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SharePoint Change Management: A Checklist

SharePoint deployments succeed or fail based on adoption and adherence to business goals, not technical functionality. It doesn’t matter how pretty your SharePoint site is or how many features you pack in. Perception is reality, and if people don’t perceive value, it’s failed.

Along those lines, communications planning is paramount for winning hearts and minds. Whether deploying a small upgrade or embarking on a transformational change from another system, engaging end-users early and throughout is the most important ingredient of success.

With that in mind, I’d like to offer a checklist of topics to consider during any SharePoint project. There are more comprehensive guides available (I particularly recommend “Essential SharePoint 2010”), but this primer should get you on the right track. I’ve mapped the steps to Prosci’s “ADKAR® Model”, a goal-oriented framework for Organizational Change Management. If your business has an OCM framework, the same steps should apply regardless; if not, I recommend ADKAR as a starting point.

  1. Gaining Awareness I. Designate an “Awareness Team” of all impacted business users II. Catalog potential objections to change III. Discuss project objectives with Awareness Team IV. Review key SharePoint workloads with Awareness Team V. Recruit a “Design Team” for interested parties to share input
  2. Driving Desire I. Communicate outcome benefits to all stakeholders via multiple channels II. Provide targeted demos to Awareness Team III. Solicit feedback via focus groups with Design Team
  3. Spreading Knowledge I. Train SharePoint IT operations teams II. Educate end-users via one or more channels: i. Videos ii. Classroom training iii. Training manuals iv. Wikis / knowledge bases v. Power user groups / communities
  4. Fostering Ability I. Deploy SharePoint solution II. Proactively check in with affected users
  5. Ensuring Reinforcement I. Enact governance plan II. Incorporate SharePoint training into onboarding training plans III. Require training before receiving sites / administrative rights IV. Regularly survey for feedback V. Foster Power user groups / communities VI. Start small; focus on quick wins