No SharePoint Kung Fu is not the latest MMA craze to hit the screens, they are my two passions in life. I’ve being studying Kung Fu now for about 22 years, and SharePoint not quite as long at just 16 years, since the very early days. But there are so many similarities between the two. I was recently at the Shaolin Temple in China, training there was an amazing experience and one that I’ll never forget.
One of the masters there told me a story, about a young student and his master. The master and the student were walking through the temple, the master was asking the student why he was struggling with a new move so much and not asking for some help. The student was about to answer but then suddenly stopped walking and pointed out a turtle stuck on top of a fence post. How did the turtle get up there Master? The master turned to the student and as he helped the turtle back down to the ground, replied, it’s a bit like my journey from being a student to becoming a master, I am a bit like that turtle on the fence post. I didn’t get here all by myself!
This got me thinking about SharePoint projects. So many organisations that we come across dive in to using SharePoint without any help, or just because it can be seductively simple to install (incorrectly of course). You wouldn’t ask a beginner in martial arts to perform a demonstration with a live weapon, so why would you ask your internal IT team to set up such a powerful business platform as SharePoint without training them or giving them the right support?
In Kung Fu there is a common misconception that when you pass your Black Belt exam you’ve reached the top of the scale. This is wrong, you’ve merely covered the basics at that point and can now really start to learn. It’s often the same with a SharePoint implementation: so many times I’ve heard clients say we only now start to realise the potential of the SharePoint solution now we’ve spend a year on the project. There are no mystical or secret ways to do things with SharePoint. It is often a matter that you just need to learn what it can do and how to make it work. Combined that with a Ying Yang balance between the needs of your business and the objectives that you need to deliver and the technology available to do that, and you’re on the right path.
My point is, don’t rush in to these projects, which often become business transformation and change management projects as well, without some knowledge and some help. You might not really need to become a SharePoint Grand Master to fulfil your role, but it might certainly be handy to have one on your side!
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