Building your (SharePoint) house

The following story is an example of how you might want to explain your collaboration platform based on SharePoint 2010 to your employees. It does not cover many additional features, which we train using different stories, but traditional training material as well.

In our case, simply said, we created four different templates describing digital places offered for sharing information, improving collaboration, increasing transparent communication and fostering networking. Those four single templates can be customized and brought together as one overall department digital place we like to call workplace, not following SharePoint terminology. Our main entry point to this platform is the MySite concept, which we customized completely including the latest Newsgator technology, allowing a fully personalized business network profile and collaboration cockpit.

The story

Building your SharePoint platform is nothing else than building your house. With that in your mind you might want to consider it a task which requires dedication, passion and commitment. In the end, it’s your house that you’re building, right?

“An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business to live a more leisurely life with his wife and enjoy his extended family. He would miss the paycheck each week, but he wanted to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go & asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but over time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work, his employer came to inspect the house. Then he handed the front-door key to the carpenter and said, „This is your house… my gift to you.“

The carpenter was shocked!

What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then, with a shock, we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we would do it much differently.

But, you cannot go back. You are the carpenter, and every day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Someone once said, „Life is a do-it-yourself project.“ Your attitude, and the choices you make today, help build the „house“ you will live in tomorrow. Therefore, Build wisely!“

Author unknown

5 steps to building your house

 1.       A SharePoint House is the house you want it to be. It can be small, tall, a meeting place, conference hall, library, you can leave your doors open or close them behind you whenever you like. The architect will provide you with some standard options and you may choose what best suits your needs. First of all this house will need a name. Think carefully about it, as the city map will guide all our colleagues through the new city we’re building according to the names you assign to your house. Make sure anyone who might be looking for you, your teams or your projects can easily find you. Each house may be as big or small as you want, as mentioned above. In other words, you can have all the apartments you like. And you can add or take away those apartments whenever you like, as long as you’re the house owner.

2.       We – the architects – are offering you mainly two different standard apartments. One – Project Workspace – fits your needs when you need a space to get all your project stuff done and the other one – Team Workspace – is obviously the place where you hang out with your team.

You can have a look into those apartments before you move in, we can modify them accordingly to your wishes and requirements and the best part is: No matter how long you live and work already in those apartments, you can change them and have them even closed down when a project has been concluded for example.

Additionally as we want to offer the possibility to exchange information, have conversations, find the right teams, projects and people for your daily work and even get to know experts you might have never met before, we simply left all doors open by default. Nevertheless, there might be a situation when you feel you need some more privacy. Well, that’s no problem as we can hand over as many keys as you wish to close and open your apartments whenever it suits you best.

3.       Both apartment types have a standard set of rooms we hand over once you move in. For example your team apartment includes a room for discussions, a library to store your documents, another library to store all your media files, a room to organize your events and all these rooms are connected by an open communication channel, where you can share what you do, what you think, your ideas and questions with all of your team in realtime.

The standard rooms for your project apartments have similar rooms, but additionally they include a project plan and action tracker room.  Finally you have your own war room for all your colleagues worldwide!

Again, even within your apartment you might want to close the doors of your rooms sometimes, right? Or does such a War room as the one you see above have an open door policy? All doors are open by default, but they exist. In other words, you may close them and lock them whenever you wish.  Just ask us for the keys.

Our recommendation though is to keep as much open spaces available as possible, as our vision should be “to become a true Learning Organisation, an organisation that facilitates the learning of its members and continuously transforms itself and where collaboration and the sharing of knowledge is recognized and rewarded. What this means is bringing together the different organizational views on the company – by hierarchy, by project & process and by knowledge – building this on one shared technical infrastructure and establishing a culture, which enables and fosters collaboration and the sharing of knowledge.”

4.       Now that you have your house, your apartments and your rooms, you need to keep in mind the following: Once the architect handed over the house the landlord takes full responsibility.

It will be him or her deciding how many apartments the house should have and keep the house clean at every time. Those who rented an apartment are responsible for their apartments, including their rooms. Just as in real life.

The architects will help you once you want to modify your house or your apartment. We’re here to listen and provide you the best accommodation for your daily work, as you need the best available working conditions to do your job.

5.       Almost done. Now start arranging your house and apartments as you wish. We all have the same goal – being successful as a company today AND tomorrow – but each one of us might need different tools to contribute.

Support each other on how to use these tools in the best way possible. You can do this for example by helping your new tenants to feel comfortable in your house or apartment. Show them around, explain them how to take part in all social activities taking place there. And explain them the rules they have to abide by. No noise after 10 pm 😉

As you will have many visitors passing by every day you might want to add some personal details – a nice logo – so it does not only look tidy and clean, but interesting and compelling at the same time.

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