NB: I wrote and published this post originally on my old blog between 2013 and 2014 whilst still in my full-time corporate career.
Oops it happened again. In my search for my next big challenge I came across a great intranet roll-out project, only the role advertised was not for a project or change manager or lead, but as so often a SharePoint Project Manager. Not too surprisingly it lists a number of specialist technical skills as must haves, and notably not just awareness or general knowledge, but strong experience and working knowledge!
I want to ask why?
Why do I need these skills as a project manager? Or, to ask differently, what is the actual project? And what is the purpose and objectives of the project?
Is it a new company intranet, perhaps a so called social intranet, a document management solution, or is it to roll out a new content management system?
And what are the specific business objectives? Is it to roll-out a certain technology aka because of its known capabilities, or is it to meet identified business objectives, eg. to optimise specific processes and tasks.
Intranets are people systems – SharePoint is a technology.
When I look at the jobs advertised out there I must say I can’t help but feel that all too many companies still seem to make technology driven decisions when it comes to implementing intranets or other enterprise systems. In my experience this does not only lead to unmet business objectives and systems built based on system capabilities rather than users’ needs, but at a very basic level or in layman terms a technology focus means jargon and the result of which will often be resistance and fear of change. I believe that giving the project manager the title of SharePoint Project Manager is the first step towards failure.
Obviously, this does not only apply to SharePoint based projects but to any projects that focus on technology rather than the business and the people/users. The good news is, that it’s not SharePoint or the technology that decides, but it is indeed us people :) It’s up to us people/leaders how we use technology – to impose and/or misuse, or to empower and facilitate…
In my next post I will want to write more about the technical skills required (or not!) of the intranet/web project managers.
“A revolution doesn’t happen when we adopt new tools, it happens when we adopt new behaviours.” –Clay Shirky