When I go into a new client, I immediately start watching for the subtle cues which will tell me how the project will go. I don’t have a formal checklist, but I pay attention to some things which might seem a little odd: the noise level in the office, the number of private offices vs. cubes, the way people defer (or don’t defer) to each other. To me, SharePoint, while it is obviously a technology, falls down on the subtle stuff. Do the executive share the way they want the “regular” people to share? Is the IT organization flat or overly complex? Is there a clear set of business goals? (That last one is a swamp unto itself!)
Sadalit “Sadie” Van Buren (@sadalit) has taken my not-even-back-of-the-envelope approach to dizzying new levels with her work on the SharePoint Maturity Model. I was a speaker at SharePoint Saturday Boston yesterday. (Another truly great effort by the Talbott Crowell / Pradeepa Siva / Geoff Varosky triumvirate, but I digress…) Prior to the event, Sadie sent out a mapping of all the SharePoint Saturday Boston speaker sessions to the SharePoint Maturity Model. That really made me take notice of what she was up to. Sadie had done a few posts on NothingButSharePoint.com about the model (v1 and v2), but I’d never made the time to do anything more than note they existed. I went to Sadie’s session yesterday, and now I’m hooked. I want to attach myself to these ideas in any way that might help Sadie move along.
If you are committed to maturing your SharePoint implementation, the Maturity Model can help you develop your strategic roadmap, and ultimately lead to:
–Greater business process efficiency
–A more trustworthy SharePoint environment
–Happier, more empowered users
–More time for YOU to innovate, rather than putting out fires or answering the same question over and over.
I truly believe that Sadie’s work is the next better-than-sliced-bread concept in the SharePoint world. Why, you ask? It doesn’t tell me anything about how to set up my server, you might posit. It doesn’t educate me on good coding practices or show me how to work with the 2010 sandbox. It doesn’t tell me how to work with claims. No, it doesn’t do any of that. What it does it help you to start thinking about your work around SharePoint strategically in an organized way.
If you want to understand where you are versus other SharePoint users, this model can help you in that understanding. More importantly, it can help you to understand how to move forward and “take it to the next level”. The world is littered with SharePoint efforts which are listed as successes (but aren’t), with failures that aren’t analyzed (but with just a little push might have succeeded), or are humming along but just don’t quite meet the promise of this great technology (and maybe up to $8+ of other expeditures per $1 of software costs) in which organizations have invested.
If you’re familiar with the Capability Maturity Model for software development which was developed at Carnegie Mellon, then you know the gist of the idea. What Sadie has done, though, is to take that great set of ideas and apply it directly to SharePoint. The model helps you to understand where what you are doing stacks up along eleven dimensions (see the graph below). By taking a quantitative look at yourself along those dimensions, you can see not only where you stack up against others that have gone through that same ranking effort, but what you might be able to do to improve.
I urge you to read up on the model and contribute your data to Sadie’s efforts. The more data she has, the more she can tune the model and the more valuable it will be. Give Sadie your input on what you think of the questions, metrics, and ideas, because she wants to hear them. You’re going to hear a LOT more about this model, IMO, so pay attention!
Sadie’s goals are not as megalomaniacal as I think they should be. I think she can change the way *everyone* works with SharePoint and make the world a better place for every single one of us SharePoint practitioners. I hope along the way Sadie figures out a way to prosper herself, because this is damn good thinking, and merits rewards.