SharePoint Saturday

When cookie-cutter user adoption doesn’t cut it…

Paper DollsIn January 2018, I had the opportunity to deliver my session “When cookie-cutter user adoption doesn’t cut it…” at SharePoint Saturday St. Louis. The session explores the wicked problem of driving adoption and true business engagement for SharePoint and Office 365. Horst Rittel first coined the term wicked problem in the 1960s, referring to social challenges (e.g. discrimination, poverty, refugee crises) that can’t be solved via conventional means. In recent years, this notion of wicked problems has expanded into the business and technology realm, describing the inherent difficulty in driving change across companies and work groups.

The session also outlined the inherent issues with taking a copy-and-paste approach to driving user adoption. Your organization’s culture, the skill set of your SharePoint/Office 365 implementation team and the unique norms of your user base require a custom approach to driving adoption. There is no recipe to follow for guaranteed results, nor is there a simplistic 10-step program for rebuilding your user’s relationship with IT or their opinion of your Collaboration tool offerings. And copying a winning user adoption program from another company and launching it as-is in your organization almost always guarantees failure. In order to be successful, adoption strategies must be targeted to your company’s culture, your implementation team and your user base.

user adoption continuum

To help you design a custom adoption strategy, I recommend building a SharePoint/Office 365 user adoption continuum. The continuum enables you to map out key engagement initiatives and tie them to phases in the adoption growth scale. Early on, companies should focus on formation efforts that build rapport with your users and define key business objectives. Many companies also use the formation stage to establish an internal user group and seed starter SharePoint/Office 365 projects that will serve as examples of success.

Once the foundation for your user adoption strategy is formed, you can move onto the adoption stage. The adoption stage is a driver for pipeline growth. This is where you start hitting critical mass and engaging users across multiple business lines to leverage SharePoint and Office 365 effectively. This will require a consistent approach for user education. Educational initiatives (e.g. SharePoint/Office 365 training classes, user group sessions, etc.) tend to be a focus for this adoption stage.

Once you’ve started mastering the adoption stage, you can think about building out advanced adoption programs (e.g. SharePoint/Office 365 evangelist programs, special internal events like SharePoint hack-a-thons or code days, etc.). The initiatives in this maturation stage require a high level of engagement from a pre-existing community. You’ll need enthusiasts that are willing to volunteer their time and organize meaningful programs that drive continued interest in the Collaboration platforms. Attempting to launch these types of mature programs too early in your user adoption continuum can hamper your success. The formation and adoption stages provide the raw materials (community engagement, an educated group of power users, internal brand recognition for SharePoint/Office 365) that will help support these mature programs.

Your user adoption continuum should be a living, breathing artifact. Build it over time so it can track your current efforts and serve as a source of motivation for your continuing journey. The continuum doesn’t have to relate to a specific timeframe, but the formation, adoption and maturation stages will take time to complete. The amount of time required is wholly dependent on your organization and your implementation team. So don’t approach the continuum as a race–it’s all about the adoption journey.

SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities call for speakers (Spring 2018 edition)

SPSTC_logo_smallWe’re thrilled to welcome everyone back for another SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities! Our Spring event is scheduled for Saturday, April 14, 2018 at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Our call for speakers is now open. If you’d like to be considered, please submit your session ideas and speaker bio. All submissions must be in by 11:59PM on February 4th. Speakers will be notified whether their sessions are accepted by mid-February.

More information about the Spring 2018 event (including registration and session schedule) will be posted over the coming months. Please monitor our Facebook page and for updates.


SharePoint Saturday St. Louis

I’m thrilled to be headed to St. Louis, MO in a couple of weeks to speak at SharePoint Saturday St. Louis. There’s a great speaker lineup for the January 20, 2018 event, including sessions from Daniel Glenn, Brian Caauwe, Max Fritz, Mark Rackley, Stephanie Donahue, Becky Bertram, Robert Bogue, Erica Toelle, Nate Chamberlain and many more. I’ll be presenting two sessions at the event:

  • Why is defining ROI for SharePoint/Office 365 so hard?
    ROI is a “fancy” acronym for Return on Investment. While ROI implies success, it usually involves mysterious mathematical formulas that many people can’t see or understand. So how does an everyday SharePoint business owner tackle the ROI puzzle? Do you just “flip the switch” on your implementation and move on? Or are you so busy with post-launch support that you don’t have time to circle back and quantify your results? This session will help you demonstrate the business value for your SharePoint implementation. We’ll examine common ROI calculation methodologies while providing strategies for identifying your ROI niche and quantifying the business value of your SharePoint implementation.
  • 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.

