It’s almost time for SharePoint Saturday Nashville!

SPS NashvilleI’m thrilled to be heading to Nashville, TN in a few weeks to speak at SharePoint Saturday Nashville. There’s a great lineup of speakers for the May 5th event, including fellow Minnesotans Max Fritz and Trevor Huinker. I’ll be presenting my session “Yes Virginia, you can use Content Types.” It provides a 100-level introduction to content types, including live demos of how to set up and configure them in your lists and document libraries. I’ll also provide several use cases for business solutions you can build with content types. The session will be a great introduction for content type newbies, but will also provide creative ideas for experienced users on how they can leverage content types to automate business processes.

Registration for SPS Nashville is still open. If you’ll be in the area on May 5th, it’d be great to see you there!

The SPS Nashville team is hosting their first Cloud Friday Nashville event on Thursday, May 4th. Cloud Friday Nashville is an in-depth learning experience that focuses on strategy, utilization and development of Azure and Office 365. Attendees will be able to attend one of several 3-hour workshops in the morning, along with shorter sessions in the afternoon. Registration for this event is still open–don’t miss your chance to attend!

REgarding 365 debate #2: Are intranets still relevant?

It’s time for another REgarding 365 debate! Many of you may have seen our first debate, where we evaluated whether end-users should be able to create their own Office 365 groups. Now we’re back with a new topic: Are intranets still relevant?

We’ll be streaming the debate live on April 19th at 3pm Central time. If you join us live, don’t forget to share your thoughts via the debate chat. We’d love to hear what you think.

Watch a recorded version of the debate:

Watch the debate preview video:

Don’t wait. It’s time to engage your users

As SharePoint and Office 365 practitioners, we get excited when new product features and capabilities are released. It’s in our nature. We see the value these Collaboration tools provide and can’t wait to put new features to use. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget we’re in the minority. 

Most of our business users don’t really care about SharePoint or Office 365. They’re focused on the constant barrage of work coming at them and don’t have the time (or the desire) to learn new technology features. And we can’t force these users to adopt our platforms. They’ll choose to adopt only when they see that the technology can provide them a clear benefit.

Our job is to serve as a bridge for our users, showing them how SharePoint/Office 365 can eliminate the manual work they hate doing and deliver capabilities they need. If we bridge successfully, we’ll turn our users into advocates and evangelists.

So how do we engage our users? Let’s break it down into three initial steps:

Look for early adopters. In his renowned work on diffusion models, Everett Rogers identifies the vital role early adopters play in the spread of ideas. Early adopters are a judicious group of individuals known for evaluating new ideas, new technologies, etc. and making recommendations to others. Early adopters exist at all levels of an organization. They’re not always people-leaders or technology evangelists, but they’re well-respected and tend to be highly networked. They also tend to be key influencers (the people others go to when they have a question or need advice).

As SharePoint/Office 365 practitioners, it’s vital we identify the early adopters on our business teams and partner to deliver technology solutions for them. If we deliver solutions that thrill these early adopters, they’ll spread the message.

Find what your users need.When I was completing my Master’s in Library Science, I learned that library patrons seldom ask reference librarians for what they need. They translate their information needs into something more “helpful.” A patron that needs books on how to toilet-train their 2-year-old, for example, will ask for books on child development or child psychology. It’s the reference librarian’s job to ask questions and discern the real information need.

As a SharePoint/Office 365 practitioner, I have to ask “why” and “what for” questions to get at my users’ information needs. If I don’t bridge the gap and connect my users with the right functionality to meet their needs, I won’t be able to drive effective adoption and will miss the opportunity to deliver true business value.

Whenever possible, deliver the capabilities that thrill. As SharePoint/Office 365 practitioners, we’re fortunate to have at our disposal a suite of products and features with the capacity to delight our end-users. As you’re gathering user requirements and building solutions, don’t forget to ask your users for their wish list. You’ll be surprised how often these wish list items are easy to deliver without custom code or hours of additional build time. If there’s an option to deliver a wish list item that pleases your users without breaking the bank or destroying your delivery timeline, do your best to make it happen.

I often find that delivering simple things (e.g. conditional formatting on a SharePoint list, custom email notifications for items that have been completed, or a filtered web part view that only shows items assigned to a specific user) will make the difference in my solution being enthusiastically adopted or treated as “just another technology solution.”

In his book Anything You Want, marketing expert Derek Sivers calls out how powerful a message it sends when you thrill your current users: “It’s counterintuitive, but the way to grow your business is to focus entirely on your existing customers. Just thrill them, and they’ll tell everyone.”

