The Rise of the Ninjas

This week, I delivered a half-day user adoption workshop at SharePoint Fest Chicago 2017. The workshop, titled “The rise of the ninjas: A unique methodology for driving SharePoint user adoption,” explains how to plan for an effective SharePoint/Office 365 adoption campaign and how to reclaim an existing implementation that has failed to gain traction with your user base.

The workshop introduced why SharePoint/Office 365 user adoption is a wicked problem, outlined two examples of how companies that “got it wrong” were able to build a turnaround strategy, and provided practical tips for driving adoption wins. The workshop also highlighted several key tenets of effective user adoption:

For more information, feel free to check out the session slides.

Workshop Abstract:

The rise of the ninjas: A unique methodology for driving SharePoint user adoption
This half-day workshop discusses the “chaos-to-clarity” journey many organizations take on their path to a successful SharePoint implementation. We will look at common training, governance and user adoption pitfalls, provide recommendations for framing a successful SharePoint Center of Excellence (COE) and give you practical tips for building an internal user community of SharePoint ninjas. These strategies can change the course of your SharePoint implementation and catapult you from being “just another file repository” to being the premier workflow automation tool people want to use. 

The problem with assuming you know what your users need…

man-person-street-shoes.jpg

Every company and every set of users is unique. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ method for engaging users and driving adoption. And one of the worst mistakes you can make is assuming you know too much. Adoption starts with understanding your users–what they struggle with, what they don’t understand, what annoys them and what drives them crazy. Your generalized knowledge of SharePoint, Office 365 and user adoption can’t supplant the need to talk to and understand your users.

To prove the point, let’s take a look at two famous user adoption failures:

new cokeIn 1985, Coca-Cola announced the release of a new formula for Coke. The consumer response was immediate. Complaints poured in, people started hoarding cases of “Classic Coke” and protest groups sprang up around the United States. Within a few months, Coca-Cola announced a return to their classic recipe.

Colgate
In a move that delved into the truly bizarre, Colgate launched a line of entrees in 1982. While Colgate may have thought consumers would easily make the leap from brushing with Colgate to eating with Colgate, customers clearly didn’t agree. Colgate entrees were pulled from the shelves quickly.

What do these user adoption failure stories have in common? They assumed an answer without first asking a question. Coca-Cola and Colgate failed to ask their customers what they wanted—they assumed they knew what their customers would buy. A critical lapse in judgment.

Great adoption campaigns are designed to suit the unique needs of the users they serve. Before you start designing your adoption program, invest in learning what your users want and need. There are myriad options for gathering this user data, from focus groups to surveys, user interviews and innovation games. How you go about getting the user feedback isn’t important. The key is to use what you learn as the basis for your user-centric adoption campaign.

User adoption isn’t a one-time project

pexels-photo-571249User adoption isn’t a temporary effort. There is no magic formula for success and adoption doesn’t have an end date. If you want successful adoption of SharePoint and Office 365, you’ll need to build, evolve and drive adoption programs from now until the day you stop leveraging the platform. Even the most successful adoption programs will die without dedicated attention and fresh ideas.

Adoption programs also need to support the natural cycle of user engagement. Sooner or later, many of your SharePoint/Office 365 evangelists and power users are going to move on to new jobs or new phases in their careers. To keep driving adoption, you need to have a continuous pipeline of new users learning about SharePoint/Office 365. These new users need to be mentored and coached so they can leverage the platform to build effective business solutions. Without a community of practice, engaged thought leaders, mentors and an appropriate support system, most of your new users will fizzle out before they realize the potential of SharePoint/Office 365.

Remember–adoption programs should drive interest in the platform, build connections between business teams/power users, propel users past the initial educational hurdles and support users on their quest to build business solutions. If you’re not actively driving adoption and the development of your future power users, your adoption is declining.

It’s time to be user-centric

User-centricDuring my adoption workshop at SharePoint Fest Chicago, I’ll be discussing the importance of building user-centric adoption campaigns. Traditional approaches to user adoption (e.g. mass email communications without personalized messaging, antiquated “train the trainer” models and old-school documentation that focuses on features instead of business needs) simply don’t work for today’s users. These one-size-fits-all models assume all users want the same tools, have the same needs and will respond to the same stimuli. Traditional adoption models also widen the gap between the business and IT, alienating the very users IT is trying to attract.