If you’ll be in the St. Louis area on January 20th and want to learn more about SharePoint and Office 365, don’t miss your chance to register for this free event.


SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities is back!

We’re gearing up for the Fall 2017 edition of SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities (#SPSTC) on October 28th at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN. We have 36 sessions planned, with 9 different SharePoint and Office 365 sessions running concurrently throughout the day. With tracks for Office 365 technologies, 101 users, Developers, Information Workers and IT Pros, we’re confident you’ll leave with new learnings and great community connections.

If you’d like to attend, please see our Web site for session abstracts and speaker bios. And while we take walk-ins on the day of the event, it is always ideal if you can register ahead of time.

We are also looking for volunteers to help us the weekend of the event. Please consider donating your time and giving back to the community.

SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities opens with a new registration record!

unitedMinnesota–the land of cold winters, SPAM and sellout SharePoint Saturday events. What a comparison!

We’re fortunate, though, to have a phenomenal SharePoint community here in the Twin Cities. With an active Minnesota SharePoint User Group that is approaching its 100th meeting and SharePoint Saturday events that sell out twice each year, we clearly have an involved (and supportive) SharePoint community.

The community THRILLED us this week, though, with their thunderous response to our registration call for the May 2013 SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities event. We’ve had 570 people register for the event in only 9 days. Sound impressive? It should. It breaks every registration record we’ve ever seen. While we may not be the largest SharePoint Saturday worldwide, we pride ourselves on being one of the best. So if you’re anywhere near Minnesota in May, please stop by. We’d love to show you how we do SharePoint Saturday Minnesota style!

For more information on this event, visit our SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities web site and registration page.

Here we go! Planning for the next SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities ramps up.

2012_SPS_Logo_300Last night was the first all-team planning meeting for our upcoming May 18th #SPSTC event. After nearly 3 hours of discussion over a packed agenda, we emerged tired but victorious! I’m most excited about some changes we’re making to this next event. We’ll be using brand-new classroom space at Normandale Community College for all our sessions. The new rooms have more space, offer better technology and are situated close to one another–thereby eliminating the speedwalking portion of our event. We’re also going to offer a community service opportunity for all attendees. This is part of our new focus on giving back…and giving back feels great!

What isn’t changing? Our focus on providing great content and networking opportunities for our attendees. We will still be running 8 concurrent sessions throughout the day, including tracks for Information Workers, IT Pros and Developers. We’ll also have sponsors on-site to provide walkthroughs of their tools/services.

If you’re interested in sponsorship opportunities for this event, please send an email to And keep an eye on our Facebook page for other event updates–including our upcoming call for speakers.

No post about #SPSTC would be complete without a shout-out to our leadership team. I can’t say enough about the enthusiasm, talent and hard work these folks bring to the table each and every day. We are one of the few organizing committees that consistently put on two SharePoint Saturday events per year–and this kind of effort comes with a personal cost. Please give Wes Preston, Jim Ferguson, Don Donais, Tamara Bredemus, Garon Rowland and Raymond Mitchell a “thank you” when you see them–they’re the best!

We are a GO! SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities will be held on November 3, 2012

And it begins again! Yesterday we kicked off preparations for our Fall iteration of SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities, to be held on Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN. As you probably know, SharePoint Saturdays are free educational events dedicated to fostering information exchange and networking opportunities for SharePoint end-users, developers and IT Pros. These SharePoint Saturday events occur in local markets throughout the world, wherever there are SharePoint peeps that want to come together and share what they know.

We are blessed to have an amazing SharePoint community in the Twin Cities. Our balmy Minnesota winters have attracted the likes of Bill English, Virgil Carroll, Wes Preston, Raymond Mitchell, Tamara Bredemus and Phil Wicklund. When you have this much local talent, you can get a jump start on building a great educational event. Mix in a strong leadership team and a community that gets excited about attending SharePoint events (even on a Saturday) and you have a hit!

