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Creating a Winning SharePoint Project Team

Blended project teams – combinations of internal and external resources – provide in many cases the best possible team for implementing solutions based on new technologies like SharePoint 2007. As the person responsible for a new SharePoint implementation, why would you look outside your organization to build your project team? You’d do so to fill gaps and to avoid creating holes, in short to create a team that will prepare your IT department for their future responsibilities and deliver the best possible result. You want a team that possesses:

  1. deep knowledge of the technology that has been selected for the solution,
  2. a thorough understanding of your business, processes and organizational culture,
  3. superb project management and project coordination skills, and
  4. a broad perspective regarding the solution’s position relative to
    • business needs,
    • related technologies and
    • its connection to other internal applications.

If you have a team that can deliver on all four of these points, they should produce a solution that meets your enterprise’s business needs, is technically sound, can adapt to change, and whose cost is reasonable relative to the value it provides.

If your project team has members that are external to your organization, whether they number 2 or 10, you still:

  1. must perform the due diligence necessary to secure the best external resources,
  2. can reap the many benefits of using external resources, and
  3. face significant risks if you aren’t careful in your selection.

If you take care of the first point, the second point will take care of itself. The dynamics at work on a project team and the benefits that external resources bring are the same whether those resources are few or many. It’s merely a matter of degree. As for the risks, you can mitigate them by making sure the entire project team is carefully selected for the project.

Don’t take my word for it though. Consider this conclusion from the August 1, 2000 Gartner Strategic Analysis Report entitled The Project Office: Teams, Process and Tools. The authors of the report state that Information Technology organizations that lack a strategy to blend internal and external project resources to achieve the best possible team would see costs 25% higher than those possessing such a strategy.

My view: create a blended team for your SharePoint implementation using a consultancy that focuses on SharePoint. Why? Blended teams address the inherent weaknesses commonly found in homogenous teams including these:

  • external resources will not possess the business knowledge of your enterprise necessary to create a complete solution in a timely manner;
  • external resources will lack an understanding of the organization’s culture and the organizational context of the project;
  • external resources do not possess informal contacts and relationships throughout the enterprise;
  • conversely, internal resources typically have fewer informal contacts and relationships external to the organization that are can be leveraged;
  • internal resources generally have a limited experience with respect to a new technology and how it can be applied to business needs;
  • internal resources, armed with a hammer, often see everything as a nail;
  • internal resources have an opportunity cost;

Faced with these typical weaknesses, why wouldn’t you opt to build the best possible team comprised of your best internal personnel and the best external consultants available? Why start at a disadvantage?

Related blog: Why Use a SharePoint Consultancy?

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