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My Users Don't Like SharePoint Because of Me (you)!

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Categories:Adoption; General Knowledge; MOSS; WSS; 2007; 2010

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Editor's note: Contributor David Lozzi is a SharePoint Architect at Slalom Consulting. Follow him @DavidLozzi

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How many times have you come home and said to your spouse “I didn’t do my job today, I did this and that, but not my actual job.” SharePoint might be in that list of stuff that’s not on your list.

I bet your busy. We’re all busy. With emails flying around, expectations are set high. “I sent you that email 5 minutes ago, why isn’t it done?” Part of your job might be to administer your SharePoint site or farm. People think a quick fix, like adding a list, should only take a few minutes, but in reality you have a longer list of requests, and this new request has piled up on the bottom.

I don’t want to get into career advice, however there are some simple things you can do, even today, to help your pile of tasks and define your job:

  • Understand what your job is. If you have become a SharePoint admin because you showed interest, does your manager know? Talk with your manager and define your job, including the things you do with SharePoint. Get on the same page with your manager, it’ll make the rest easier. Get your job description redefined (which could lead to a raise ;).

  • As requests come in, set an expectation as soon as possible. Setting an expectation might just be “I’ll have this done by 3pm” or “I’ll look this over tomorrow morning and let you know when it’ll be done then.” Just letting someone know you received and you have a plan to take care of is all it takes. Let them reply and set the urgency, and based on the person (your manager or manager’s peer or higher) you might set a higher level of urgency.

  • Build margin into your day: giving yourself an extra hour of unplanned time allows you to plan for the unexpected. Yes, you can predict the future and plan for what you don’t know. Just give yourself the time. Like budgeting your finances, budget your time. NEVER schedule a full day, that’s crazy, and how so many people burn out. Set aside time you won’t plan to use. Oh, you’ll use it, but if you leave it open, it lets you breathe. For instance, if you work 9 hour days, plan 30 mins for lunch, and an extra hour for margin, leaving you 7.5 hours for planned, scheduled tasks, meetings, etc. If you have to, put a fake appointment into your calendar so no one can book your time. It’s not skipping out on work or doing less, it’s simply managing time to make you more effective, and less stressed.

    • For example, I have 5 tasks to do, and I’ve guessed at how long they’ll take: Task 1, 2 hours, Task 2, 2 hours, Task 3, 1 hour, Task 4, 2 hours and Task 5, 1 hour. That’s 8 hours, but since I’m only going to schedule 7.5 hours, I only expect to complete 4. I set the expectation on Task 5 that it’ll get done tomorrow. I keep myself 1 hour for margin. Task 3 takes 30 mins longer than I anticipated. No big deal, I have some room to finish it off without rushing or stressing out. When I’m done with Task 4, I realize I have about 30 minutes left today, so I start in on Task 5, giving me a head start for tomorrow. Blamo, I now have 30 mins MORE margin tomorrow.

  • Find another resource to help. Let others run their own SharePoint sites to offload you. We visited this in a previous post, but I think it’s work repeating. Don’t be the bottleneck, you can’t take the stress, let others help.

These are basic ideas, but can help tremendously. Set expectations, and give yourself some reasonable amount of time to complete them, and offload to someone else if possible. If the unexpected happens, relax, you planned for it.

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Too funny, right? “I just don’t care”. Do you? I hope that if you have been following along in my little series here, that you do in fact care, and maybe this part of the post isn’t for you. If you received this post via a shared link, maybe someone’s trying to tell you something.

I opened this series with one of three issues with SharePoint being ‘haters gonna hate‘. Not an actual issue with SharePoint, but with the people around it. I’ve worked with IT personnel who don’t want it, don’t want to work with it, will slow down our progress trying to implement it and so on. We can’t do much with these people for some reason. Are there jobs really that secure, that if they don’t properly engage a business initiative their job isn’t at risk? What a life…

If this happens to be you: you don’t care about SharePoint in your company, you drag your feet, you have ‘forgotten’ about emails regarding hardware for SharePoint, ‘accidentally’ rebooted a server in the middle of an install: stop it! Step up or step out. Stop trying, stop pretending to care, move onto a project that you do care about. Your lack of caring not only affects you, but also your work output.

I know you think your job is secure, but don’t you want to do something that means something to you? Find what matters to you, this will improve your overall satisfaction at work, and give you a reason to apply yourself more and ultimately produce better work. If you’re unhappy at work, it affects your life, everywhere. Do something about it. Let someone else in, someone who will take it and run with it in and do a better job. Seriously.

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Finally, if you do care, and you want to make SharePoint a successful solution in your organization, ask for help. Don’t be afraid. Talk with your manager and see what could be done to offload some other tasks. If that’s not possible, hit the SharePoint community. Ask questions, simple and complex, on SharePoint.StackExchange and the MSDN forums. Contact bloggers, tweet with #SPHelp, reach out and ask for help.

We’re here to help, try us!

Til next week, Happy SharePointing!

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