SharePoint Adoption: Tips and Tricks
    January 19, 2018
    Let's talk about what it takes not to implement a new business platform but to create and then increase user adoption. For many team members, new tech is so unsettling, it makes them feel like there's been a shift in the universe or gravity has changed. On that note: Captain Scott Kelly, special guest/featured speaker at Microsoft's Envision Conference in 2016, has spent more accumulated days in space—382—than any other person in history, ever. He spent 340 of those days on an International Space Station mission with  Mikhail Korniyenko and has a master's degree in Aviation Science. To do his job properly, Scott Kelly, one of Time Magazine's most influential people, a decorated Navy Captain, a NASA commander, had to learn how to do all the stuff he is great at all over again… in space. We all know how to eat, breathe, get from one place to another. But in space? The principles are the same, and you still have your past experiences and instincts, but the adopted behavior is different. It has to be for survival in the great beyond. Here’s a more down-to-earth example of user adoption. When I started a new job about two years ago, I was given a laptop. I logged in, per my employee credentials, and landed on the Windows 8—I don't even know what it is called—home screen? There was no Start button. NO START BUTTON.  I felt like I was seeing light, breathing air, and standing upright for the first time. My legs were shaky and I was disoriented. My instinct was to slam the laptop closed and ask if I could have a different version of the OS.  Instead, I googled tutorials and even read some gripes online by people, like me, who were betrayed by their beloved start button. It took days for me to feel comfortable in Windows 8. But I did it—because I had to in order to do my job. I have started many meetings with project sponsors within organizations that are new to SharePoint with this statement: "Change is hard. Almost everyone will hate this if we don't do it right." Change to any sort of routine takes effort, and what is an American work day for most of us if not routine? Asking users to change how and where they save files, asking them to spend their limited time learning another new thing, asking them to think differently about collaboration—these are all big asks, even if the new way is better. You may as well be asking them to do their jobs, but in outer space. SharePoint is disruptive. It changes how our clients run their businesses and how everyone interacts with information. Since you should anticipate a struggle with adoption, with getting users to go along willingly on the SharePoint journey with you, we have put together some notes on expectations and strategies. What you can expect There will be innovators; there will be laggards Think about the folks in your organization who embrace new tech: the guy with the latest phone or the girl who always knows the most popular apps before they make any blogger's list. Now think about the counterpoints in your organization: the guy who still writes checks because he doesn't believe in debit cards and the girl who prints out spreadsheets because she doesn't trust Excel to save them. SharePoint is going to be a stretch for employees who don't like any sort of change. You should anticipate a use curve like this one by Everett Rogers for adoption vs. time for the introduction of any new system within an organization. The late majority and laggards are not going to be rushing to put on a space suit. Expect fool-me-once/fool-me-twice mentality Employees with negative past experiences with SharePoint will be upset that it's back in their lives. We previously blogged about how SharePoint projects can go badly, so it won't be a surprise if you have some users who are turned off by the solution. Employees who have lived through botched enterprise system roll-outs in general may also be closed-minded to SharePoint. Bitterness is toxic and, frankly, loud. It is important not to let the voice of oppression drown out the voice of innovation. Everyone needs a little support now and then SharePoint is easy and fun once you get the hang of it—but until that happens, the user experience will, at times, be frustrating. Don't expect it to be easy for everyone, and give employees some time to get acclimated. Change is hard. There will be turbulence. You should expect the "Houston, we have a problem," call now and again. Strategies you can use Make it worth the pain SharePoint is often sold as a Microsoft product that can do cool stuff. And though it totally CAN do cool stuff, we at Rogue know that it must be able to solve multiple problems for the business or simply will not be used. To create a compelling case for SharePoint: Invite stakeholders from across the business to attend workshops or open houses, and then let them drive the use cases for SharePoint within the organization. Who better than the HR Director to know how SharePoint can be used for HR? Identify power users within the organization, let them play as beta testers with a project site for collaboration, and get their questions and concerns addressed before SharePoint is available to the masses. Create a media blitz for the beautiful intranet you are about to unveil. What will employees see there? Why is it important? Good marketing is powerful, so you should harness it. Socialize it Trust your innovators/power users spread the SharePoint love, and incentivize this behavior in some way. Time is really the enemy in a SharePoint roll-out; the longer it takes the early majority to get on board, the more likely the implementation is to fizzle. A long suspense in adoption means the platform doesn't have enough of a business need. Create user groups within departments across the organization. You want your innovators to be well on board so they can easily capture the early adopters and early majority. Make sure employees understand why SharePoint is valuable to them, how it makes their daily work easier, and why it is a smart investment for the company and for their time. Employ the carrot and the stick One of the most effective ways to compel use of a new system is to make it hard for the people who fight it. An example of this is to turn off any stop-gap system that SharePoint replaces. Give a week of warning, then three days, then a day, and then flip the switch. Users will then have to choose between efficiency and manual work. For late adopters, this will hurt—but hopefully just enough to expedite their adoption of SharePoint. Laggards may dig their heels in and go about things the hard way, but you can expect them to do this no matter what your approach is. There is (sadly) no magic to facilitating user adoption. We can learn from the attention to detail that NASA puts around training our astronauts or that Microsoft focuses on its users' consumption of the Cloud. It is all about communication and consistency. You have to understand the specific users in your organization, their temperaments and expectations, and then mitigate the risks and incentivize adoption. At Rogue, we recommend the paired approach of SharePoint roadmap with governance plan at the start of an implementation. A roadmap will help you to define the boundaries of your solution in a phased approach. For example, maybe at first you want to tackle document management but then move into collaboration. Or maybe it makes sense to start with an intranet for corporate communications. A governance plan should be developed for each phase of the roadmap. The governance plan is a rule book for managing the current phase of SharePoint. It defines user roles, communication and roll-out, and training. If SharePoint is beautifully branded and configured but abandoned, it is a catastrophe. Careful planning, as basic and boring as it may sound, will make the difference between a failed SharePoint implementation and a successful one. Thanks for reading! M © 2018 Rogue Services and Solutions, LLC    All Rights Reserved
    SharePoint Projects Fail. Is Yours at Risk?