When I first got involved with the Twin Cities SharePoint Camp three years ago, I was thrilled to find an opportunity to learn from and network with other SharePoint enthusiasts. We started out small, with 75-100 people attending Saturday events at a local training center. But after adopting the SharePoint Saturday mantle and forming a leadership team to guide the events, we’ve grown to staggering proportions. Take a look at the growth curve in our number of attendees:

Our last event (held in April 2012) had nearly 30 sponsors, 28 breakout sessions, 2 hands-on labs and 450+ attendees. For a recap of the day, see my summary blog post:

The pressure is clearly on to maintain the quality of our SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities events. We want to continue pulling in great speakers and offering a great opportunity for attendees to learn and connect. With that in mind, we’ve opened the call for speakers for our November 3rd event. If you have a SharePoint story, please put together an abstract and submit to present. All the submission details are posted on our web site:

#spstc smashes our previous record, becoming one of the largest SharePoint Saturdays ever!

SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities ROCKED this weekend with 450+ attendees! By our estimations, this places us right behind SharePoint Saturday DC as the most well-attended SharePoint Saturday event EVER. Thanks to all our organizing staff, volunteers, speakers, sponsors and attendees for making this such a fabulous event. Our continued success ensures that this event will be around for many years to come…

We kicked things off on Friday with event setup. We had an army of 20+ tackling all the work, and were able to unload all our materials, organize sponsor exhibition tables, assemble sponsor/speaker gift bags, place signs and stuff attendee bags in a record 2 hours. Not an easy feat! A big thanks to Cyndi Kesler, Irene Kesler, Mary Neumann, Avi Sujeeth, Dave Hall, Lynne Figg, Phil Jirsa, Raymond Mitchell, Don Donais, Colleen Haviland, Tamara Bredemus, Wes Preston and many others for your efforts.

The speaker dinner was held Friday night at Tavern on France. Great food, great company and an amazing assortment of SharePoint knowledge all in one place. We had a great mix of attendees join in for SharePint starting at 8:30 pm. Great to meet attendees who drove long distances to attend the event–including a special shout out to the UWEC and CVTC folks from my hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Great to see you!

Saturday morning got off to an early start with a 4:45 am wake-up call. By 7 am we were on site at Normandale Community College amassing our volunteer workforce. (While we’ve had outstanding volunteers at all our previous events, we knew that pulling off this 450+ person event was going to take an army of help. We’re so fortunate to have an active SharePoint community that really jumped in to help us out!) By 8 am registration was up and running and we had 30+ volunteers handing out lanyards, pointing people towards breakfast and handing out attendee t-shirts and bags. A special “thank you” to Edith Young for hanging with me as chief troubleshooter Saturday morning. Much appreciated!

When we kicked off the event at 9 am, Normandale’s 400-seater Auditorium was filled to capacity. Our slogan for this event was “Occupy SharePoint.” A popular choice, but attendees loved hearing our other rejected slogans:

  • Come for the mall, stay for the SharePoint. SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities.
  • Smart people, good food AND I learned something. Must be SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities!
  • Adopt an End User today at SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities.
  • Keep your End Users happy and healthy. Remember to spay and neuter.
  • SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities – April 14, 2012. More fun than taxes!
  • Hmmm. That worked at SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities…

And yes, these slogans are all created by Tamara Bredemus, our fantastic comedic talent 🙂

The rest of the day went by in a blur. We had 30 fantastic sessions, a vendor exhibition area that was packed to capacity and great food/networking opportunities. To help wind down after the big day, we took a bunch of speakers and attendees to Khan’s Mongolian BBQ for dinner. Follow that up with some rollercoaster rides at the Mall of America and you have a FULL day.

It’s impossible to thank everyone who had a hand in this event, but please know that it could not succeed without a huge amount of positive energy! It also wouldn’t have been the same without many of our fantastic speakers that came great distances to attend. Thanks to Mark Rackley, Richard Harbridge, Jeff Willinger, Kim Frehe, Doug Hemminger, Tasha Scott, Mary Leigh Mackie, et. al. for traveling to Minneapolis for this event. And a special thanks to Sean McDonough for making a repeat appearance. You make everything more fun, man!

For those of you that can’t wait for another SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities, don’t despair…we’re already locking in a date for the fall. Stay tuned for more information.

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SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities: We’re biggering, but in a good way.

I speak for men, and human opportunities! For your information, you Lorax, I’m figgering on biggering and biggering, and biggering, and BIGGERING, turning MORE truffula trees into thneeds! Which everyone, everyone, EVERYONE NEEDS! (quote from the Once-ler in Dr. Seuss’ famous book, “The Lorax”)

We’re not in the “thneed” market, but we have been dedicated to “biggering and biggering” SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities. Our goal was to expand the variety and number of our sessions, incorporate hands-on labs, include more sponsors and drive up attendee numbers so we can offer more networking and educational opportunities for the Twin Cities market.

