Importance of a SharePoint Roadmap

It’s an easy trap to fall into. Your organization is excited about pursuing opportunities for better knowledge sharing and collaboration. Perhaps you’ve even selected SharePoint as the tool to help get the job done. Teams, departments, and executives are clamoring with needs and opportunities. You pick one, perhaps the most vocal, perhaps the most impactful. As you start on one solution, another rears its head. Then another, then another. You pursue each and suddenly there is an avalanche.

The above is a frequent challenge we deal with at organizations that are starving for better knowledge management and collaboration and excited that they have finally found something that can help solve the problem. The problem with trying to approach a solution in the way described above is that it is easy to get spread too thin – incredibly likely, in fact. As each new project draws your attention, the resources and attention that can be focused on any one solution get spread thinner and thinner. Even as you try to make each group happy, none is because they are not getting the attention they deserve.

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My experience is that the time and discipline involved to take a step back and spend a reasonable amount of time planning and mapping out the course is well worth it. An ideal early engagement is a roadmap engagement. To define a roadmap, we need to understand:

  1. Why is the organization embarking on an initiative to implement SharePoint?
  2. What problems will be solved?
  3. How can those problems be solved to drive maximum business value and more specifically, how will that value be achieved and how is it quantified?

With these as guiding principles, we can map out a high level plan that shows not just the implementation team, but also the organization as a whole, the plan for when certain items and features will be implemented. This not only allows the implementation team to focus, it also sets an expectation with the organization as a whole, so that they can better understand when their needs can be addressed.

Roadmaps sound like something that might be hard to implement or take a long time.  The reality is that they can be done in reasonably short order, and the clarity they provide on what to implement and when it pays off helps accelerate the progress on actual implementation.  You can read more about how the Rand Group approaches the roadmap process here.

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