Start a User Group

Wow has it been a whirlwind end/beginning of the year! I’ve been wrapping up a large project, which means my entire organization is on SharePoint/O365 to some capacity. How cool is that!! I guess if your job depends on it.. then it’s amazing.

So with that being said it’s created quite a stir… people have been asking the following: When am I next to receive automation?… How do I become a Power User?… Who owns this item?… Can I have access to this team site?… and well this list goes on and on. To alleviate all of the madness of being only one person working on an entire enterprise system all by my lonesome (in terms of administration, architecture, development, and more) I decided to pull the trigger on starting a user group.

This process was really a spontaneous choice after sitting in on follow up meetings with departments I decided that I really as one person feasibly can’t take it all on by myself. There are so many opportunities for training that as a architect, project manager, multi-hat wearing individual I miss the ability capitalize upon. This was the moment I tossed open my Outlook, sent out an email, then started to think of catch phrases and logos.

So let’s explore what it takes to entice individuals to come to a user group meeting…

Food – What better way to entice individuals to come listen to what they may think is the most boring thing on earth… SharePoint. Instead of offering greasy options, I’m attempting the road less traveled healthy options. We already eat so poorly at work since we’re busy meeting, processing documents, and fielding phone calls why not try to make this time interesting. Since this is our kickoff meeting and it’s February I’m thinking warm, hearty, but still keeping the calories low.

Share A SharePoint Trick – Since our organization is just starting out many of our power users have been getting random one on one help with myself. This makes everyone’s user experience really different. Allotting time for these users to share information is going to be an interesting way to conduct some peer to peer education. My hopes is that this helps to build a network where we can all rely on each other.

Collaboration Game – Since I’ll be on vacation next week, I’m excited to spend a little time preparing a collaboration game in order to gauge where we have areas for improvement, possibly discover new cross departmental collaboration projects, and have some open ended discussion directed at our current environment. These tactics of requirements gathering are terrific at creating casual settings where individuals are able to open up about the topic. Meetings don’t always need to be dry and boring – check out my post about requirements gathering.

Open Floor – It’s important to have a time constructed into your meetings for an open floor discussion. I attempt to leave 15 minutes available at the end of a meeting for individuals to surface any excitement, concerns, or interests. This may be your time to gather beginning requirements for an awesome project, who knows! Now, if no one has anything to add.. it makes you look awesome by adjuring the meeting 15 minutes early! How cool is that..

What ideas to you have for user groups? What works? What doesn’t? Comment to get the conversation started!


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