SharePoint adoption in the enterprise is growing at a rapid pace, but many organizations are still struggling to achieve the proper mix of “people,” “technology” and “process.” In the midst of just trying to figure out the technology side of SharePoint, many organizations overlook the people and process side of an implementation. Pushed even further to the backburner are the “business value” considerations of SharePoint. What is the purpose of implementing SharePoint in the first place? How will SharePoint improve operations and drive overall business results?
Here’s a 30-point checklist that covers the business, people, technology and process components of a SharePoint implementation. Use this checklist to make sure that you have all of the correct elements in place during the planning phase of your SharePoint implementation which can apply to a brand new rollout, migration or even custom solution development. If you have already implemented SharePoint, you can use this list to uncover possible gaps and identify areas in need of improvement.
30-Point SharePoint Checklist
- What are the quantifiable top 3-5 objectives of the implementation? This means defining the value and scope for which all other questions will be framed.
- Does the implementation have a sponsor from senior leadership that will champion the objectives mentioned above? Is there enough support at the right level to prevent starts/stops/restarts?
- Will the implementation be funded out of IT or through the departments or divisions receiving the technology? Are there other major stakeholders that can change scope?
- Is there a critical target date that cannot be missed? What resource costs will be involved to reach the target date?
- Who will define and steer the SharePoint platform as a service? How will this implementation impact other stakeholders and sustain the direction/funding for the project?
- How many potential users will be using the system? Estimate by periods over time such as 200 Q1, 800 Q2, 5000 Q4, etc. to help project support resource needs.
- What support model does the company currently use (e.g. help desk, train power users, online knowledge bases, etc.)?
- How much excess capacity/budget is available for adding SharePoint to the current support mix? What is the resource bandwidth availability and required augmentation?
- Do you have IT professionals in Microsoft Windows Server, Web technologies, Microsoft SQL Server, e-mail, network load balancing, etc.? What additional training or augmentation might be needed?
- Do these IT professionals have sufficient bandwidth for the early peak of activity? Will they be able to sustain the system long-term? Do you need to add personnel for the peak of activity?
- Is organizational change a managed process? If so, is there bandwidth for promotion, training, etc., to make the implementation successful in the organization? Are additional contract resources needed to help with the rollout?
- How are IT policies enforced? More time might be needed to align security if enforcement mechanisms aren’t in place.
- Have you done a stakeholder analysis to understand the change effort? How much time will need to be spent to convince opponents of the implementation?
- Is your organization already running 64bit hardware/software in your data center? What possible hardware/software costs exist?
- Are your environments virtual and/or full hardware based? Will hardware need to be purchased if the farm needs to expand beyond projections?
- Is this implementation planned to offset current file storage? If so, what does current storage size look like in projection against SP storage (e.g. "we plan to move fileserver based storage to SP to take advantage of versioning and document/record management aspects and today we have 2TB of file shares which we want to condense to 1TB through use of this technology")?
- Thinking about the objectives, what would the number of page visits look like after one year? How many times a day would someone access the system and how many files/lists would they interact with? This projects the farm configuration.
- What SharePoint services are being projected to be used in the first year (Excel Services, PerformancePoint, InfoPath, Access Services, etc.)? This might increase the amount of support and training required.
- Is there sufficient storage and server capacity to support this implementation for at least one year (2-3 years would be preferable)?
- Is the Microsoft stack of products currently well used in the environment (Start-up, training, support costs)?
- If Microsoft Office is currently being used on the desktop, what version(s) are supported and will there be a desktop rollout component?
- Will there be non-Microsoft computing platforms used with this implementation (e.g. Mac, iPad, Android devices, non-Microsoft smart phones, etc.)? If so, how knowledgeable are your current development/branding resources in supporting multiple browsers (support, UI development and training costs)?
- If this implementation is to enhance current processes, how stable and defined are those processes (how crisp will workflows or custom code be defined)?
- Has a gap analysis been done to map the processes to the technology to see if customization will be required? What is the potential amount of custom development?
- Is branding important for this implementation (look and feel customization)?
- Will this implementation support custom programming (multiple environments and lifecycle processes)?
- How does this implementation fit into your current data security and disaster recovery processes? Will you need additional offline storage and recovery?
- Will there be external company resources that will need to access this implementation (firewall and additional environments and security considerations)?
- Are there compliance regulations that must be met (SOx, HIPAA, etc.)? This can add additional levels of configuration complexity.
- Are there IT Audit requirements? Will there need to be additional storage for logs to support the detail required?
Editor's Note: You may also be interested in reading:
- The Art of SharePoint Success: Strategic Lenses - Enterprise CMS & Collaboration
- Selling SharePoint 2010 to Your Enterprise
- SharePoint at the Crossroads
About the Author
With over 15 years of experience in IT and Project Management, Dux has earned a reputation as among the leading experts in leveraging technology to enhance project management. He is currently a managing partner and the chief evangelist of Innovative-e and author of SharePoint for Project Management published by O’Reilly Media.