Effective Requirements Gathering for Search in SharePoint 2010


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"Better Search” and "Effective Search" are not requirements! Michal Pisarek, SharePoint Guru, illustrates how to execute search requirements workshops, how to map certain requirements to OOTB configuration options and how to measure the effectiveness of your search implementation.

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  • We only have half an hour and we have a lot to get throughFirst we are going to talk about why Requirements are needed for searchThen an overviewThen touch on some techniquesI wont be able to show all of the techniques that we use but I will go through a couple to give you an ideaFinally some Q and A
  • Don’t assume that simply by turning search on that you are providing users with an great search experienceThe default search scopes, metadata, results pages and refiners most probably are not going to cut it for your organizationThe only way how to know what users need, is to find out.
  • Search is seen as a ‘Quick Win’ and hence is usually left till lastThe expectation of it “just working’ is the same as making sure SharePoint is ‘installed’The process around developing search is new:Testing can be difficult since there is no right answer (problem can be wicked)Requirements gathering needs to be planned and thought out, obvious questions wont workMeasuring success can be difficult
  • Good search stems from a solid base of other elementsYou can’t have good search from crap contentYour information architecture provides the context to be able to expose relevant results to usersYour usage patterns help you understand architecture requirements and user expectationsBPM allows you to determine how, why and when people look for informationContinuous improvement makes sure your search always improveGovernance makes sure that search is up and running successfully
  • Not asking users at allAsking direct questions that users really cant answer:So what do you want search to do?What are your requirements for search?Accepting horrible requirements like seen aboveAsking end users far too technical questions:“So what scopes do you think you will need?”“What refiners would you like to see”
  • SMART is a way to ensure that your requirements are good and a good guidelineSpecific:You need something that you can actually implement, anything that you are unsure of will not do.Accepting an answer of ‘better search’ is like accepting an answer ‘of I want our branding to be of a colour’…What colour?Measureable:If you cant measure the difference something makes, either qualitatively or better yet quantitavelyAttainable:Is this technically feasible Relevant:Is this relevant to the search vision or to the userTime Bound:When should this requirement be done. Great information to roadmap on
  • Specific: order by date, more relevantMeasureable: 30 minutes per day Attainable: probablyRelevant: Yes, part of the search vision might be to decrease the time spent Time Bound: You would ask when we would need to implement this
  • This is a simple flow in gathering search requirementsCurrent State Analysis Concerns itself with understanding the current organization context to make better requirements decisionsRequirements ellicitation is where you actually gather the requirementsExpert Judgement really involves taking your business/user requirements to functional requirementsVerification ensure that you understand the requirements you users are asking for
  • VisionWhat is the role of search within the organization beyond “finding stuff”?Examples: Innovation by exposing other content, access to experts, increased compliance through surfacing legal content, search driven applicationsContentWhat type of content exists in the org?The type of content, its value will inform requirements gathering activitiesCrap content, crap searchDo you even need to search content that is accessed once per year?StakeholdersWho will you ask? What do they do? How are they involved in the success of searchPersona’sWhat are the roles that use search?Helps you ensure that your search gets maximum coverage for benefitIf an executive demands that 100k be spent implementing something for 3 people, this is your answer
  • The vision will define how you approach your requirements gathering exercisesYou need a vision to guide you in your projectA workshop is a great way to get a shared understanding amongst stakeholders about what it trying to be achieved4 simply questions about will usually do thisAt the end there should be a shared understanding in the room, multiple sessions may be necessaryThen write this out and send it to the various stakeholders and project team
  • Crap content is crap searchBut you need to understand what content AND more important HOW your users think about contentThe first thing will to be a content auditA content audit determines the sources of content, their use, who owns it, when it was used and where it resides
  • You can do this via interview or the best thing is to send out a content analysis spreadsheet and get users to fill this outYou need executive support to make sure this is done as its usually not doneAfter this is filled in then you can get further informatio
  • Lots of different ways to gather search requirements, here are 4The main thing is you need a process the you will follow with proper techniquesYou need to have your requirements gathering planned before you engage usersYou really to know what information you are trying to ellicitI am going to expand on user stories and cardsorting
  • User stories are a great way to get requirements from users in a format that is easily digestibleUser stories comes from the agile world and allows end users to express their needs in an easily understandable formatI run user story workshopsPick a range of different users depending on the requirements goals and arm them with cue cardsGet them to write their stories facilitated by me, halfway through we gather up the cards, shuffle them, give them to other users and this frequently drives other storiesNot only is the person and some goal important the “So That” is THE most important part of the user story since it gives the story contextIn the example above: “All HR Policies” – will this be a search scope? Do we have a way to identify HR related policies? Content Types or Metadata?“When their date is due” – Will this appear on the search results pages? Will this be part of the scope?