When we launched our first SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities event back in March 2010, we were thrilled to have 175 attendees pre-register. It is truly amazing how far we’ve come in only two years. This week–for the first time ever–we have maxed out with 600 registrations for our spring SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities event! While we’re proud of how much we’ve grown, we feel an even stronger need to put on a top-quality event.

To ensure we have enough content (and enough space) to accommodate all our attendees, our April 14th event will include 30 sessions running in 8 different session rooms. We have tracks for Information Workers, IT Pros/Admins and Developers along with a hands-on lab, a SharePoint 101 track and general sessions. We also have almost 30 sponsors committed to answering your questions and providing product/consulting overviews.

We also have a fantastic collection of speakers. These people are incredible. They believe in the power of our SharePoint community and work tirelessly to build top-quality sessions. We have some familiar faces presenting, including Don Donais, Wes Preston, Jeff Willinger, Brian Caauwe, Virgil Carroll, Todd Bleeker, Sean McDonough, Zandy Garrard and Richard Harbridge. We also have some speakers that are new to the Twin Cities venue–including Matthew Ruderman, Mark Rackley, Tasha Scott, Megan Caauwe, Tennille Gruman, Kim Frehe, Tennille Gruman and many more. I’m honored to join this group of speakers, and will be delivering a user adoption session titled “No Miracle Required: Driving Successful User Adoption.” I’ll discuss how you can build a roadmap for user adoption and highlight real-life scenarios that have delivered great results!

I also want to give a shout out to Webtrends, who is sponsoring our Guidebook mobile app for this event. Go to to download your guide so you can view the event’s sessions, build your personal schedule, see the list of speakers and sponsors, keep up with the event’s Twitter feed and look at maps of the venue.

And if you haven’t registered for SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities yet, get on the waitlist. It’s an event you don’t want to miss!

P.S. Here’s a special treat for you Dr. Seuss fans. Enjoy!

Don’t miss ScarePoint Saturday!

Ghosts, ghouls, candy…and SharePoint? Clearly not the obvious choice. But who says IT folks can’t have a sense of humor?

ScarePoint Saturday is the fourth in our series of semi-annual Twin Cities SharePoint Saturday events. This fall’s event is scheduled for October 29, 2011 at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN.

SharePoint Saturdays are FREE training events designed to provide education and SharePoint-centered networking opportunities. SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities has been growing steadily over the past 2 years, growing from 100 attendees in March 2010 to nearly 300 attendees in April 2011. And while I’m not objective, I think ScarePoint Saturday might just be our best (and largest) event yet!

We still have sessions spanning 3 key tracks:

  • IT Pro/Admin
  • Developer
  • Information Worker

But we’ve also added in some new elements. The SharePoint 101 track will help new SharePoint-ers hit the ground running. From an overview of what SharePoint is and how it can be used to gathering requirements, understanding critical success factors and calculating return on investment (ROI), this track delivers SharePoint success.

The new hands-on lab provides an outstanding opportunity to learn from the best. Mindsharp will be on-site with two of their best trainers and a room full of laptops. If you’re interested in creating reusable workflows or using document set content types in SharePoint 2010, you won’t want to miss Tamara Bredemus’ sessions! And if you need a deep-dive on SharePoint’s Application Programming Interface, don’t miss the hands-on deep dive with Todd Bleeker.

But these are only a few of the 28 sessions we’ll be delivering during ScarePoint Saturday. From SharePoint governance to Office 365 and PowerShell, this event has you covered. For detailed session abstracts and registration information, visit our web site at

So who will you see there?

We’ve got an amazing speaker pool for this event, including Bill English, Todd Bleeker, Shai Petel, Virgil Carroll, Zandy Garrard and many more. I also want to thank some of our speakers that are traveling long distances to attend our event. Ruven Gotz, Richard Harbridge, Chris Geier and Becky Isserman–THANK YOU! We are honored to have you at the event.

We also have the usual suspects keeping things running smoothly. This event could not be held without heroic efforts by Wes Preston, Colleen Haviland, Tamara Bredemus, Don Donais and Raymond Mitchell. We are an eccentric bunch, though. And at Halloween we may start looking like a certain famous family:

So come check out ScarePoint Saturday. We’ll take your tricks, your treats and your SharePoint questions. Attendees will also score a limited-edition ScarePoint Saturday t-shirt (model not included).


Helpful links: