Another Reason Your SharePoint Training Plan Could be Failing

There are always plenty reason why your training plan may be failing – lack of consistency, wrong content, wrong timing, wrong audience, no drivers, no long term vision … it goes on.  However, one thing we have seen over and over again, is lack of basic skills by delegates.  Companies are sending staff to SharePoint training when those staff members have got almost no understanding of their computer.

How can you expect someone to grasp and embrace a complex technology when they don’t even know the difference between Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer; when they can barely type, or save a document, or switch between windows, or open a new browser tab?  Not a week goes by where we don’t see this happening.  You simply can’t expect your staff to get SharePoint right when they don’t have the basics under the belt.

An introduction to how the PC works and basic Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook skills are really critical if you want your staff to be empowered to do their jobs with any efficiency. SharePoint training is always a high expense in a company.  Instead of throwing that money down the drain by having to retrain people over and over; make sure the people that are being sent to training have the basic skills covered.  They will then be better prepared to take on a more complex technology because they won’t have the fear of computers hanging over their heads.  Empower your people.



  1. Veronique:

    I saw that a new comment came in on this discussion (thanks Scott) so I thought I would add a new insight.

    Another reason your SharePoint Training may be failing is that you’re teaching a service, not software.

    I recently created SharePoint training videos for a client. I had a deadline to create videos to match the SharePoint implementation deadline. I did.

    But then the client kept asking for more SharePoint changes and the training videos didn’t match the evolving SharePoint installation. The client asked for “free” training video updates because the videos didn’t match the SharePoint site perfectly. The trainer (me) said no.

    SharePoint isn’t steady state software like MS-Word or MS-Excel. It’s an evolving “service” that changes over time based on planned or ad hoc user changes.

    SharePoint isn’t static, it’s dynamic. Here’s hoping that your readers will never find this email in their inbox: “The client is hoping you will re-do your training videos for free because their SharePoint site has changed.”

    Best Wishes,



  2. Richard is spot on accurate. I would like to give assessments to the staff to see what they know and where I should focus the training. Some of the foundational understanding of computing, MS Office, Windows, etc. is sorely lacking, and we often take for granted that they understand what we mean when we ask for them to click on things in our little step-by-step guides. I can’t even get them to call it the correct thing. I don’t like that they never branded it properly with this current client, which is why I have people calling it the SharePortal, SharedDrive, and “that thing you like so much.”


  3. I have to agree with the article above as well as the comments.

    Most people are “self taught” computer users and measure their skills against the skills of their peers – and hence – the “John is a power user and I’m almost as good as he is” not knowing how lowly skilled John actually is 😦

    I believe the value of Microsoft competency exams should be marketed much stronger.

    Are recruitement agencies aware of such qualifications? I doubt!

    Ever tried to include “Must have passed Microsoft Competency Exams for Word and Excel” in a job requirement spec?


  4. Veronique,

    I could write on this topic for many paragraphs with my experience as a computer training consultant for over a decade. Here are a few points.

    1) Class segmentation. When I came into an organization for enterprise wide training (training 1200 hospital staff how to use computers for example), I would ask for class segmentation into beginners and intermediates but never get my request. Companies think “one class fits all”. The beginners say the class is too fast, the intermediates say the class is too slow. It’s the usual.
    2) High expectations, low performance. Managers think their personnel are better skilled at computers than they really are. Personnel “fib” (lie is more accurate) about their skills. Nobody wants to admit they use Excel for a database bucket and couldn’t do a formula to save their life.
    3) Collaborative tool, collaborative weakness. In SharePoint, you can collaborate wonderfully as a team with your existing Microsoft MS-Office software. This is a problem when Accounting knows Excel very well, Marketing is really good at PowerPoint, and nobody really knows MS Project.

    Managers think class segmentation is “too expensive” an endeavor. None of my client companies ever took skill assessments seriously (high expectations, low performance). And you can’t collaborate successfully when component skills have been neglected due to budget cuts.

    Not being negative, this is just the world of corporate training. I smile to myself here in Chicago, IL USA local SharePoint groups gloss over the need for SharePoint 2010 to 2013 upgrade training. A migration to SharePoint 2013 cannot be successful unless the organization commits to training everyone from the janitor upwards to the CEO in the use of component software tools and collaboration.

    I guess I did write for several paragraphs 🙂


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