Building a Successful SharePoint Project Team

Many organizations are planning to either upgrade their existing SharePoint installations or deploy SharePoint to replace their outdated file servers.  Each company’s SharePoint requirements and use cases vary.  What does it take to build a successful SharePoint Project Team?

The first step in building the right project team is to understand your SharePoint requirements and to define a strategy and plan for the deployment.  Partnering with a SharePoint Deployment Planning Services (SDPS) provider is a key part in laying the foundation for a successful SharePoint deployment.  SDPS offers customers with Microsoft Software assurance a free one-, three-, five-, ten- or fifteen-day SharePoint Upgrade Planning Service based on the customer’s  Software Assurance (SA) benefit level.

SharePoint upgrade scope varies widely based on several key criteria:

  • The number of sites
  • The number of users
  • The depth of content
  • Security requirements
  • The complexity of business process workflows
  • The level of customization performed in SharePoint
  • SharePoint versions
  • Third party web parts and features used
  • Amount of integration with other business applications
  • The infrastructure complexity (single server vs. large farm)
  • Deploying SharePoint on-premise or hosted or using SharePoint Online Internet deployment using Web Content Management Service (WCMS), a Portal and Collaboration Solution, or both

Each one of these criteria impacts the type of resources required to build a successful SharePoint Project Team.  A typical SharePoint project team will consist of:

  • Project Manager – provides leadership and structure.  Communicates with stakeholders on the plan, Sharepoint Implementation Methodology, and status of the deployment.
  • SharePoint Architect – an experienced SharePoint Architect is critical when planning and deploying SharePoint installations.  The SharePoint Architect provides both functional and technical expertise in building the blueprints for SharePoint deployment.
  • SharePoint Consultant(s) – experienced with various SharePoint migration tools and methods required to ensure seamless migrations of large, complex, and content-rich deployments.
  • SharePoint Developer(s) – the number of SharePoint Developers required will depend on the number of customizations performed in SharePoint, the number of custom web parts required, etc.
  • Sharepoint Administrator(s) – Takes care of the infrastructure requirements and handles the installation and configuration.
  • SharePoint Branding Specialist(s) – skilled user interface designers who can design and build custom SharePoint skins to match your company’s branding.
  • Business Process Analyst(s) – to gain the most benefit from SharePoint, it is important to understand the business processes which SharePoint’s collaboration and workflows will enable.

The decision on whether to perform the deployment in-house vs. outsourcing is driven by the availability of the various resources with appropriate skills and SharePoint experience within the company.  A thorough understanding of the platform capabilities is required to fully leverage the benefits of SharePoint, especially when migrating from file-based servers.  When performing a Sharepoint Upgrade, it is important to have a team experienced with proper migration methods & tools to ensure that access to critical business data contained in SharePoint environment is not disrupted.  After deployment, SharePoint environments often grow beyond the ability of the in-house resources to support.  Consider outsourcing the SharePoint administration and maintenance to experienced SharePoint partners.

In summary, when building a SharePoint project team, assess your SharePoint deployment requirements to identify the scope and diversity of skill sets required.  Ensure the team has a focus on SharePoint and is capable of performing the different roles required.  There is no substitute for experience and a proven track record for deploying SharePoint for new installations or upgrades, whether on-premise or online. If your team doesn’t have the required skills it is better to work with an experienced partner.