Watch the REgarding 365 debate: Should end-users be able to create their own Office 365 groups

In March 2018, I had the opportunity to participate in REgarding 365’s first panel debate. The debate was recorded at Microsoft’s Production Studios in Redmond and centered on the question of whether end-users should be able to create their own Office 365 groups. You can view the full debate below. For background on how the debate came about, check out my earlier post. You may also want to read Cogmotive’s recap of the debate.

Don’t miss SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities (April 14, 2018 edition)

SPSTC_logo_smallWe’re back with the Spring edition of SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities (SPSTC)! SPSTC is a free 1-day conference held twice per year at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota. The event features local and nationally-recognized speakers and attracts SharePoint and Office 365 users from across the Midwest.

Registration for our April 14, 2018 event is open now. Don’t miss your chance to sign up! We’ll have 40 unique sessions geared towards:

  • Information workers
  • IT Pros/Admins
  • Developers
  • 101 users
  • Business app users
  • Office 365 users

Interested in volunteering for SPSTC? Click here to sign up

Want to see our list of sessions? Click here to visit our web site

It’s user adoption day at the Minnesota Office 365 User Group!

On March 19th, I’ll be delivering a user adoption presentation for the Minnesota Office 365 User Group. The session will provide practical guidance on:

  • Understanding your users (their information needs, motivations, etc.)
  • Building your internal community to drive excitement and adoption of Office 365
  • Working around obstacles and user resistance
  • Inspiring and educating your user base
  • Affirming and celebrating your success stories

Details for the session are provided below. Hope to see you there!

Date: Monday, March 19th
Time: 12pm-3pm
Location: Microsoft Technology Center (Edina, MN)
Registration link: https://o365mn.eventbrite.com/

The full session abstract is provided below.

Driving adoption of Office 365: From idea to implementation
For many of us, the challenge of driving sustained adoption of Office 365 feels insurmountable. We start off with the best of intentions, but most of our users get lost in the myriad assortment of technologies and fail to leverage the capabilities to drive business value. How do we inspire our users to want to learn about Office 365 and educate them so they can leverage its rich capabilities to drive business optimization?

This in-depth session explains the foundational concepts of user adoption. You’ll learn why it’s so challenging to drive lasting adoption and how user-centric adoption models can increase your success. You’ll receive practical tips on how to engage and understand your business users, learn how to build internal communities of practice, discover how to overcome user resistance, and see examples of real-world adoption programs that have driven lasting change at other organizations.

Earning the Microsoft MVP award

MVP_Logo_Avatar_Preferred_Cyan300_CMYK_300ppiWhat a way to start the year! On February 1, 2018, I received the Microsoft MVP award for Office Servers and Services. The MVP award acknowledges technical and community leadership, and receiving it is a huge honor.

I’ve had the privilege of being part of the SharePoint and Office 365 community for over 10 years. The community has inspired, supported and mentored me on my journey by:

  • Introducing me to incredibly smart people who have expanded my way of thinking, challenged my understanding and encouraged me to grow.
  • Fostering relationships with people from all over the world. I’ve had the good fortune to meet and build friendships with so many members of this community. Many of these folks have become my chosen family and life simply wouldn’t be the same without them.
  • Evolving my career path and personal brand. The mentorship and feedback I’ve received has helped me clarify my focus areas within SharePoint/Office 365 (e.g. user adoption, enterprise governance and ROI/business value) and supported me through several job changes.
  • Giving me the opportunity to speak at conferences all over the world. For a travel lover like me, this is a true gift!
  • Enabling me to give back and serve others. I’ve had the privilege of working on the SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities leadership team for the past 9 years, organizing 17+ local training events. These events enable people to connect, learn from experts and solve business challenges.

THANK YOU, Microsoft, for the MVP recognition. And THANK YOU to all the friends in this community that have helped me on this journey. 

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Don’t miss the inaugural #RE365 debate!

I’m thrilled to be participating in REgarding 365’s first panel debate. The debate will be recorded at Microsoft’s Production Studios in Redmond and will live-stream on March 13, 2018 from 12-12:45pm PST. The topic for this initial debate is “End users should be able to create their own Office 365 Groups.” The debate will include 8 panelists that represent either the end-user or the IT Pro point of view. The panelists are listed below (broken out based on the point of view they’re representing).

End user panelists:

IT Pro panelists:

Darrell Webster, Microsoft MVP and REgarding 365 host, conceived this debate idea and will be refereeing. Check out Darrell’s LinkedIn article for more information on the debate. And don’t forget to subscribe to the REgarding 365 channel and set an alert to receive a reminder for the live-stream on March 13th!

SharePoint Fest DC (March 26-30, 2018)

It’s almost time for SharePoint Fest DC 2018! I’m excited to head back to Washington DC for this year’s conference, where I’ll be presenting a full-day user adoption and innovation games workshop along with sessions on requirements gathering/consensus building, user adoption and reclaiming overgrown SharePoint implementations.