    January 12, 2018
    Failure is part of life, one of my professors once told a young me after a particularly horrific exam. I was a perfectionist and didn't care for that truth one bit. Now, older me, is in the SharePoint business, and I hear from many clients about lots of failure in previous SharePoint implementations. SharePoint solves many problems and is a tool that keeps evolving in really cool ways, but that does not ensure a successful project. Let's take a quick aside. Recently I was reading an article about whether couples' therapy actually leads to divorce. There are lots of data points that indicate that more marriages end after a couple engages in therapy. But as we all know, correlation is not the same as causation. The reality is that so many marriages end after couples have gone through counseling because one or both parties already decided they were done-zo before counseling started. They were just going through the motions. The real death knell for commitment is lip service. You can't make a thing work when no one actually wants to make the changes necessary to make the thing work. How does this relate to SharePoint? We see basically the same pattern of behavior in many failed implementations. Here is how that love story turns to misery: Someone wants something to get better: The business wants to replace file server document management because version control and access have become issues. The parties agree on a solution: SharePoint is sold to the IT department.  It is licensed, installed, and configured. It is sexy because it promises to solve many problems. Change is hard: Documents are copied into SharePoint using the old hierarchy—which is not the way SharePoint was intended to behave. But it's the easiest thing to do, and it seems to make sense, so IT migrates everything over. Communication breaks down: Employees are not sure how to use it, there is no training on it, and no one understands the decision-making that got them here. Bitterness takes hold: The very problem the organization brought SharePoint in to solve is now worse than before SharePoint was in everyone's lives. The documents are hard to find. Information is in silos. Nothing is intuitive. Money has been spent, but the organization sees no value in its investment. Expectations are shattered: Everyone goes back to file servers and local copies. The issues escalates to a professional: Since the original problem hasn't actually been solved, management brings in a consultant. A last-ditch effort is made: The consultant makes recommendations to reinvigorate user adoption. Stick a fork in it: The business is soured on the whole experience. No one is interested in training or media blitzing or any other re-invigoration of SharePoint. Just like the failure of many relationships, no one in the scenario above has malicious intent or is a terrible person. Things fall apart when the incentive to change does not outweigh the pain of change. Here are Rogue’s top five risks to a SharePoint love affair. Stakeholders have to be committed to the pain of changing the status quo if the implementation has a chance of success. Have you seen these behaviors in the context of other enterprise system roll-outs in your organization? No business buy-in SharePoint will change how information is shared, who owns it, how it is disseminated. Moving from another collaboration solution to SharePoint may mean loss of features, different features, or require a different user perspective. Without buy-in from the business, from the employees who make the business run, SharePoint could promise to solve all of life's problems (unfortunately, it doesn't) and still would not be used. IT owns it SharePoint is a platform for business. When IT controls SharePoint, it ceases to become a business solution. If IT locks down SharePoint's out-of-the-box, end-user-friendly functionality, such as creating a new team site or giving permissions to a group for a particular site, everyone will be hesitant to use it. If IT is already stretched then, servicing all other solutions in the enterprise with tickets in a backlog alongside every other system in the company, turnaround time and responsiveness will become an issue for business users. No incentive to use it Think about how your company collects time. If employees were not taught how to use the system and there was no expectation of use at all, it would likely be abandoned. Little or no incentive for using a new tool means there will be no meaningful adoption of it. No support model in place If the business does not have access to a technical expert when needed, everyone will be scared to touch SharePoint. Its newness will be intimidating. In time, power users will rise up and take ownership, but a new technology will create a knowledge vacuum at first. Support must be considered for the gap between new and familiar—and may be a worthwhile investment for the long-term. No training Even if SharePoint is met with excitement and buy-in, there must be energy directed toward daily use. The conceptualization of SharePoint's benefits to the business—namely efficiency and productivity--are quickly lost if no one knows how to make it work for them in the real world. As an employee, I want to know why SharePoint should matter to me. In the voice of the people: Make me care or count me out. In our combined two decades immersed in SharePoint, we at Rogue have seen these behaviors over and over again, and the result is tragically predictable. These experiences are the reason that when I enter the question stub “Why is SharePoint” into two popular search engines, they both auto-complete it with “so bad.” Interestingly, when I enter “Why is marriage,” the auto-complete is “so hard.” Changing the status quo is hard. The only way to avoid the sad ending is to gain buy-in from all stakeholders from the start—create commitment to the change, make SharePoint worth the effort. If change is not realistic and not welcomed, SharePoint may not be the right business solution platform for your organization. But if it is, SharePoint can be transformational, folding collaboration, system integration, and process automation into operations in one solution. It is why we created hubley! Next up, as you might expect: User Adoption, Tips and Tricks. Thanks for reading! M © 2018 Rogue Services and Solutions, LLC    All Rights Reserved
