User adoption of SharePoint solutions is a challenge for many organizations (and consultants). I've done conference presentations on the topic and Michael Sampson wrote an entire book (which is excellent, by the way). I often talk about what I guess I'd call "macro" adoption strategies - larger scale, company-wide initiatives. Recently, I've been working with clients on more "micro" strategies - specific strategies for individual teams that are almost like service level agreements (SLAs) for team members.
What is in a team SLA? It's essentially the behaviors we agree to follow on our team. (For the purpose of this discussion, it's the SharePoint behaviors I'm focused on.) I've worked on many teams where these behaviors are implicit, but when users are new to SharePoint or online collaboration in general, I think it might be a good idea to make these shared behaviors more explicit - in the form of a written team Service Level Agreement. I've also worked on teams where the behaviors were explicitly defined but not written down - so not everyone followed them. Here are my suggestions, several of which are very much aspirational. I'm not sure that they are all possible at all times. But, the idea is to establish a set of shared expectations for how you want to use SharePoint to work together more effectively so that you can achieve both your project and organizational collaboration objectives. Below is an example of content that might be included in your team's SharePoint SLA.
For our project team:
I don't think that each of these items will be equally important to every team so it's important to only include the items that the people can be expected to accomplish. I would also make a point of asking everyone to acknowledge the agreement formally and even contribute items to the list - at the project kick off or during a team meeting - that way, the entire team is accountable for making sure that all of the members live up to the agreement.
I'd love some feedback from anyone who has tried something similar. Is there anything else you would add?
Update 11/17/2011: Michael Sampson suggested another much term for this shared team agreement - a "team compact." I like this term a lot so if SLA doesn't quite work for you, try "team compact" and see if that works better!
Susan Hanley is an independent consultant and president of her own firm, Susan Hanley LLC, where she specializes in helping organizations build effective portal and collaboration solutions using SharePoint as the primary platform.
She is co-author of Essential SharePoint 2010: Overview, Governance, and Planning. Read a free chapter of the book.