Too Much Nothing

By Daniel Antion posted 03-13-2012 08:10


It never fails; we finish working on an information management solution, we talk about it, we show it off to others and we are quickly made to realize how much work remains. That’s a good thing, it means that we are making progress on the adoption front, but it’s also a little demoralizing. I started thinking about this after watching, of all things, Casablanca. The title telegraphs the part of the movie where it hit me, not the famous song, but the more upbeat tune “Knock on Wood

Who's got nothin'? We got nothin'!
How much nothin'? Too much nothin'!
Say, nothin's not an awful lot, but knock on wood!

I had three conversations last week with people who want to pursue an information management solution but who also have nothing in the way of progress to report. The sheer magnitude of what’s lying out there scares me, but I found encouragement in three quotes from those meetings:

I don’t have much of the material ready to upload into SharePoint, but if we can figure out how we’re going to store things, I’d feel better about starting.”

"We have a lot of documents, which are like data. We need to organize that into information and if we do it right, and people consume it, we might be able to create knowledge.”

We know we want to bring this stuff together in SharePoint, but we want to make sure we do it right.”

Those comments tell me that, if nothing else, we have reached the point where people are thinking before building. It also bolsters my confidence that we will get this job done, because these all sound like people who will help build these solutions. The next step for my team is to move these people a little further down the road toward having something to do.

We are starting with demonstrations. Fortunately, we are at the point where we can show all of these people something that already works that is like what they want to build. For some of them, we have analogous solutions, for others, we have to pick and choose from a number of different sites – “you need one of these, and one of these…” and so on. We don’t have so many working solutions that we can “round up the usual suspects”, but I think we have working examples of good uses of most of SharePoint’s features. That’s important because there are few things as powerful as showing someone a working solution that they can relate to. Hypothetical solutions based on bicycle companies are great, but we don’t build or sell bicycles, we insure nuclear power plants. Showing someone a document library or a list with insurance metadata, and industry terms makes all the difference. So, I might have nothin’ but I am as happy as Sam sounds at that point in the movie.

Damn, I just realized that if I was working with Nuxeo instead of SharePoint, I could legitimately end by saying “we’ll always have Paris” – oh well.

#ProjectManagement #design #Adoption #sharepoint #SharePoint