    A New Year and Big Plans for hubley
    January 5, 2018
    First things first: Happy new year! Welcome to 2018, friends. I spent more time than I want to admit looking for a quote for how I feel about the new year at Rogue. Here's what I google came up with: What do you need in the New Year? You need a dream; your dream needs an action; and your action needs right thinking! Without right thinking, you can have only unrealised dreams! Mehmet Murat ildan said that. He's a Turkish playwright and novelist, apparently. The more you know! What's cool about the new year is it makes everyone feel like they get a clean slate or an opportunity to create a better situation for themselves. Let's put aside the crushing reality that it's a random period of recorded time that has no cosmic relevance, to paraphrase a scientist friend of mine. I'm lucky enough to be part of an extremely talented team, as I gushed in my Thanksgiving blog post. This week we had our 2018 strategy session so that we could take all our big ideas (dreams) for Rogue--both for our services business and our hubley platform--and create goals and then plans to achieve them (action and thinking). We're following our own 1-2-3 plan for introducing change. Here's a quick pick of five things we've got in store for you: Built-in help (have a question about how the intranet or an app works? The answer will be right there!) A gamification web part, which will make work productive and fun Additional engagement features (likes, votes, stars, ratings, comments... choose your choice) Flat-fee or subscription offerings so that we can be flexible for enterprise implementations of any size Managed SharePoint with only expert-level help and consulting Our roadmap for hubley and our services business really excites us, but we will also be crowd-sourcing ideas. If there's something you really yearn for in your intranet or from a SharePoint service provider, let us know! We're always listening. Uh, not in a creepy way. Thanks for reading! And yay for our first © of 2018. M © 2018 Rogue Services and Solutions, LLC    All Rights Reserved
    Change Fatigue, New Year's Resolutions, and... SharePoint
    December 29, 2017
    As the new year approaches (3 days, friends!), I find myself reflecting on 2017 and making plans for change in 2018, both in my personal life and in my contributions to our Rogue team and our hubley SharePoint intranet platform. This brings me to the idea of New Year's resolutions. It's well known that barely anyone keeps them. So why do we make them? I'm kind of a dork so looked into it. Apparently this tradition started about 4000 years ago with the ancient Babylonians. Can we all agree that 4000 years of a habit is hard to break? So we continue to make New Year's resolutions and continue to break them. The human condition is a hoot! A way to think about resolutions is to think about change in general. Change is hard, as we have said in the context of SharePoint. It takes a lot of effort to make it stick. My colleague Pinaki Kathiari at Local Wisdom posted an interesting McKinsey and Company article on LinkedIn recently that mentioned "change fatigue" as a point of failure for digital transformation. Take a minute to read number 8 on that list in the link. And here's more on the concept of change fatigue if you want to geek out with me at the Wikipedia level. So what do corporate leaders do to introduce changes and make them meaningful and sustainable--unlike most of our New Year's resolutions? Here are a few ideas: Make sure everyone is on the same page. The rumor mill is a horrible way to find out there is change brewing in an organization. Cut that junk out right now. Make a proper announcement and then re-announce it until you are sure everyone know what to expect and when. We would of course recommend using your intranet for all corporate communication. Stop all the talking without the doing. If you announce a change, make it. This means you have to plan for it, implement it, and ensure that everyone knows how the change affects their job. Don't forget that your teams will need the tools and techniques that go with the change--and maybe training. You can't announce that there's a new time collection system without allocating proper access and ensuring that everyone knows how to enter their time, for example. Get feedback on the change from the teams affected, show that you are listening, make adjustments, communicate them, measure them (positive or negative impact), and sally forth in this manner, in the spirit of continuous improvement. Those three steps are biggies. Do you have any other tricks for making change stick? If you need help with 2018 SharePoint process improvements (aka "changes"), such as document management strategy, governance, or migration to the Cloud, I know a guy... Thanks for reading! M © 2017 Rogue Services and Solutions, LLC    All Rights Reserved
