday, not only did I get my badge (so I won’t have to worry about getting stuck in the security door again), I had the opportunity to sit through a very valuable brainstorming session.

The meeting had two main parts. First, it is Dec. 31, 2010 and the employees of the client are “loving” the new Intranet application. We broke up into separate groups where we listed features and functionality that he users of the application found so valuable and made their lives more productive. This was a fun exercise. The two groups had totally different takes on it. One group, my group, focused more on features users liked. Some examples included:

  1. Collaboration
  2. Search capabilities
  3. Document Management/Records Management
  4. Available resources
  5. Development tools for customization
  6. Branding capabilities
  7. Future-proof
  8. Use of common applications (i.e. Office)
  9. RSS feeds
  10. Multimedia capabilities
  11. Mobile support
  12. Many more items

The other group focused more on benefits. Words such as collaboration, empowerment, personalization, etc. were mentioned.

For the second part of the meeting, each person was asked to write down on individual Post-It Notes an action item to help realize their 2010 dream. As a SharePoint consultant, I listed many of the items I see in all projects which will make or break a roll-out: Executive buy-in, quick win projects, budget, training, education, governance, standards, strategy, road map, and adequate infrastructure. It was quite refreshing to see most of the others in the meeting had similar action items.

It was very encouraging to hear the client is thinking through these things before jumping to far in. I know, as I am sure they know, there will be pitfalls; however, I have seen or heard of many SharePoint projects where the companies jump in without going through similar exercises.

If your company is starting a new SharePoint (or competing) project, I would highly recommend you go through a similar exercise.

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