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SharePoint Blog

June 12
Your SharePoint Super Stars Program

Corny name? Absolutely. Essential for sustainable user adoption? Definitely. Call it what you want – I’ve heard “SharePoint Ninjas” (Best Buy), SharePoint Geek Squad, SharePoint Super Heroes, Intranet All-Stars … but, putting together a cohesive program to cultivate and reward your organization’s SharePoint power users is key to any user adoption methodology.

Identify: Who the heck are these people, and how to I find them?

Think Leaders. Not necessarily organization leadership, but “leaders” in the more general sense. Individuals who, in your departments, lead by example. Super Stars might not speak at every turn in a meeting – but when they speak up, everyone listens.

  • Technology gurus – If there’s a new gadget to be had, this person has it (and waited in line for it at the store!).
  • Mobile freaks – They do everything on their phone and on-the-go.
  • Self-motivated and self-educated – These people love to learn, and often go above and beyond teaching themselves about anything and everything to be better and more efficient at their job.

Find these people and invite them to join your team. It won’t hurt to tout the great rewards they will receive for active service – see below – but be sure to set clear expectations. Super Stars are expected to be knowledge leaders in their departments. Know everything about SharePoint? Hardly. Understand key SharePoint user issues and try to effect change around those issues? Definitely. Keep up-to-date on the latest SharePoint trends and features? Surely. And always lead by example.

Train: Ugh, more training?!

Not necessarily … remember, Super Stars are self-motivated and self-educated, if they have a business problem they take to Google to solve it. As administrators of our SharePoint Super Stars program we need to provide as much material to our Super Stars as possible – put the SharePoint world at their finger-tips.

  • Curriculum-based SharePoint training – There are a variety of organizations who teach on every aspect of SharePoint. Many of these organizations have specialized training to meet specific SharePoint needs. If a potential Super Star is interested, find a way to work one of these courses into his or her professional development program.
  • Online, self-directed training – Lynda.com, anyone? YouTube? There are hundreds of thousands of videos about how to do nearly anything on SharePoint on the Internet. Many of these offerings are free or can be viewed for a very nominal fee.
  • Reading TechNet – TechNet is not as “techy” as it sounds. Not only does it provide very in-depth technical details about SharePoint, but it also helps business users understand the bigger picture when it comes to SharePoint best practices and basic SharePoint configuration. A must-read for any Super Star.

Reward: You mean like a $5 Starbucks card?

Not exactly. While I am a huge proponent of the quick, easy and cheap corporate “thank you” dujour – in this case, it ain’t gonna cut it. SharePoint Super Stars are team members who are going above and beyond their described job roles to act as an advocate, assistant and expert in your SharePoint implementation. Super Stars will be asked to lead Lunch and Learn sessions, they will be asked to maintain “office hours” for on-demand support, they are the SharePoint team’s eyes-and-ears in the trenches. Shouldn’t we give them more than a gift card for their support? I’ve seen Super Stars offered a small bonus if they complete a certain number of SharePoint-based activities a year; I’ve heard of organizations giving Super Stars an extra vacation day for their service; Organizations have donated to a Super Star’s favorite charity on his or her behalf in honor of their extra effort … now these are rewards with some meaning. Super Stars generally also get a t-shirt or a mug (who doesn’t love corporate swag?), and maybe a sign on their door or cubicle to designate their “special” status.  

Super Star programs take effort to coordinate and administer, but they pay the SharePoint team in dividends. It’s nearly impossible for one team to maintain and sustain high levels of customer service when it comes to SharePoint, but a large, decentralized team of evangelists will ease the burden on the SharePoint team leaving them to focus on more critical issues of usability, technology and SharePoint management.

- Maggie Swearingen

User Experience Expert

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