    Why Lift and Shift Never Works and Other Migration Truths
    December 22, 2017
    Over in Rogue land, we have managed many migration projects. Some have been for large enterprises, and some have been for 6MB of data. Most of our clients are upgrading to SharePoint Online (aka "migrating to the Cloud"). A question we get a lot is, "Can you just move it over during the upgrade, and then we'll take care of cleaning it up?" I'm going to be blunt here: No. That's always a bad idea. I've lived in several houses in my life, which means I've moved a bunch of times. Each time I think it would be so much easier to take the dozen or so things I really care about and then burn everything else to the ground rather than move it. That's how I like to approach migrations. If you "lift and shift"--that is move everything from where it has been to your upgraded SharePoint environment, it's like taking everything from your current house and sticking it right where it is in the new house. But your new house is different... the floor plan is different, the walls are in different places. And you probably don't need everything you had in the old house. Lots of people end up with piles of trash to the road when they're moving, and for good reason. You also may need new/different stuff for the new house. We should look at a SharePoint upgrade and migration in a similar way. At Rogue, we follow a formula for migrations, and it has been successful for us. Want details? Yay because that's why I'm here. First, we run a script on your environment to determine how much data you have, what types, when it was last updated, etc. At a high level, these analytics help to guide our clients in determining what they can leave behind. You don't literally have to burn everything to the ground here, unless it's cathartic, and then we won't stop you. Most of our clients archive the stuff they really don't need. Sometimes that means putting it on a tape and sticking it in a drawer. If you want to keep data "just in case," there are many ways to achieve that, though we always recommend taking a hard look at what you need and why. Information hoarding just because is a habit a lot of us have gotten into but probably isn't really necessary to run your business. An upgrade should benefit you in several ways, and one of them is to rein in content sprawl and disorganization. Keep relevance top of mind. Also think about how the information should be presented (maybe a list of events should actually be presented in a calendar web part?) and where it should live (which site).  That's why, after our script analysis, we work with specific business owners, the content authors and key stakeholders, who will be affected by the migration. We go through the data and make the keep, delete, or archive decisions; plan where that"keep" data should live based on the information architecture of the upgraded environment; and decide how that information should be surfaced in the new world of SharePoint (list, library, workflow). There is a lot of coordination with our project sponsor so they understand the decisions of the business owners. We also dig deep into any custom SharePoint development. Sometimes custom functionality is unfriendly during a migration--meaning it will break, and how. We figure out a way to modify or re-develop it so it will work in the upgrade or, depending on the amount of customization, recommend a hybrid model. We're not going to get into hybrids in this blog post. I will save that tasty morsel for later. Once we have a good list of data to keep, where it should go, and what format it should be in, we do what my partners call a "test migration iteration." That's a lot of -ions, but they are good ones. This is a test migration that helps us determine fail points. We keep a log of problems, fix them, and then know what to anticipate for the big show, the production migration. It also helps us to know how long the migration will take. We schedule the migration timeline carefully. In active SharePoint environments, you don't want users rendered unproductive and be super ticked off that no one told them they wouldn't be able to get to their stuff. Over-communication is incredibly important at this point. Make sure everyone in the organization knows that SharePoint will be down, starting and ending when, so they can save their work instead of getting a nasty surprise when they hit the environment to access their most needed documents. Here's a surprise: We actually migrate ALL the data via a third-party migration tool and then use scripts to clean it up based on the keep/archive/delete decisions. We do this so that we don't accidentally leave "keep" data over in the old SharePoint universe. It's also much harder to pick and choose pre-migration than it is for us to clean it up post-migration. The point is we clean it up automagically (or, ok, with scripts) so that it's not mistake prone. We find that when clients have tried to "clean up" after a migration, the manual work creates problems, and they also lose the benefit of recasting that list of events as a calendar web part, for example. We plan migrations over nights, weekends, and holidays. Doesn't that sound like a job perk? Sarcasm. But it is what works well for our clients, so we do it. We also ask those business owners to test in the production environment, by Sunday evening for a weekend migration, so that we can ensure all our troubleshooting and fixes were on point. Then we remediate until the sun comes up if that's what it takes. During remediation, there is a lot of contact with the project sponsor and any business owners who have issues during their production testing. Next: Bam, live by 8AM on a Monday... or whatever timeline works for the client. Are you planning a migration? Do you need help? I know a guy. Thanks for reading! M © 2017 Rogue Services and Solutions, LLC    All Rights Reserved  
