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How to screw up SharePoint projects. Top tips to ensure your project fails

A slightly tongue in cheek view on the ways clients, partners etc. combine to trip up delivering a successful project
by

Simon Hudson

on 26 March 2015

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Transcript of How to screw up SharePoint projects. Top tips to ensure your project fails

How to fail your SharePoint project
16 top tips to ensure your project fails to deliver
A slightly tongue in cheek view on the ways clients, partners Microsoft etc. combine to trip up delivering a successful project. Any references to projects, companies and clients will be fictitious or at least heavily disguised to protect the guilty.
1. Install SharePoint completely out of the box
2. Ensure it’s an IT led project.
3. Allocate at least 50% of your project budget to visual design
4. Invest the other half in the technical platform
5. Ensure that any customisation is only done by .NET developers
6. Don’t build any kind of Information Architecture
7. Just build it and they will come
8. Use lots of folders
9. Hire a contractor
10. Do everything in phase 1
11. Never, ever use partners
12. Keep it all locked down
13. Allow a free for all
Ideally ones who haven’t had hands on experience with SharePoint. They can learn an enormous amount by hand coding features that already exist in SharePoint.

Always use Visual Studio for any configuration and development task. The browser interface is for WIMPS and SharePoint Designer is really just FrontPage and we all remember how good that was.

Custom developed code ensures that you really know what the application is doing. It's not like you are ever want to upgrade your SharePoint solution ( after all, Wave 15 is at least a year away) and supportability is hardly an issue, is it, as long as you keep the same developers indefinitely?

Also don't bother with InfoPath for building eForms – any good developer can build a simple form in only a week (and business users aren’t going to want any iterations or enhancements anyway).

And because it’s so simple you won’t need to send anyone on a SharePoint Admin course, so you don't even need to acquire any new skills
Information structures are simple.
As long as you have a file name and have put it somewhere obvious then people will find it.
SharePoint search is really powerful and can find everything anyway.
SharePoint adds quite enough metadata:
you get a title, automatic created/modified information for author and date.
What more would anyone want?
Ensure you test you navigation and views with at least 10 documents/items in a list - that will be plenty.
You should tell people that SharePoint is so good that people will simply adopt it.
You don't really need any of the following:
i. Communication and engagement plan
ii. A launch plan
iii. On-going training
iv. Content governance
v. Platform strategy
Library design and content migration is simple...
Just set up folders in libraries to mimic the directory structure on your file servers.
Drag and drop documents into those.

Remember, folders aren't just for grouping content, they can be used for classification too.
Contractors are marvellous. Any contractor knows all anyone needs about SharePoint. A single contractor can do:
technical design,
configuration,
development,
visual design,
administration,
business analysis etc.
Contractors are world famous for sharing their knowledge with their employers and their staff. Knowledge Transfer is often their middle name.
Besides, they will probably be in the organisation for years (at only £400+/day), so it’s not like there is any immediate threat of knowledge loss
Big Bang is Best
SharePoint has loads of components, capabilities and features. So naturally the best way is to implement as many as possible in the first phase.
Users will be fine with the amount of process change this requires.
You don't need any kind of maturity in processes or specific experience before enabling advanced features such as records management, so just turn it on.
And don’t forget that every list and library should use version control, check in/out and approvals
You don't even have to configure anything - just use the provided template sites and add any extra lists and web parts you fancy just as they are.
They are expensive, self serving
It’s not like they really know that much and SharePoint is easy; you can certainly do a good enough job with your in house team
In fact many of your team have coded in .NET and know SQL, so that’s all there is to it really.
Don't let users provision their own sites or add their own pages of content. That way lies madness.
It’s much better to push all site and configuration requests through IT and to ensure that all content is routed through a webmaster. You can have fun writing code to automate that too.
This way you can ensure that the small amount that does get published is of good quality.
If they insist then require that they understand the object model before they can do it themselves.
If, for some strange reason, the business insists that they want to be able to do things without the implacable hand of IT then it’s best to wash your hands of the whole thing and give everyone design rights.
Let it be entirely self governing
Don't encourage a governance or steering board.
If they insist then you don't actually need to be part of it.
My favourite is indexing Wikipedia
14. Point Search at everything
15. Migrate everything
And, when it all goes wrong, don't forget you can easily blame:
the technology,
Microsoft,
your suppliers,
the budget
and any number of other vaguely involved parties.

~70% of all SharePoint projects fail (to a certain extent) so it wasn't your fault anyway.
Buy lots of shiny servers with flashing lights and have fun setting them up

Ensure you have at least 6 servers in the farm, but ideally go for the full 16 server Microsoft white paper recommendation

Don't worry about the number of users and likely throughput and adoption curve; it’s much easier to over specify everything now than to have to scale up or scale out later
It doesn’t matter what it does, as long as it’s pretty!
Don't allow the business to provide input – this is about technology and what do they know.
Put the discs in, hit next, next, next.
Hand over to the users (they don't need anything more.)
Job done.
Once you have SharePoint in place, copy (tech speak for dump) all your content into it.
Don't worry about:
How long that takes
Duplication
Definitive versions
File plans
Database sizes
Backup

It will sort itself out, just as it has with file servers.
And don't worry about the copies you left on the file servers, that's a content owner problem.
Successful SharePoint, Delivered fast
www.cloud2.co.uk
Perfect - all set up and good to go
Reward yourself with a coffee.
A Cloud2 production.
© Cloud2 Ltd, 2014
Or you could use the experience of the community; avoid the pitfalls and bear traps; put aside some preconceptions and egos; accept what you (and the client/specification/project director) don't know and guide the project towards a successful outcome using all the resources at your disposal.
It's up to you.
Now put what's left of your budget into the application
Ensure anyone who wants to touch your platform fully understands the SharePoint object model before they are allowed to do anything
Because folders have worked so well for us so far. No problems at all!
16. Choose an Office 365 tenant name that reflects your organisation name and / or location
Because you are never likely to need to change it, even if your organisation changes.

Besides, it would be an opportunity to build an entirely new solution and start this whole cycle over again.
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