  • A way to find out how people group and think about related information is cardsortingThis is an IA exercise taken from the UX community but can have great value in searchAllows you to see what types of content you should have in scopes, how you should organize taxonomy, and how users essentially view the information in the enterpriseFor instance to determine what content should be in what scopes you can use a card sort to allow people to place content into predefined categoriesSo would a contract be in the finanical scope or in the investor relations scope for example?
  • Create cue cards with various bits of information such as types of content or even metadataTake a variety of users and get them to sort the cards into groupsThe great thing is that you get your taxonomy or scope or whatever built for youBut its really the conversations that users between each other that allows you to much better understand the organizationIt can be done in person or even online through a cardsorting tool like optimalworkshop which I loveI have done online cardsorts to determine what should go in scopes up to 500 users which is cool
  • This is where your experience comes and your translate your business/user requirements into functional requirementsThis is where you can take your tangible requirements and transform them into SharePoint configuration and ultimately solutionsCan be split into four broad categoriesGroup:Grouping information by scope or metadataRanking:How do users rank information and how can you effect thisFilter:How would your users like to filter resultsView:How would users like to view information
  • Scopes great way to segregate the index for more targetted search resultsBut you need to know how your organization thinks about information for this to be effectiveMultiple different scopes that can be implemented
  • Card sorts can tell you how users group information and maybe you want to model your scopes around thatContent analysis will give you great insights into how users think about information and how content is currently structuredMaybe you want to follow that modelPersona’s will make sure that what you are creating has value to the highest percentage of people in the organization, or alternatively maybe you need different scopes for different personas.
  • very powerful capability to present different information based on search queriesUsers searching for different types of content will obviously want to see different information presentedA great example is that if users are looking for Contracts they want to see the applicable date to make sure that it’s the latestIf the marketing department is looking for images they would want to see a thumbnail and photo specifications
  • User Stories: - Many times a ‘So That’ will contain something like ‘so that I can start processing these items when they expire’. Shouldn’t this be on search results pages?Content AnalysisIf you are going to make users enter information, at least expose it to them!Workshop Results WorkshopTake a number of scopes or popular contentAsk users what they would want to see when these results appearGet them to force rank what they would likeCommon example: Searching for pictures I want to see a thumbnail, image size and date shown.
  • As part of your requirements gathering you need to verffy that what you collected is correctVerification ensure that your requirements are correct and also helps you identify new requirementsThere are a number of ways to verify and uncover new requirements including:Impression Testing:
  • - Reporting will provide you with hard data about how successful your search solution is
  • Search reporting really is your best friend in terms of getting real feedback about what is going onIts another source of requirements that can be easily tappedWith a wide array of reports it almost makes your job too easy
  • What can you do if the business simply won’t let you ask questions or take users time away in a workshop?The How was your search web part allows users to provide feedbackSuper simple to implement and a great way to get informationEngages a wide variety of end users to provide feedback
  • Effective Requirements Gathering for Search in SharePoint 2010

    1. 1. Effective Requirements Gathering for Search in SharePoint 2010 Michal Pisarek SharePoint MVP www.sharepointanalysthq.com michalpisarek@sharepointanalysthq.com michalpisarek @michalpisarek www.surfray.com
    2. 2. Effective Requirements Gathering for Search in SharePoint 2010Agenda• Introduction• Why are requirements needed for search• Search requirements overview• Search requirements techniques• Q&A www.surfray.com
    3. 3. About Me• SharePoint MVP• Extensive work with search• Author of sharepointanalysthq.com blog• SharePoint Analyst: – Business – Technical• Love search 
    5. 5. Search Requirements Issues• Typically the last thing deployed – Lower priority because of time – Just having ANY search is seen as a win – An expectation that it just ‘works’• No process to implement – Who tests search? – Gathering requirements can be tricky – Difficult to measure success or failure adequately
    6. 6. Foundation of good search BusinessInformation Process GovernanceArchitecture Modeling Usage Continuous Patterns Improvement
    8. 8. Bad Examples
    9. 9. Good Examples • Enough detail to be able to create a Specific solution that users need right now • Can you measure the difference thisMeasureable makes? Attainable • Is this technically feasible? Relevant • Is this relevant to the search vision? • When should this requirement beTime Bound evaluated?