SharePoint Fest DC is always a great event, particularly if you’re able to attend the 2 days of pre-conference workshops early in the week. There’s a mix of technical how-to sessions for SharePoint/Office 365 information workers, IT Pros and Developers and conceptual sessions on user adoption, governance, business valuation, search, content management, etc. And with the new 5-day conference format (2 days of workshops and 3 days of sessions), you’ll be able to learn more and engage with speakers to get your SharePoint/Office 365 questions answered. For more information, check out the conference agenda.

When you register, use discount code HaaseDC100 to save $100.

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Abstracts for my SharePoint Fest DC workshop and sessions:

Cowboys versus Ninjas: A user adoption and innovation games workshop
Driving effective user adoption for collaborative platforms like SharePoint and Office 365 is incredibly difficult. Most companies veer off-course, missing the opportunity to engage users, build internal communities and drive business engagement and value. The result: a muddle of unused SharePoint sites, negligible business buy-in and a maze of nested file repositories.

This full-day workshop explores common user adoption myths and explains the role social epidemics play in driving adoption of collaborative toolsets. You’ll learn practical tips and tricks for engaging key user constituencies in your organization, learn key motivational techniques to drive technology adoption and explore how innovation games can help you drive shared understanding and build a unified vision.

By the time you complete this workshop, you’ll know how to inspire your SharePoint ninjas, channel your enthusiasts, wrangle your cowboys and work with (or around) your naysayers.

Gathering requirements and building user consensus

If you’re struggling with a revolving set of changes to your user’s requirements or are having difficulty getting users excited about what SharePoint/Office 365 can do for them, know that IT CAN GET BETTER! This session explores user engagement, outlining practical methodologies for effectively gathering requirements and getting users excited about SharePoint/Office 365. We’ll review proven methodologies for engaging users in requirements gathering sessions and teach you how to facilitate innovation games to document user challenges and build consensus.

When cookie-cutter user adoption doesn’t cut it

Most of us learn from others. We look for leaders in a given field, learn how they do things and try to replicate their formula for success. This approach seems logical, doesn’t it? Identify, learn and replicate. Unfortunately, user adoption isn’t a cookie-cutter exercise. Attempts to take good Collaboration ideas (ideas that drive effective governance and successful user adoption) and re-use them often fail.

In this session, we’ll examine why reused ideas and solutions often fail and offer practical ideas for overcoming this re-use barrier. We’ll also discuss our real-life experience integrating innovative governance and user adoption strategies across companies. You’ll learn how to examine your users, your culture and your Collaboration goals so you can tailor others’ solutions to meet your needs.

Reclaiming SharePoint: How to reel in an overgrown implementation

SharePoint is organic. File-based SharePoint sites grow exponentially, consuming more and more storage space and making it difficult for users to find what they need. Governance plans designed to steer SharePoint’s utilization tarnish over time, discouraging users from adopting the platform.

This session outlines the reasons why SharePoint environments become overgrown and under-utilized and provides practical guidance on how you can assess your implementation and create a revitalization plan. We’ll also review several real-world SharePoint turnaround stories, highlighting the challenges faced and the methods taken to revive user adoption. Whether you have a “green-field” implementation with no formal governance in place or have a faded governance model that is no longer working, you’ll leave this session with proven techniques for engaging your key constituents and driving change.

 

 

A video recap of Daniel Pink’s book “DRIVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”

Driving user adoption for SharePoint/Office 365 requires a thorough understanding of your user base–their business needs, their technology acumen, their preferred methods for learning and their motivational drivers. While many of my other blog posts focus on business needs and methodologies for engaging your user base, this post is dedicated to understanding motivation. Understanding the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivators (and how the types of tasks being performed impact the success of motivating factors) will help you understand your users and design adoption strategies that engage, delight and inspire.

Daniel H. Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us provides an in-depth review of how human evolution and technological advancements have driven major shifts in personal motivation. Pink’s assertions will change the way you think about incentives (both for your Office 365 users and for your kids). The RSA Animate video below provides a quick summary of Pink’s findings. I recommend reading the book for more detail–it’s a quick and insightful read.

Here are a few timestamps to help you navigate the video:
00:25 – The “freaky” science behind what drives us
01:17 – Performance motivation (reward top performers/ignore low performers)
02:35 – Rewards don’t work that way! It’s a weird socialist conspiracy
04:20 – The key to leveraging if/then motivation
05:06 – The 3 factors that drive performance and engagement
08:08 – The reality of mastery (and how it will drive people to produce incredible results on their own time)