Power users serve a very important role in your SharePoint environment. Your power user serves as the ‘SharePoint expert’ without necessarily having to be a developer, administrator, or even belong to the IT department. But how do you identify your power users? More importantly, how do you identify those who will make GREAT power users?
Your power user will need to be very comfortable as a SharePoint end user. He is comfortable creating, modifying, and customizing lists, pages, and sub sites. He understands what content types, templates, web parts, and workflows are and can create them easily. He essentially has the experience to accomplish tasks using SharePoint Designer and InfoPath Designer and toes the line right before development through Microsoft Visual Studio.
A good power user doesn’t rely on the [SharePoint Bug] administrator or developers for answers. He is driven and motivated to expand his knowledge within SharePoint. Instead of waiting around for the IT department to have the time to create a sub site with a web part page, he will do the necessary research and testing and figure it out on his own. He will test the limits of the ‘out of the box’ solutions available through SharePoint and identify how the tool can effectively be used for process improvement. You can usually tell when someone is driven in their desire to expand their SharePoint knowledge because they have ‘The Bug’ and want to literally solve every process with SharePoint. They have an awesome new hammer and every process is a nail that needs to be hammered. They have an insatiable desire to learn new ways to use the tool.
Business Process Understanding
In order to be able to efficiently create solutions that will benefit the organization through SharePoint, the power user must have a good understanding of how ‘business as usual’ works within the organization. [Business Process Modeling] Understanding how forms flow through the Human Resources department, including any personnel nuances and quirks that apply only to your specific organization, will enable the power user to identify the best way in which to carry out and hopefully improve the process in SharePoint. With proper understanding of the organization’s business process, the power user will be able to identify how to improve processes, and equally important, when a process can NOT be improved using SharePoint. This is critical to adoption as overcomplicating a process will not sell anyone on using SharePoint as a collaboration tool. Just because the tool CAN do something, it doesn’t mean it SHOULD. A great power user can identify when a process no longer needs improvement or when the process will be over complicated through.
SharePoint.SharePoint Security Understanding
Along the same lines of understanding how things work within the organization, the power user must also understand what roles personnel within the organization have. Knowing this will enable efficient management of permissions throughout the site. With a well thought-out security hierarchy within site collections and sub sites, maintenance becomes a breeze. Anyone who has ever managed permissions within SharePoint knows that all it takes is one sub site with dis-inherited permissions from the root site and unique document library permissions within it to cause a storm of permission issues. Having a clear understand of whom needs to be able to see/edit/create/delete items within the portal will ensure simple and painless security maintenance.
Perhaps the most important aspect of a great power user is that he is willing to help the rest of the end users within the organization. Not only is the power user able to create solutions within the SharePoint environment, but he is willing and able to help end users when they have questions. As I stated before, they have ‘The Bug’ and have the desire to spread their newfound love of a tool that has improved their job performance. A power user that is willing to help others but is so busy that he has no time to do so, will not help the organization. Ensure your power users have the time available to help the rest of the organization develop and expand their SharePoint skills.