Make Your Technology & Digital Workplace Roadmaps More Actionable: Join Me At The SharePoint Conference

by Richard Harbridge on March 10, 2019


In this post, I want to share a couple of quick recommendations around Technology Strategy (like Office 365), Digital Workplace strategy (Intranets, Extranets, Collaboration, Meetings, etc.) and roadmaps, some resources for further reading and highlight the opportunity for us to connect at the SharePoint Conference in May this year.

Having An Actionable Roadmap Is Important!

After spending years helping customers envision, develop, and implement digital workplace strategies I have learned that the issue often isn’t motivation, interest, or even budget related, but having tactical knowledge of what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and why to do it. In other words, organizations need to have more detailed and more comprehensive roadmaps that are actionable first and foremost.

What Is A Digital Workplace Or Digital Roadmap?

So first let’s clarify what I mean by a roadmap. Roadmaps have a few consistent elements. They have typically phases, tracks/focus areas, time frames, and activities. These activities are often represented as actionable steps/things to do, projects or even programs of projects depending on how high level the roadmap is. Below is a simple sample for reference:

One of the challenges here is that many organizations think it’s more complicated than it needs to be to develop and create a roadmap for a digital workplace, an Intranet, or for some specific area of digital excellence within an organization. Most roadmaps are quite simple – they essentially are a way of visually showing recommended actions (or sets of actions). By visualizing these actions we can at a glance communicate priority, urgency/order, dependencies, estimated effort/how long things take, and more.

Why Don’t More Organizations Have Actionable Roadmaps?

Coming up with the recommended actions to go from your organization’s current state to the organizations envisioned future state or aspiration state could be difficult. This is why many organizations employ experts who work with other customers (like myself or the company I work with 2toLead), or why they look at what other organizations are doing and how they are framing their strategy.

If you aren’t sure how to write a recommendation or what the right recommendations are – then start by documenting pain points, and user needs. A skilled expert can take those needs (especially if they are specific) and map them to potential solutions (your recommendations). Anyone can elicit pain points, and user needs related to digital tools and technology – but do keep in mind that more experienced analysts may be able to get a richer understanding of these based on their technology expertise and skill set.

Below is a simple diagram of how a typical customers needs/pain points might be represented.

Getting Started On Your Own Roadmap(s)

If you want to develop your own roadmap start with thinking about the categories or areas of focus where there could be clear recommendations.

You could probably come up with a number of technology recommendations as you look at your digital workplace portfolio. What’s more, you can come up with many recommendations quite easily if you explore how Governance, Adoption, or Technology Excellence could be improved. These categories are often missed in most roadmaps as far too many focus on the technology projects and just assume adoption or governance will be considered in each project. However, this misses looking at things holistically and benefiting from some investments in these areas directly rather than always being tied to a project, and it’s associated outcomes (and budget limitations).

Coming up with recommendations is only the start though. Once you have your recommendations, you need to define the urgency. Is it immediate? Is it near term? Is it for the future? More importantly are some ‘ongoing’ recommendations where you are recommending a new motion, activity or exercise that should be recurring?

If you can frame your recommendations by category and by urgency, you have the basis for a roadmap.

Making Roadmaps More Actionable & Better Prioritized

The next step is breaking things down further, adding more detail and further exploring how urgency and the recommendation should be evaluated. In most of these break downs your goal is to achieve some measure of estimated business value and estimated complexity. If it’s hard to think of how complex or how valuable something is? Odds are it isn’t specific or broken down enough.

When you break recommendations down like this not only can you develop an actionable roadmap, but you can more easily prioritize things. As an example, by mapping out the business value and complexity scoring you can put them into a matrix like the one below to help prioritize certain recommendations first, especially if some don’t have dependencies or other things that complicate the order/priority of the recommendation itself.

Keep in mind that you can have multiple roadmaps and roadmaps focused on a specific phase, category or shorter time window than say a more program oriented roadmap that shows how these specific, targeted recommended actions connect and how they might be budgeted/managed.

Want To Know More?

Connect with me for a 1:1, Download Hundreds Of Pages Of Guidance and/or Come Join Me At The North American SharePoint Conference.

