SharePoint Training Best Practices

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Companies spend lots of money getting SharePoint deployed and then fall woefully short when it comes to training their end users. This presentation walks through the best training practices to ensure …

Companies spend lots of money getting SharePoint deployed and then fall woefully short when it comes to training their end users. This presentation walks through the best training practices to ensure SharePoint is a success in your organization.

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  • 1. SharePoint Training Best Practices
  • 2. NOV
    DEC
    JAN
    FEB
    MAR
    APR
    You’ve just finished deploying SharePoint. Now your team can kick back and relax…right?
    Actually, you’ve just reached the most critical stage in determining whether SharePoint will be successful: TRAINING.
    Go Live!
  • 3. Many companies spend thousands or even millions on launching SharePoint and then skimp on training, often providing users with e-learning and nothing else.
    This strategy will ensure you never realize your full investment in SharePoint.
    Amount spent on launching SharePoint
    Amount spent on SharePoint training
  • 4. So what does a good training strategy look like?
    In 20 years e-Learning will be sufficient because everyone will be a technophile, but for now instructor-led is still the ideal method for initial SharePoint training. Most employees respond best to guidance from a real live person.
    Instructor-led Training
    Your e-learning, regardless of format, should contain the basics as a “refresher” resource, but is also a good place to offer the more specific training that might only be utilized by your power users.
    e-Learning (CBT, Videos, etc)
    When users have questions, you want the answers to be available your entire organization. Setting up a SharePoint discussion forum for this purpose is great. This site should also be a place where enthusiasts can exchange tips and learning.
    SharePoint Community
  • 5. Parts of the Strategy
  • 6. Instructor-Led Training
    What makes instructor-led training superior to videos or CBTs is that attendees are able to ask questions on the spot.
    This interactivity lets you pinpoint areas you might want to focus on or develop e-learning for, and allows users to learn nuances that don’t necessarily come through from e-learning tools. The back-and-forth dialogue will benefit everyone.
    Even if the training is not in person, it should at least be conducted live, via webinar.
  • 7. While typically front-loaded to get people up and running, instructor-led training should continue throughout the existence of SharePoint.
    Users will be “entering” SharePoint at different times, and advancing in knowledge at different speeds based on the requirements of their job role.
    You want real live bodies to help them take advantage of your investment in SharePoint. If people aren’t able to use it effectively, you won’t get much of a return.
    Training should be continuous…
  • 8. Provide training sessions on a rotating basis so those who might not be using SharePoint right away are still able to attend. Below is an example:
    * Note this is a conceptual example only and is not meant to represent an actual, comprehensive plan.
  • 9. e-Learning
    e-learning does have an important role in your training suite. Videos and CBT modules can be a great resource as:
    • Refresher courses for people who know the basics and just need a reminder on how to do something.
    • 10. Training for people already familiar with SharePoint and looking for specific functionality. With e-learning you can offer a wide curriculum that simply wouldn’t be feasible with instructors.
  • As with instructor-led training, the e-learning should be broken up into small modules that build on one another. Spell out the time commitment as well. Your users won’t be game for an hour long CBT session, but will find the time for a 15 minute one.
    Below is a Microsoft example for self-serve Office training.
  • 11. SharePoint Community
    Social learning is effective for a reason: it more naturally mimics the way people seek help. An online community can be the digital version of the well informed colleague sitting next to you.
    This community should be the place users go ask questions and find answers. Providing a discussion forum is a huge benefit: you are simultaneously helping employees and building out a SharePoint knowledge base. You want to encourage participation on the forum, essentially building your own internal user group.
    This can also be the place where you host your videos, CBTs, SharePoint wiki, internal site examples, and any other SharePoint resources.
  • 12. Training Tips
  • 13. Teach Solutions, Not Features
    Most SharePoint training tends to be feature based, i.e. create a list, upload a document, turn on versioning, add a user.
