Why your users will hate Teams and what you can do about it
Over the years I have been working with SharePoint I have lost count of the number of people who tell me they hate it. This includes users on a training course, stakeholders at first meetings, family members and even people in the pub. The last one has happened multiple times and buying someone a drink can often be the best way to find out about their frustrations with SharePoint.
The Problem with SharePoint
Before we get to Teams, let’s consider why people hate SharePoint or more specifically the implementation of SharePoint they have used. That is an important distinction because when users refer to SharePoint, they do not mean the product. Instead they are referring to how they have used SharePoint, whatever version that was and however it was configured. User frustration with SharePoint can often be related to a previous job role or as part of an interaction with a customer/partner.
Users dissatisfaction with SharePoint can be caused by multiple factors. However, there is a common series of complaints I have observed including (but not limited to):
- Difficulty in finding files
- Content being out of date
- Frustratingly slow performance
- Lacks the user-friendly experience of consumer apps
While there were some functionality limitations of previous versions of SharePoint, these complaints have nothing to do with the product itself. Instead the problem is how SharePoint has been implemented with little thought to governance rules, no clear ownership model and a lack of archiving processes. Users are left frustrated because they were oversold SharePoint, had insufficient guidance on usage and instead are left with an unmanaged sprawl.
User Experience Teams
So what is different about Microsoft Teams? The simple answer is absolutely nothing, except that I predict I will meet even more people in the pub who tell me they hate it. This statement may seem odd given all the hype about Teams and the fact that some implementations of Teams are being driven by user demand. However, this is no different to the hype with SharePoint in the 2007-13 period, but instead just being on a greater scale.
The frustrations with Teams I am already hearing appear to be different from SharePoint. These frustrations include
- The sheer volume of Teams being created
- No consistency over when a Team is created
- No clarity over which Teams are active
- No one taking responsibility to archive Teams
While the specifics of the frustrations are different for Teams, the cause is once again due to implementation. There is too much hype and not enough thought about governance, ownership models, or archiving processes. Users are let loose on Teams with no clear guidance and are left with sprawl, which results in them abandoning Teams.
So to conclude (and avoid me having to buy a lot of beers) here are some straightforward things organisations need to do.
- Ignore the hype around Teams and don’t just let it loose without any governance.
- Ensure that there are processes in place to manage Ownership of Teams and associated archiving.
- Engage your users throughout the implementation and ongoing usage of Teams.
- Understand how to make Teams relevant, help users understand the functionality and also how Teams will be used in your organisation.