Today’s SharePoint and Office 365 adoption campaigns need a strong user-centric approach. User-centric programs leverage personas and relationships to highlight differences between business roles and focus on leveraging technology to achieve business outcomes. In a user-centric model, you spend time building relationships with innovative and influential users and teams across your business. If you can help these key users/teams build successful business outcomes using SharePoint and Office 365, you’ll amass effective use cases and convert key influencers into collaboration evangelists.  And if you choose your business users wisely, they’ll influence others to engage, driving adoption of your technologies in order to achieve stronger business outcomes.

SharePoint Fest Chicago (December 5-8, 2017)

I’m excited to close out 2017 with a trip to Chicago for SharePoint Fest December 5th-8th. I’ll be presenting a half-day user adoption workshop along with sessions on business process automation and ROI.

SharePoint Fest Chicago 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. If you haven’t registered for the conference yet, use my speaker code Haase100 to save $100 on the conference fee.

spfest_chicago_2017_banner

Abstracts for SELRES_beaba191-bd19-45ed-80b2-9db895d9a169my SELRES_beaba191-bd19-45ed-80b2-9db895d9a169SharePoint Fest Chicago workshop and sessions:

  • The rise of the ninjas: A unique methodology for driving SharePoint user adoption
    This half-day workshop discusses the “chaos-to-clarity” journey many organizations take on their path to a successful SharePoint implementation. We will look at common training, governance and user adoption pitfalls, provide recommendations for framing a successful SharePoint Center of Excellence (COE) and give you practical tips for building an internal user community of SharePoint ninjas. These strategies can change the course of your SharePoint implementation and catapult you from being “just another file repository” to being the premier workflow automation tool people want to use. For more info on this workshop, check out my workshop preview video.
  • Escaping the land of confusion: How to create effective business process solutions in SharePoint
    Are you caught in an infinite loop of overgrown, outdated processes? Are your end-users stuck in a rut, copying data between an endless string of Excel spreadsheets? If so, this is the conference session for you! We’ll explore common process engineering methodologies, outline the “universal truths” that will help you relate to your business users and expose the “forgotten layer of content management” that exists at most organizations. Then it’s GO TIME! We’ll outline a formula for finding your alpha project, provide a streamlined storyboarding/requirements gathering process and show you how to incorporate ROI valuations into your project timeline. You will leave this session with a “couch-to-success” plan for building effective business process solutions.
  • De-Mystifying ROI calculation for SharePoint
    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.

Naysayer insights from Seth Godin

Great insight from Seth Godin this week on understanding naysayers:

“When someone is frequently naysaying a proposal or a situation, it’s tempting to figure out how to make them happy. What can you change to find a compromise, how can you listen to their objections and respond in a way to gain their approval?

It might be, though, that being oppositional is making them happy. It may be that the best way to satisfy their objections is to let them keep objecting.”
Link to Seth Godin’s Oppositional post

So stop trying so hard to convert your SharePoint and Office 365 naysayers into enthusiasts. Focus your energy on the users that are willing to listen.

Want more info on handling naysayers? Check out my Tuning out the SharePoint naysayers blog post.

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.

Upcoming webinar: Cowboys vs. Ninjas

I’m excited to announce my upcoming VisualSP webinar, Cowboys vs. Ninjas: The key to understanding your SharePoint users. This 1-hour webinar will break down the 6 key characters that can make or break your chances of driving successful adoption of SharePoint and Office 365. We’ll talk about what drives each character, learn their strengths and weaknesses and determine how you can best engage them to achieve your vision. We’ll also talk about the science behind user adoption, from Everett Rogers’ classic diffusion model to understanding how The Law of the Few can drive momentum. See you there!

When: October 4, 2017 from 11-12:15pm CDT
Registration: https://hubs.ly/H08Hlzz0
Cost: FREE

Full abstract:

Every company (and every SharePoint and Office 365 implementation) is unique. We have different visions of success, a diverse set of desired outcomes, unique business goals and a dizzying array of governance policies. But our SharePoint users are much more alike than we realize.

In this webinar, we will define the six key characters that can make (or break) your SharePoint or Office 365 implementation. You will learn how to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your users, understand what’s driving them and build methodologies to engage, challenge and ultimately channel your users to drive success.

VisualSP Webinar: When cookie-cutter user adoption doesn’t cut it

I’ll be presenting a free user adoption webinar for VisualSP on May 12, 2016. The webinar explains the science behind user adoption failures and offers practical tips for examining how your users, your culture and your Collaboration goals impact your success. You’ll leave the session with a framework you can use to build a custom user adoption framework for your organization.  Interested in attending? Click here to register.

VisualSP