    Millennials and the Intranets
    December 15, 2017
    We spend a lot of time at Rogue talking about intranets. I mean, they are our jam. We focus tons of effort on figuring out what makes a quality intranet and what does not. We are enhancing functionality and aesthetics almost constantly. Our experts have been on the SharePoint bandwagon since the platform was created, so they have seen the evolution from document management to corporate communications hub. That's all good stuff, right? We know some cool tricks and can make things look freaking fantastic. But when it comes to reaching your enterprise-wide audience, how do we help you account for attention from all the people, meaning across generations? As we have preached, if it's not meaningful, people won't use it.  There are three generations co-mingling (tri-mingling?) at work these days: Baby Boomers (born between 1954 and 1964) GenX (born mid-60s to early 80s) Millennials (born mid-80s) ^^I know that I will get comments (which I won't publish) disputing these age brackets. I'm sticking to 'em. How do I live with all this power? Anyway. Based on our website analytics, I know that most of our audience is GenX or older. [Creepy, right?] It's a hard fact that generations communicate differently. So let's take a minute to talk about those special snowflakes known as Millennials. I wrote a blog post a while back about experiencing information and how that changes how we see the world and how we work. Think about the Millennial experience. They are the generation of selfies. They knew how to Tweet before they knew how to write a proper thank-you note. The transience of Instagram doesn't scare them. They weren't taught cursive in elementary school. THEY TEXT IN EMOJIS. I think this youtube video, which was posted in 2011, six whole years ago, shows almost everything we need to understand about experiencing information as a digital native. Did you know that by 2025, Millennials will make up the majority of the workforce? I'm talking 75% majority. If you're one of the four Millennials who read this blog, you're like "HECK YEAH," and if you're not, you're terrified. Like every generation after us (I'm an X'er, by a hair... one graying one that I'm clinging to), the young ones always get a bad rap. What is it about them that is so off-putting? What I hear most is that they are entitled, maybe even lazy, in their work habits, and they like to talk but not so much do the things. Generalizations are dangerous, and I personally know and love several Millennials who do not fit this caricature, so instead of focusing on the bad stuff, let's talk about what makes Millennials in the workforce awesome. But first some scary context... This year, Deloitte executed their sixth annual Millennial Survey. Given that the average job tenure of a Millennial in 2015 was 2 years (ouch), that's a lot of institutional knowledge in a revolving door. Now consider this: Every year, Gallup conducts an employee engagement survey. In 2015 and 2016, before Millennials were so close to taking over the majority of the workforce, the results showed that 31.5-32.1% of employees are engaged. What? If you're a team lead, manager, director, or C-suiter, this correlation should worry you. Now here's the good news: In 2015, Deloitte found that 50% of Millennial respondents would take a pay cut for a job that matches their values and 90% want to use their skills for good. 2016 was similar. In 2017, we see more Millennials worried about stability, but their tenure is TBD. This means we have an opportunity to engage and retain team members who are passionate about their jobs. Employee engagement is a topic I feel passionate about because it is my own truth. I wrote about it last year, here. When it comes to Millennials, they must be engaged if you expect good work out of them and if you expect them to stick around (they don't have a pension plan, after all). So how do you achieve that? One way is through your intranet. You have to answer the question that Marcee Tidwell, Rod's wife, asked in one of my favorite movies, Jerry Maguire (see? Gen-Xer, hardcore): WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? If you don't know what you stand for as an organization, how can your employees? Answer these questions, and you're off to a good start: What's your mission (social impact, outreach)? Why does everyone want to work there (fun, innovative, quirky, family-oriented)? Why do your customers love you (service, commitment, execution, communication)? Now go showcase these things on your intranet! If you are super into a toy drive for the holidays because it is in your values to give back to your community, blast it out, create a campaign around it, make it fun, make it memorable. Make it mean something. Give your Millennial employees purpose in their work, give them reasons to love the company they work for and the teams they are part of, and let them do the thing they want most--to use their skills for good. They want to be inspired. You will see results from them, and then you can prove all those Millennial haters wrong. Use your intranet to help you do it! If you need help... you know I know a guy. Thanks for reading! M © 2017 Rogue Services and Solutions, LLC    All Rights Reserved   
    Personas are a Thing for SharePoint Right Now. Here's Why.
    December 8, 2017
    "Persona" is a big buzz word right now in our world (that is, the world of SharePoint, if you are new to this blog). And it's kind of genius, actually. It's all about user-centered design. Here's why it's a thing for SharePoint. Personas are a way for large enterprises to understand how their various team members use their intranet and what they need from it. Then, hopefully, they use that information to make it better. Not sure if you've noticed, but there is often a gap between what a thing offers and what people want from a thing. And in a workplace where there are thousands of employees and it is maybe not impossible but certainly not a good use of time to ask each person for their wishlist, persona development can help fill that gap. I was honored to chair a "SharePoint for Internal Communications" conference in Atlanta in October and was treated to a presentation by Mayo Clinic on their development of personas for their intranet enhancements. Then they were kind enough to have a follow-up call with me where they explained their process for persona development. Shout out to Gianna and John at Mayo for their time and willingness to share the fruits of their labor! We are certainly using personas with our clients at this point, whether it is with a hubley implementation or SharePoint intranet envisioning. Since there is no reason to write what has already been written, this is a very good explanation of personas and persona development. If you aren't sure where to start, think about segmenting the teams in your org. Then ask for volunteers for focus groups (but call them something cool). You will want to have questionnaires (also called something cool) for the focus groups to fill out. Then you open the dialogue about your existing intranet and what they would like to see. Maybe it's issues with navigation ("I can't find stuff"). Maybe it's relevance ("Search seems broken" or "Everything is 8 years old"). Maybe it's hideous ("It's hideous"). Marketing team members and, ahem, SharePoint consultants, are often good liaisons for these discussions. If you ask leading questions and let these participants know that their voice will have a positive impact on the enterprise intranet, they will likely speak up. Also, people love to complain, so you should prepare yourself for tons of negative feedback. Like, oodles. But that's great! Because it gives you problems to solve--and that's really want you need to fill the gap I mentioned above. This will be a large effort, but it will be worth it. Kind of like a holiday dinner that you have to host. So much work; so delicious. Once you have your questionnaire feedback and user editorials (the complaining), make a list of wants and needs. Create this list for every focus group/segment. You should start to see overlaps. As we say as consultants, businesses are unique, but business problems rarely are. It's kind of the same with people. Where you see specific needs, BOOM, that's a persona. For example, if you have staff in the field driving forklifts in the snow or the heat, they will have different needs from your teams with lovely heated/air conditioned cubes and desktop computers. At this point, you start creating what are essentially characters. "Characterizations" is probably a better word, but characters are more fun.  You should be able to: Explain the character's job (clinical, administrative, support, etc.) Describe the character's location (field, remote, at headquarters, at a branch, etc.) and type of work-station they have (desktop, mobile device, etc.) List the character's uses for the intranet (what should they be looking for?) List the character's wants/needs for the intranet (what would compel them to go there?) And that's a pretty dang good start to persona understanding and development. SPOILER ALERT: You're going to find that field workers and team members at shared work stations want mobile functionality that is device agnostic. Everyone is going to want it to look better. And, yeah, search and navigation will probably be hot topics. I'm not psychic... I just do this for a living. If you need help with persona development for your intranet, I know a guy! Thanks for reading! M © 2017 Rogue Services and Solutions, LLC    All Rights Reserved 
    Governance is Good Hygiene for SharePoint
    November 30, 2017
    Much earlier this year, I wrote a blog post about SharePoint governance. As Rogue has grown and our project portfolio has expanded, we stand by that blog post and all the other things we have said about why SharePoint projects fail. I understand human nature and the idea that we have to make our own mistakes instead of learning from others', but I wish I could spread the word about good governance and make it stick. It would save so much pain and, frankly, failure. Here's a real-life example of how people (this people) know they should do better but often don't. Every six months, I go to the dentist. My mother focused on this so much during my childhood, I assumed it was part of our religion. Those synapses formed, and my internal clock knows when to expect the You have an appointment with us! reminder postcard in the mail. [Hey, dentist, you can save your stamps when it comes to this girl's mouth.] Anyway, at the dentist, the hygienist always asks me, "Do you floss?" and then "How often?" Depending on my priorities in life at the time, sometimes/rarely I proudly exclaim, "Yes!" and "Daily!" and then there are other times I sheepishly answer, "Yeah. Well. Um. I use mouthwash every night. Most nights. Definitely some nights." If I haven't lost you yet... great, Michelle, why are you sharing this. It's because SharePoint governance is like flossing. No one wants to do it, few of us do it regularly, and it's really easy--and necessary to prevent lots of problems. Many of our clients feel lost when it comes to governance. The WHAT DOES IT MEAN question. Microsoft has a ton of best practices