Building a SharePoint Intranet... Not So Fast

Building a SharePoint Intranet is like rubbing Aladdin's lamp…

People know it’s powerful… but they rub it before they've formulated their wish. And just like all the stories you hear, the results are funny, unless you are the one holding the lamp.


The analogy really holds true. Most organizations fail to adequately plan their SharePoint projects and so they fail. But while only about 10% of SharePoint projects (on average) are considered initially successful by their project teams, less than 1% of customers switch to a different platform.

That’s because they know the problem wasn’t SharePoint, it was the lack of planning.

While a project failure rate over 80% seems like a stunning statistic, it's not new. The situation has been exactly this for over a decade. Adequately planning a SharePoint project is the exception not the rule. Rebuilding the same project three times, is the norm.

SharePoint Adoption Requires Planning

If you'd like some evidence, just perform an Internet search on the phrase "SharePoint adoption". It's a huge issue. You'll find countless blog articles about it. That's because most SharePoint deployments consist of rolling out the software, making a bunch of middle managers "site owners", and then sitting back and watching a site collection grow into an uncoordinated, sprawling, “Wild, Wild West”. Then they wonder why none of the employees are "adopting" it. Like any town that lacks rules, structure and "Law and order", no one wants to spend time there.

Now we have SharePoint 2019. Aladdin's lamp is even more powerful (we have Genies on the ground collaborating with Genies in the cloud). Unfortunately, as the "lamp" is passed from the last project manager to the new one, the importance of planning continues to be overlooked.

The Keys To a Successful SharePoint Project

While the process of creating a successful SharePoint plan is relatively simple (establish the goals & scope, create an Intranet blueprint, create site wireframes and train the users), only about 10% are willing to invest the time it takes to follow the process that guarantees success.

A SharePoint Checklist for Project Managers

If you find yourself responsible for SharePoint project in the future there are a few simple tests for gauging the status of the project and determining how much trouble you're in.

  • Is there a well-established goal for the project? (If you don't have a goal you’ll will never know if the project was a success)

  • Is there a scope statement limiting the project? (If you don't have a scope statement you can't determine unjustified features or costs)

  • Is there a blueprint for the new site collection? (If you don't have a blueprint you'll never know when you’re “done”)

  • Are there a lot of meetings going on during the build? (With a good plan the project is assembled (quickly), and without a lot of questions)

If you want to stack the deck in your favor one of the best things you can do is to ensure that someone on the project team has previous experience with successful SharePoint projects, and that all of the team members have a common language and understanding of SharePoint.

Or you can just expect to build the project two or three times.

Want to learn more?

Click here view a video how to prevent SharePoint Project failures.


Click here to view a video about curing a failed SharePoint Project.