    This is fine for some basic functions (and the only option for others, such as adding a user to a site), but the problem with this method is it’s not especially relevant to users. What you really want to impart are solutions. After all, SharePoint was presumably installed to solve business problems.
    “Solutions” may involve a single feature but more likely involve multiple, and should be targeted based on job role.
    For instance, a module for your project managers called “Track and manage your project metrics” may involve showing how to set up Custom or KPI lists, KPI web parts, and filter web parts, and then tying it all together in a dashboard view. Instead of chasing down people all week to measure project health, they can get it instantly.
  • 14. …And you should know what solutions are appropriate based on the business case built to justify SharePoint in the first place. (You did build a business case, right?)
    Financial Analyst
    • KPI List
    • 15. KPI Web Parts
    • 16. Business Connectivity Services
    Human Resources
    • Records Management
    • 17. Approval Workflows
    • 18. Surveys
    Project Manager
  • Use Actual Organization Examples
    The first thing you want to do is sell people on the value of SharePoint. Not everyone will have paid attention to the communications going out pre-launch, so this value should be covered in introductory training.
    You should have worked with some of your organization’s groups during a pilot/beta to set up SharePoint sites. It’s important to get some nice looking, functional sites that are making an impact out of the pilot to use as examples during this introduction to SharePoint; these are essentially internal case studies. Seeing is believing; seeing it within your own organization makes it particularly real (“They did it, so we can do it, too.”).
    Users won’t know all the cool things SharePoint is capable of unless you show them, so the examples will get their creative juices going.
  • 21. Tell Why, Not Just How
    Provide the “why” on using tools in SharePoint. For instance, adding metadata to documents takes time. Users need to understand how it benefits them directly(…fluff about the organization benefiting is only mildly compelling, it’s got to be about me).
    This goes back to the importance of internal case studies; being able to say (and show), “Look how easily Lisa can organize and find documents using metadata; she was able to stop wasting hours each week pulling and sorting information” is much more powerful than saying “metadata lets you organize your information better.”
    The case studies help to incentivize your users to take training. It puts them in the frame of mind of “wow, this can help me”, not “ugh, another thing to learn!”
  • 22. Stay Focused
    Some trainers try to cover everything: you will overload people. SharePoint is a huge platform, one that takes time to gain expertise in.
    Keep training delivered in bite-size, relevant, sequential chunks for easy consumption/memorization.
    Navigating SharePoint
    Uploading documents
    Create your My Site
    Start a workflow
    Change the site theme
    Site permissions
    Recycle bin
    Add a user
    Mobile access
    Add metadata
  • 23. Finally, a question that may come up in your organization is “Should training be required?”
    The answer is Yes. There are three reasons for this…
    The key to success for users is not just learning to use SharePoint, but learning to use it correctly.
    Many implementations of SharePoint suffer because users learn some basic features from a colleague or random video, but don’t get a complete education. Good practices, such as versioning and applying metadata aren’t simply…well, practiced, and content balloons out of control.
    What you’ll have in a short time is a mess of information, just like you had before SharePoint.
    1
  • 24. The second reason requiring training is recommended is then you know all users are operating on a certain level. You’ll have people who quickly outpace others in terms of ability, but at least no one will be a laggard. So if a project team creates a SharePoint site, no time is wasted getting people up to speed.
    Lastly, calls to your support team, whether in-house or outsourced, are expensive. When training is not required, users will treat your support team like a training service, requesting lots of “How to” help.
    Making sure everyone knows how to use at least common SharePoint features will cut down on these calls and save your organization money.
    (Another good training practice: teach users how to use the help desk: i.e. unless they are getting an error message, they should first check the knowledge base, then post to a discussion forum, and then contact the support team only if they still haven’t gotten help.)
    2
    3
  • 25. End User Training and Support Products
    SharePoint Strategy and Tips
    www.sharepointsupported.com
    On Twitter @SPSupported