8 tips for planning your SharePoint

Best practices to plan SharePoint

The number one trick to SharePoint? Have a plan! We’ll teach you how to effectively plan your SharePoint from the get-go to ensure a seamless user experience.

When used properly, SharePoint provides loads of functionality to your organization. You might actually already be using SharePoint but not even realize it, because it is also integrated with other Microsoft 365 tools and services, like Teams and Groups.  

Notice how I said, when used properly. Unfortunately all too often I see admins getting started on the wrong foot when it comes to planning their SharePoint. And let’s be clear, you should absolutely have a plan! 

Not to worry, this article will tell you all you need to know about planning your SharePoint for a smooth and enjoyable experience for yourself and your end users! Let’s get to it. 

Tip #1: Consider your goals 

Before you start your SharePoint project—before it even begins—you need to ask yourself some very important questions: 

  • Do you have a reason to use SharePoint? 
  • Or, do you want to use it just because you have free licenses? 

We need to stop thinking about the features—it’s not about the features. It’s definitely not about how SharePoint works or what it can do. You need to consider whether or not it’s the best option for your business needs. 

To design an effective intranet your people will actually use, you need to ask questions about the work, not the technology. 

SharePoint is such a huge platform that if you don’t know where you’re going with it in the future, you’re not going to go anywhere.

Please don’t underestimate SharePoint. 

Anytime anyone has ever said, We’ll just put it like this for now and set it up properly later, it does not work. 

Once SharePoint is installed, adoption can be very quick—especially when you’re using other tools connected to it, like Microsoft Teams. If you didn’t plan ahead, if you didn’t prepare properly, you can lose control fast. 

Stop everything you’re doing and start planning!

Tip #2: Stop calling it SharePoint

Every single implementation I’ve done, I’ve always tried to call it something else, trust me – calling it Microsoft SharePoint isn’t going to be good. Because if it fails miserably, you don’t want the failure to be associated with the name of the platform. 

Tip #3: Take the time to show off

By this, I mean that you should have a communication plan, or a planning guide available at the starting point.  

Collect feedback about what users liked and didn’t like about the previous intranet. Organize launch events every time you reach a milestone.  

Get employees excited about what they can accomplish with this new platform and user adoption will be a breeze.

Tip #4: Provide end user training 

Don’t forget about your end users! They are a crucial part of your organization, and key to a successful SharePoint experience.  

Think of end user training as a long-term investment. It may be eating up hours of your day right now, but in time you’ll see some hefty returns. 

By taking the time to train users in the tools you want them to work with every day, you’ll increase employee satisfaction. They’ll be able to do more tasks on their own, they’ll be motivated to use SharePoint, and adoption will increase as a result.

Tip #5: Take a look at your business processes

Just because you hit a roadblock, doesn’t mean SharePoint is necessarily to blame. Now is the time to consider the way you work within your organization, and how you can tweak it for maximum efficiency.  

For example, in many cases, there’s complex processes for approvals—often linked to a paper trail format. Remove complex workflows in favor of a single simple one for approval.

Tip #6: Keep your governance plan simple

You should definitely have a governance plan. But to be honest, no one will read it if it’s too long.  

Consider doing it as a word document that everyone can quickly access and jump through to find the different parts. 

Tip #7: Enforce said governance plan

Governance is key to maintaining a tidy and secure environment. Once you’ve decided on the policies that need to be in place to achieve this, you need to make sure your environment respects them. Not sure where to start?

Check out our full series on the importance of creating a SharePoint governance plan.

Tip #8: Make your intranet architecture logical 

When you’re thinking about governance policies, you’ll also need to consider how you want to structure your SharePoint in a way that is logical and easy to use. Governance policies can determine the way things are stored within your tenant, and thus have a major effect on the overall architecture of your SharePoint.

Bonus: Modernize SharePoint for the modern workplace

You always want to think one step ahead of where you’re at. Even though you’re just doing an intranet right now, you need to have a vision for what’s going to go where. Make sure your new SharePoint is as future-proof as possible.

Planning smart hub sites, developing a deployment plan, educating users about document management can ensure you’re going to make your life easier for the future.

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