If you haven’t already taken a look at it – we have published quite a few whitepapers full of free expert guidance and advice on SharePoint and Office 365. Here are a few of them:

  • INTRANETS WITH OFFICE 365 – Explore the benefits of an Office 365 Intranet and how and when to best use Office 365 capabilities with your Intranet.
  • DRIVING ADOPTION – Explore the best approach and expert techniques for driving and improving Office 365 adoption and usage.
  • MEASURING IMPACT – Find out how to identify and measure the ROI and business value Office 365 provides with examples and advice.
  • SHAREPOINT MIGRATION – Learn how to successfully plan and execute a SharePoint migration.
  • EXTERNAL SHARING – Learn how to plan for the risks and things to consider with external sharing. Learn what you need to know about external sharing in Office 365.
  • WHEN TO USE WHAT – Maximize the value of your digital workplace. Learn how to help your users make better, more effective decisions on how they get work done.
  • OFFICE 365 RESOURCES KIT – We have shared many templates, samples, and resources. To simplify the download we have combined our Office 365 resources into a kit.

In only 2 and a half months the SharePoint Conference will be back in Las Vegas on May 21st through the 23rd (with more time if you want to join us for workshops). This event is one of two major Microsoft events in 2019 where the Microsoft product team will be announcing their roadmap updates for SharePoint and the Office 365 collaboration and content services changes that are ahead of us. This is an amazing conference with deep dive technical sessions, great networking, incredible perspectives and a significant amount of Microsoft leadership/announcements.

There will be over 150 speakers at the event and over 200 sessions. Whether your interest is in SharePoint, Office 365, Planner, Teams, Microsoft Flow, Power Apps, Yammer or more – this is a great event to block in your calendar and register to attend. You can save an additional 50$ with code HARBRIDGE. If you sign up for a workshop package, you can also bring some sweet gadgets home such as an Xbox One or a Cortana Smart Speaker! Register today at https://sharepointna.com/#!/register?utm_term=HARBRIDGE

Want To Know What I Will Be Presenting On & Talking About?

I will be presenting one session at the conference, and I will be conducting one full day workshop.

Workshop Highlight: Strategy & Success With Office 365: Practical Tools & Techniques For The Strategist, Information Architect & Analyst

I am extremely excited to share that I will be running a FULL DAY workshop based on the half day ones I have run in the past on this subject. In this full-day workshop we will have more time to cover EVEN MORE content and practices.

People are complex. Office 365 is complex. Add the two together and you get some of the most challenging, difficult, and stressful situations, especially if you are responsible for facilitating shared understanding between them.

Join me to learn about actionable techniques to improve, simplify and amplify your leadership, business analysis and information architecture efforts with Office 365. Walk away with improved confidence when dealing with business and non-technical related challenges of Office 365, and be familiarized with effective tools and techniques that make Office 365 implementations more successful.

Our topics, where we will dig into best practices will include:

  • Aligning with The Microsoft Roadmap
  • Planning & Implementing for Scale
  • Aligning with Industry Trends
  • Pro-Active Planning
  • Visualizing & Communicating Better
  • & Much More!

Session Highlight: Intranets and Digital Hubs with Office 365: What you need to know

There is a growing trend of organizations moving to “the cloud” to meet their intranet needs. While many organizations are running their Intranets “on-premise”, many are considering entirely cloud-based solutions or running them on platforms like Office 365.

The question for many companies is not ,“should our intranet be built with Office 365?” but, “how should we integrate or build our Intranets with Office 365?”. This is even more true today with the emergence of new modern Intranet capabilities and continued innovation from Microsoft that must be reconciled with enterprise Intranet/Digital Workplace needs.

In this session, I will explore what is listed below (and more):

  • How to address sprawl issues via improved, dynamic, and personalized navigation build based on OOTB capabilities and best practice design patterns.
  • How to improve governance and lifecycle with controlled provisioning, default metadata and good Information Architecture practices.
  • How analytics are changing, and search is improving and how to best ready your organization and integrate your Intranet with the considerable innovation and new capabilities in this space.
  • How to handle news, events, and page authoring and how and why to embrace modern SharePoint to support these needs.
  • Why mobile needs to take advantage of the first party apps, and how that can be done best.
  • How Yammer, Teams and modern social enterprise can and should be integrated with your Intranet.
  • How to take advantage of Microsoft Stream, Forms, PowerApps, Flow and more to improve your Intranet.

Hope this helps,
Richard 

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