The second wave of sessions I attended at last week's SharePoint Conference comprised presentations by experts about best practices in and around SharePoint.
The first of these presentations was by Sue Hanley, whose work I have admired for a long time. One of her areas of expertise, and the topic of this session (SPC 248), is “Measuring the Value of SharePoint 2010 Investments.”
This presentation was about "squishy" themes like alignment and story-telling and "hard" themes like ROI and metrics (which are squishy once you understand the assumptions behind the models). There was so much usable content that it would be impossible to cover it all here, but here are some highlights:
- Measure THROUGHOUT a SharePoint initiative. Many people make the mistake of measuring success based on an up-front assessment, but measurement during the initiative is critically important in re-focusing on the target (for example, after new stakeholders are identified), assessing the trade-offs that inevitably arise during a project, and tuning the solution once stakeholders have had a chance to evaluate it.
- Don’t start without being tied to a critical business objective (“the main event, not a sideshow”), and make sure it’s a SMART objective, rather than a platitude (or as Susan called them, “motherhood” objectives that no one can be opposed to.)
- This is sometimes hard for us ex-CPA and other “quant” types to process, but ROI is only part of the story. Provide hard numbers and be able to support them, but combine them with qualitative measures, and stories that put the numbers in context. There’s quite a difference between “we increased findability of proposal documents by 40%” and the first-year associate’s testimonial about the proposal that wouldn’t have gone out without the portal that helped her connect to both the best artifacts from past bids and also the experts responsible for them.
- Differentiate between system metrics (e.g., page views, number of documents indexed) and business metrics (hours per week to execute a process) and incorporate both into the measurement of your solution’s success.