published. The issues our clients face is: but how does this apply to MY business? How do I make this thing go? Well, like flossing, you have to know how to do it right (no sawing motion with the gums!). Let's call that the method or model. That's where Microsoft's handy what is governance poster comes in from that best practices link above. Seriously, it's good. Then you have to understand how to apply it to your SharePoint universe. Here is how we begin to help our clients approach SharePoint governance. Governance begins with an understanding of a common vision for SharePoint use for the enterprise, and policies are developed in support of the vision. Ask yourselves this: Is SharePoint a strategic tool for your business, for enhancements and new functionality, or do you need to keep it running smoothly, status quo, for now? Write your vision for SharePoint on a whiteboard, as a start. It's OK if your vision changes. Governance will change with it. Yes, you need some sort of a document or wiki or SharePoint site with words. Let's call those words your SharePoint Governance Plan. The purpose of that plan is to support the vision at the time. It should: Document the team infrastructure that will govern and support SharePoint Explain the initial governing policies and procedures of SharePoint Plan for SharePoint support in terms of both technical and human resources The "team infrastructure" I mention above could also be called the SharePoint Governance Committee (SGC). This committee is charged with maintaining and updating the governance plan. Because SharePoint is a business tool, its users ultimately own the SharePoint farm or tenant. The committee captures automation, document management, and application opportunities and then prioritizes them with an understanding of the technical and human resources available. The SGC also creates policies and procedures. This seems to be the pain point for everyone. Here is a start: What are the roles of the members of your SGC? You probably need someone in charge of branding rules, someone technical (an architect?), a power user, business users. The SGC should not be made up of your IT department. It should be a collaboration between IT and the business. But speaking of IT... there is definitely a special role for them. They need to create policies for security, permissions, custom permissions, SharePoint groups, permission inheritance, backup/recovery, and storage/database sizing. All the technical stuff. Business users are able to contribute toward policies and procedures on branding/standardization;  site creation, archiving, retention, and deletion; and user training (content contributors and visitors). What is the process for prioritizing SharePoint requests? Is it based on criticality, impact, ease of use, cost, whether the request can be built in-house or must be outsourced because of expertise or availability? Sometimes a scoring system is helpful. If that feels too heavy, a simple majority vote also works--as long as your committee members represent a fair cross-section of users and can express their needs. Voila! A start to governance. That doesn't seem so bad, does it? And it is like flossing in that you'll feel a lot better when you do it and won't have to fib when you don't. BTW, the fibbing doesn't work. We/they always know. Need some more help with SharePoint governance? I know a guy! Thanks for reading, M © 2017 Rogue Services and Solutions, LLC    All Rights Reserved 
    Hubley Intranet : Rogue :: Cake : Bakery
    November 22, 2017
    We've had a fair many questions lately about what the hubley intranet is. Is it different from Rogue? Is it a new business? Is it a re-brand of Rogue? All understandable. Let's get to it! hubley is the brand name of Rogue's packaged intranet solution. Gosh what a frustrating answer. I'm annoying myself. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? It's analogy time. How many of you have ordered a cake from a bakery? I've ordered a few [hundred]. When I  order cakes, I get to decide the size, flavor, color of icing**, and what goes on top... flowers, writing, other fanciness, like berries. And if I have any special requests, like, "Please put this My Little Pony figure on top," I get to specify that in my order as well. I leave with a receipt that spells out what I'm getting and when to pick it up and how much it costs. I have a clear understanding of expectations, which are shared, in writing, with the bakery order-taker. When I leave the bakery, I have a high degree of confidence in what I will get when I return for my cake. And then when I get it, I'm all squeeeee because it's exactly what I wanted. **I'm Southern; we say "icing" instead of "frosting" #lexicaldifferences! hubley is the cake of intranets, supported by the customer service and follow-through of Rogue (yeah, we're the bakery in this analogy). When you work with Rogue on a hubley implementation, you tell us the size of your organization, what your specific needs are, whether you are focusing on productivity, engagement, collaboration, social features, etc., what your branding requirements are, and what extras you may need. We then work up a proposal that spells out what we can give you. We even include screen-shots. There is no mystery. When you get a hubley proposal, you know what the end solution will be. We commit to a timeline, we tell you the cost, and then you do a happy dance and sign on the dotted line. When hubley is implemented, it is, simply, what you knew it was going to be. So I hope that explains the hubley-Rogue relationship. We're always happy to answer questions, demo, have a chat at a coffee shop. Don't be shy. We're here to make SharePoint awesome for your organization, and hubley is one of the ways we achieve that. Thanks for reading! And happy Thanksgiving!! M © 2017 Rogue Services and Solutions, LLC    All Rights Reserved 
    Only Hear Good Things About Your Intranet. Imagine That.
