I'm launching a SharePoint intranet site in a couple of weeks time. What can I do to ensure it is successful from Day 1?
(My role is as SharePoint developer/admin but I will make recommendations to the business sponsor.)
There are lots of things that are recommended to make your SharePoint intranet successful. Some are: executive buy-in, training, incremental releases and updates, proper governance/assurance (as you prefer to call it), etc... You know your company's culture best, you will need to look at what has been successful and what has been unsuccessful and try to incorporate what you have learned from those other initiatives with the tips from others. Many refer to Joel Oleson's 10 Steps to Successful SharePoint Deployment (you can find that on sharepointjoel.com in his presentations on the right) but I have found some of Lee Reed's tips on driving adoption very helpful as well. Here's one of his posts that offers some good tips:
Try focus on next aspects:
2 weeks is a short time to launch if you haven't done anything yet. However get the buzz out there. I find you need to get some SharePoint champions on your side, individuals in the organzaabion that simply love SharePoint (preferbly not IT) and can offer some support. People that are passionate about the product will take your cause far and lead by example.
The other thing would be to get on the marketing bandwagon. Nobody hates more than to one day come in and see some new thing IT stood up overnight with no preparation. Go check out the RampUp toolkit. It's a set of documents, resources, and media that you can use to promote SharePoint. You can find it here.
Finally, be open and there for the users. Once you launch babysit the launch and keep it fresh (with new postings, etc.) and don't let it become a stale tumor in your organization.
The technology will not make it "work", that's for sure. Executive buy in is important, but even better, executive behavior. Get them to stop emailing docs and put them in the Intranet, get them to blog, etc. Basically, lead by example. If they don't no one else will do what you want.
Also look for quick win mini-apps that you can whip out fast. Paid Time Off Requests are (surprisingly) often a winner, and very easy to build. Think about what things everyone in the organization does all the time (and usually hates) and give them a better option.
Don't let the Intranet stand still. Go for continuous improvement, not big releases. Talk to people a LOT. Find out what is working for them and what isn't.
So much of all of this depends on the so-called "culture" of the organization. No one knows that better than you if you are in the midst of it.
Success is a hard thing to define. But back when the project was launced, the customer should have defined success criteria for how they would define the intranet as a success.
Examples could be ROI for management, testers and developers would probably have a success criteria that no bugs is found after launch, IT could have how uptime and that pages are served fast.
As a developer and architect I would reccommend thorough testing, and test deployments to secure that the site works as designed and that it can actually handle that it becomes a success.
Definitely make sure your business sponsor plays an active role as an 'evangelist' in the organization, both above and below their level. I have seen many implementations fail that don't have an engaged business sponsor, just as often as those without a business sponsor.
Here's another great article from SharePoint Joel as Lori pointed out earlier.
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