One more word about SharePoint. A wise man once said “a fool with a tool is still a fool”. Changing behaviour is at the heart of any organization’s effort to introduce new tools, and SharePoint is no different than any other technology in that respect. SharePoint is a medium for building a project management information system but there has to be a basic understanding of what good project communication looks like for the effort to do any good.

Recently I came across a presentation by Sadalit Van Buren about her work in documenting a SharePoint Maturity Model. To make a long story short the model provides a way for organizations adopting SharePoint to see where they are in relation to other organizations and some best practices. Intended to guide technology adoption strategy, the framework explores current practices in each of 12 areas of capability and provides as systematic way to assess use of the technology on a 5-step scale  with each step representing a higher level of standardization and optimization:

  • 100 – Initial
  • 200 – Managed
  • 300 – Defined
  • 400 – Predictable
  • 500 – Optimized

So, you may ask, what does this have to with project management? For starters, despite the promise that SharePont offers for improving communication and supporting virtual project teams, people locked in email and file shares can just as easily ignore the shiny new technology as use it. They need to see value in doing something differently. The leadership challenge rests in understanding the  gap between what people are doing and the vision for what they should be doing. If the gap is perceived as too big they might not bother at all without some help and encouragement.

Maturity models like CMM, OPM3, and (now) SPMM help managers understand the gap and set realistic goals for standardization and continuous improvement by providing benchmarks that give insight into  where a group is in their journey to develop competency. Guideposts that aid planning how (and how far) to move forward can go a long way toward successful adoption.