As we were preparing to roll out a new SharePoint solution, one of the users asked us for some screen shots to aid in preparing procedures. I resisted this request because documenting a procedure in a rigid manner undercuts the value of SharePoint. On the other hand, some people just want to go in and get the job done. I compromised and provided some documentation for basic operations, and I am preparing training for the ways to go forward from there.
It strikes me that as we move more toward solutions on platforms that are designed to be personalized, processes can be documented, but procedures are becoming something closer to suggestions. Business activity is beginning to resemble driving; if you don’t like driving on the highway, there’s a couple of back roads that will get you to the same destination. My fear is that policymakers will lag behind developers and users in the acceptance of the features contained within the mutable platforms we are using today. In a worst case scenario, SharePoint’s flexibility could actually become a limiting factor. If we customize a solution to suit an individual or an individual department, and then they wrap a procedure around that solution, I could see the experience tainting the view of SharePoint in general.
I don’t think the answer lies in client-side scripting either. While there are great reasons to utilize client-side code, maneuvering around a restrictive IT or business department is not one of them. If organizations are delivering solutions that are out of touch with audience expectations, someone needs to start a dialog around that issue. Companies can’t control everything. If I block network access to ESPN during March Madness, all I am doing is sending people to their iPhones for the results. The same holds true for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. on a daily basis. Also, the same holds true for configuration limitations, permission restrictions and “my way or the highway” type procedures in SharePoint. If you choke SharePoint down to the point where it looks like a 90’s era fat-client system, people will go around it. Consider all the ways the average, technically adept person has today to store and share files – they don’t need you, your solution has to be something they want. #SharePoint #procedure #process