    November 10, 2017
    After gathering custom intranet requirements for over a decade, the team of consultants who founded Rogue Services and Solutions, a niche SharePoint consultancy, focused on an intranet solution that was easy to implement with less risk and more functionality than its custom competition. hubley was born—an organizational hub for collaboration, engagement, and productivity. The impetus for hubley was the trend in the market. We realized that 80-90% of the custom intranet requirements we were getting overlapped and saw an opportunity for a new business model. We developed it for two years, and then we challenged ourselves to implement it in a week—and worked on it until we could. hubley disrupts custom intranet sales, as it creates an opportunity for organizations to go live with rapidly deployed intranets, as well as opportunities for regularly updated features and apps to keep the look and feel fresh and exciting. The future of intranets is mobile-friendly, device-agnostic, and social-everything. hubley has aligned itself with that vision by offering the latest in Microsoft best practices. It is beautiful, configurable, flexible, and secure. With flat-fee and subscription models, the hubley intranet is a smart investment for organizations of all sizes. Schedule a demo. Check us out. Thanks for reading! M © 2017 Rogue Services and Solutions, LLC    All Rights Reserved
    Doing Internal Communications
    October 27, 2017
    I once had a client ask me if we could "do governance." Sure. It's like "doing life" or "doing parenting." It's hard and ongoing and takes a heckuva lot of effort so that things go well. Or go at all. How about "doing internal communications"? This past week I had the honor of chairing ALI's "SharePoint for Internal Communications" conference. I'm biased, with Rogue having participated in four ALI conferences to date, but the organization is all about creating focused conferences with valuable content. Opportunities like those that ALI provides are important because they give us a chance to find our people. Why solve a problem that's already been solved? Why make decisions in a vacuum based on abstractions when you can meet real-live people who have done the thing? Why work alone when you can collaborate and save time? That's what networking helps us accomplish. "Doing internal communications" is a lot like those other enormous tasks I mentioned above. It takes strategy, planning, execution, and repeat. And let's be real... it's never really "done." It goes on and on. The constant changes in an organization create job security, but they put an enormous workload on the internal communications teams that are responsible for sharing them. These folks are often the product owners of newsletters, vlogs/podcasts, and corporate intranets, which are excellent tools for internal comms--but like any tools, they must be used to be effective. As conference chair, I had the opportunity to participate in all the workshops, hear the general sessions, and facilitate interactive sessions. Some of my key takeaways involved the importance of creating personas in building out an intranet that is functional for your workforce (thanks to Mayo Clinic!), implementing O365 capabilities that make sense in the context of our clients' organizational cultures (sometimes turning off others! Shout-out to Doc Auto), and understanding the similar struggles of mid-sized organizations all the way up to a hulking 65K person enterprise when it comes to intranet implementation and adoption (hi, Thermofisher!). We look forward to sharing the problems and solutions we learned from the conference (with our own spin, of course) in blogs to come. Many thanks to ALI and the conference participants for hanging with my bad jokes and segues, and for coming along on a journey of trust as I asked you to do arts and crafts, play logic games, and video yourselves for everyone's benefit [corporate #vlogs are the future, I promise!]. Go to a conference, learn a thing, use your network to help improve your O365 intranet implementation. Thanks for reading! M © 2017 Rogue Services and Solutions, LLC    All Rights Reserved
  • zoom camera lens
    DAM! I wish I was on your Intranet. Your Marketing Team's BFF.
    October 20, 2017
    Have you ever heard of "digital asset management?" I hadn't either, until Rogue worked closely with a marketing firm on hubley branding. This group really knew their stuff--and it was obvious because they used words like "digital asset management," known as DAM in the biz.
  • intranet gates
    Transformational HR: The Intranet Portal Full of Win
    October 13, 2017
    I have a confession: I’m old. The oldest at Rogue, at least. Thus, I’ve had a few jobs in my day. Not as many as my millennial brother (burrrrrn), but still enough to know plenty about how different companies function. Some HR departments are passive service organizations–which is cool if you’re there. And then some HR departments OWN IT.
  • What Have you Done for Me Lately?
    What Have You Done for Me Lately? An Intranet User's Perspective
    October 6, 2017
    I love the 90s, and I love Janet Jackson–Miss Jackson if you’re nasty. As she is a constant in my kitchen dance parties with my children, I’d like to thank her for the inspiration for this blog post. Janet’s song, “What Have You Done for Me Lately” (oooh-oooh-ooooh-yeah), is all about a relationship gone stale.
  • Engaging Intranet > Lame Intranet
    Engaging Intranet > Lame Intranet
    September 22, 2017
    Our most popular blog post to date is this one, which is about the problem of SharePoint user adoption across an enterprise. Then we gave you some solutions here.
  • How Much is Too Much? The Social Workplace
    How Much is Too Much? The Social Workplace
    February 17, 2017
    I wish there was a definitive answer to this question, because it comes up a lot in the world of SharePoint intranets. In the modern workplace, how much social is too much?
    Does Your Intranet Measure Up?
    November 10, 2016
    The most common question we get from communicators is how they can know that their intranet is working. After all, an intranet is an investment, and for any investment, you should know what your users are getting for the money and whether the new tool is worthwhile.
  • Mobilize: An Evolution of Sharepoint Sites, Solutions and Apps
    Mobilize: An Evolution of Sharepoint Sites, Solutions and Apps
    September 16, 2016
    SharePoint was ahead of its time, in many ways, as a browser-accessible enterprise solution back at the start of the aughts. But it certainly wasn’t mobile. In Microsoft’s defense, nothing was really designed FOR mobility 13-15 years ago, not until the iPod, iPhone, and iPad explosion.
  • "I Do" - Next-Level Employee Engagement With Sharepoint
    "I Do" - Next-Level Employee Engagement With Sharepoint
    June 27, 2016
    “Employee engagement” is a much buzzed about key phrase in the modern workplace. Gallup, Forbes, and the Harvard Business Review all have opinions about it. Engagement does not refer to happiness, nor does it refer to entitlement.
    Everyone Needs an Intranet.
    May 26, 2016
    Here at Rogue, intranets are our jam. We know that Everyone Needs an Intranet. Period. is a strong statement. With the exception of sole proprietors and very small partnerships, we stand by that. Why do we feel so strongly? Well—