SharePoint best practice 7/25: what roles in a SharePoint intranet dream team?

A lot of thinking needs to go into developing a SharePoint intranet, whether it’s a new site or an upgrade of an existing intranet. The knowledge and skills required is too much for one person, making it critical to put in place a ‘SharePoint dream team’. But what roles are required?

Why build a dream team?

Building your SharePoint dream team is critical. The quality of the implementation team can make all the difference between a poor deployment and a solution with high business impact. Because of the idiosyncrasies of the product it’s important to have someone with extensive SharePoint experience on board.

Your SharePoint dream team should also involve external partners and it’s very unlikely to neatly fall to one person per role. For example most implementations have more than one development resource, while other people may be responsible for more than one area. Different skills are also needed or have more emphasis at different times during the project.

The dynamic in the team is important. It’s often the case that a focused and motivated group is the ingredient that delivers truly exceptional results. However they do need to have the skills, experience and levels of resourcing to empower them to deliver those results.

Here’s how the team roles can play out.

For the most successful results from your implementation you will need to ensure that the various roles detailed in the diagram above are covered to some degree.

Some of these roles are likely to be covered within your IT team, others from the wider business. In assembling resources and team members it’s worth looking at the skills that exist around your organisation.

It’s also advisable to get a committed and visible sponsor and champion in place early, as their involvement may help to attract other team members to the project.

The sponsor needs to be able to articulate the project’s vision, as well as be prepared to put the time in to give input and also ‘unblock road-blocks’. In larger organisations sometimes, the sponsor and a more active senior management champion might not be the same individual.

The vital project manager

The overall project manager is also vital. When many stakeholders are involved, it’s best that the project manager oversees all aspects of the project, and not just the more technical side.

In practice, the intranet manager often plays some sort of project management role due to their functional knowledge. Occasionally they are the official project manager for the whole project, although without backfill for their main role, this is particularly challenging and the intranet manager may find themselves stretched.

Change management, content champions

Change management is often an area where intranet teams can draw upon wider internal resources from internal communications, marketing or training functions. Even if they are not involved as team members, they may be able to produce materials and also give a view on best practices.

Involving content champions is an opportunity to engage with different parts of the business and receive invaluable feedback. Having an effective dialogue with these individuals will help to create a group who continue to support the intranet after the project has launched, and will champion it inside their own business division.

It also goes without saying that working relationships and good communication between the team members is key. The better you work together, the better the project.

Read more

This is an excerpt from our recent Best practices for SharePoint intranets report. Obtain the report to read more about the SharePoint dream team you need, along with 24 other best practices.

James Robertson
James Robertson is the Managing Director of Step Two, the global thought leaders on intranets, headquartered in Sydney, Australia. James is the author of the best-selling books Essential intranets, Designing intranets and What every intranet team should know. He has keynoted conferences around the globe. (Follow him on Twitter or find him on Google+)