    10. 10. Good Example• When I search for my name I want to see the content I modified, order by date, because it takes me 30 minutes per day to find things sometimes. I work mainly on Excel files so they would be more relevant than other documents. I also need to know the type of content it is and the size of the file.
    12. 12. Search Requirements Flow Current State Analysis Requirements Verification Elicitation Expert Judgment
    13. 13. Techniques Overview• There are multiple ways to gather requirements for search• However your aim is to determine what your users need and craft a solution that meets their needs
    14. 14. Current State Analysis Current State Analysis RequirementsVerification Elicitation Vision Content Expert Judgment Stakeholders Personas
    15. 15. Vision• Workshop with stakeholders and sponsors• Answer the following: – What will role will search play in the organization? – How will we measure success? – What are the steps in the roadmap? – What are the risks?
    16. 16. Content• Understand what content the organization has• This is VERY IMPORTANT to search solution• A search solution can be no better than the content it exposes• Understand the what, why, when , who, where
    17. 17. ContentContent Type Location Owner Value UsageContracts File Share Business High High usage DevelopmentCustomer D: Drive for all None found Low – only kept Less than oneReceipts content for compliance access per month, only kept for compliance
    18. 18. Requirements Elicitation Current State Analysis RequirementsVerification Elicitation User Surveys Expert Stories Judgment Workshops or Card sorts Interviews
    19. 19. User Stories• Expresses a specific need a user has• Typical format:“As a <persona>, I want to <do something> sothat <some benefit>”Example:“As a human resources assistant, I want to findall HR related policies, so that I can review themwhen their date is due”
    20. 20. Card Sorting• Lets people group related information together• Powerful way to see how users think about information in groups• Two types: – Open: Users create categories – Closed: Pre-defined categories
    21. 21. Running a card sort• Create cue cards cards• Users sort into categories• Can be done online or in person
    22. 22. Expert Judgment • Search ScopesGroup • Metadata • Best BetsRank • Authoritative Sites • Search RefinementsFilter • Sorting Categories • Custom search results pagesView • Web Part Configuration
    23. 23. Scopes• How does your organization think about information? – Content Based: Contracts, Policies, Procedures – Task Based: New Member Account, Termination – Storage Based: C Drive, SharePoint,CRM – Time Based: Yearly Financial Cycles – Department Based: Accounting
    24. 24. Scopes Requirements Inputs• Card Sorts: Related information easily identified• Content Analysis: Allows to realize how information is structured• Persona’s: If many persona’s looking for one type of information maybe a scope is required
    25. 25. My Experience• Always have a Documents search scope implemented• Users are more comfortable with the word ‘filter’ than ‘scope’• Too many scopes can be confusing
    26. 26. Custom search results pages• What do user wants to see when search results are presented?• Easy to implement• Often tied to scopes
    27. 27. Custom Search Result Pages Inputs• User Stories: ‘So That’ can lead to insights• Content Analysis: If metadata is marked as required for content, shouldnt it be visible in search results?• Workshops: Results pages workshop
    28. 28. Verification Current State AnalysisVerification Requirements Elicitation Impression Search Expert Testing Reporting Judgment How was your User Feedback search Web Part
    29. 29. Search Reporting• Fantastic way to verify your solution is functioning correctly• Also a great way to uncover new requirements• SharePoint 2010 has a lot of great search reporting features
    30. 30. Search Reporting• Identify best bets• Identify scopes• Find popular queries
    31. 31. How was your search web part• Great way to gather feedback about search• Simple way for end users to communicate their feedback• The information can be a goldmineMore info : http://www.habaneros.com/Blog/Posts/A_best_bets_success_story.aspx
    32. 32. Q/A & Contact DetailsMichal PisarekSharePoint MVP www.sharepointanalysthq.com michalpisarek@sharepointanalysthq.com michalpisarek @michalpisarek Josh Noble Author: Pro SharePoint 2010 Search jno@surfray.com joshnoble @SurfRay www.surfray.com
    33. 33. Additional ResourcesOur SharePoint Search Video Webinars:http://surfray.com/resources/webcasts.htmlMikael Svenson – Tech and Mehttp://techmikael.blogspot.com/Michal Pisarek – SharePoint Analyst HQhttp://www.sharepointanalysthq.com/ProSharePointSearch.comhttp://www.prosharepointsearch.com/ www.surfray.com