This post is targeted towards the large customer and may not completely apply to medium or small organizations.  This my list of the top ten priorities that a PM should focus and consider when given this task.  This is a high level overview based upon my experience and I am sure we could detail and add more but ten is good to start.

PRIORITY ONE - As a PM you must start to develop the SharePoint Govenance Plan by using the the Microsoft Published Resource Center.  This wlll allow you to do acoomplish several key items which will make your program a sucess:

  • Protect the enterprise, such as by helping to ensure regulatory compliance.
  • Greatly increase the usability of a solution. For example, the governing body in an enterprise can define metadata requirements for all content that makes it easier to categorize and search for the content across the enterprise.
  • Increase an organization's efficiency — for example, by requiring training as a prerequisite to becoming the administrator of a SharePoint collaboration Web site. 
  • Build your Technical Team Focused upon the service and not individual old world silo based management virtualized teams for core skills
  • Establish a Service Model with Solid Service Level Agreements with the Business Unit Leaders (BULS) and a Solid Service Level Map

PRIORITY TWO - Build Your New Service Based Team.

This is going to be hard becuase you are going to have to convince your leadership that SharePoint is and should be managed with the same priority as how you manage your Exchange team and its not going to be cheep.  The first problem I see organizations run into is who manages the team.  The virtualized team doesn't seem to work IMHO becuase the individual managers don't have the same stake as you.  My advice for whats its worth is that their should be one manager focused with direct control over the following roles: SharePoint Admins, SharePoint Developers, SQL DBA, the Architect, Windows & Cluster Admins, IIS Admins, and an Office Admin.  Then their needs to be a virtualized team connected to the MOSS core team with these roles: SCOM Admin, Network Admin, SAN\Storgae Admin, Security Admin.  There are ther roles that will and could be added but tis covers the core.

This is why the Program Manager needs to be a strong leader.  A quote from John Fenton's Book describes exactly what you need:

"Managers think incrementally, whilst leaders think radically. "Managers do things right, while leaders do the right thing.". This means that managers do things by the book and follow company policy, while leaders follow their own intuition, which may in turn be of more benefit to the company. A leader is more emotional than a manager . "People are governed by their emotions rather than their intelligence". This quotation illustrates why teams choose to follow leaders.
"Leaders stand out by being different. They question assumption and are suspicious of tradition. They seek out the truth and make decisions based on fact, not prejudice. They have a preference for innovation."

I share this quote becuase it is the best statement I have found that describes exactly what type of person needs to be the Program Manager.  As the PM for SharePoint you are going to have convince your superiors of the innvovative nature of SharePoint and why they can't think of it in the traditional fashion.

What I will provide is a solid proven example of how the United States Marine Corps has taken this strategy to fact by being agile enough to build a services based unit called the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF).  MAGTFs are a balanced air-ground, combined arms task organization of Marine Corps forces under a single commander that is structured to accomplish a specific mission.which we would define in IT as a Service.  If the government can pull this off then it can certainly be implemented with even greater success by the private sector.

A good way to understand this strategy of leadership would be the following book a it applies the Marines Way to business which has more in common than you may think.The Marine Corps Way: Using Maneuver Warfare to Lead a Winning Organization







PRIORITY THREE - It's not going to be cheep, think about how much it costs to runa good Messeging Environment as its the closest comparison I can provide.

Use your Governance Plan and SLAs to drive getting what you need to meet the demands of the business.  If the budget is not there then go back to the governance plan and SLA's and ask the BULS what they want to cross off their list of requirements.  If they say nothng, then the only thing you can say is this is what the team determined we need to provide the service you asked for. If your provide less then we have to cut the service.  Where do you want to start?

PRIORITY FOUR - Plan for explosive growth

Once people see SharePoint, they will use it and accept it just like people did email in the 90's. 

  • Use x64 Hardware starting from SQL, to Application Servers (Index, PerformancePoint, Excel Server, InfoPath Server, etc), to WFE
  • Plan for the best disk subsystem you can get for SQL in terms of IOPS weather it be DAS or SAN(which should be dedicated and not shared)
  • Decide if you you will Cluster or Mirror SQL
  • Use 8GB RAM WFE on x64
  • Develop of Main Farm with Multiple Child Farms for really big organizations by planning a good Taxonomy from the start


  • Train your Admins
  • Train your Developers
  • Train your End Users (Some say 75 % of your Trainign Budget Goes here)
  • Train your Staff in Integration Troubleshooting

PRIORITY SIX - Plan and Build a Dev, Test and Production Environment that is Exactly the Same

  • You need this to test custom code
  • You need this to test hotfixes and service packs

PRIORITY SEVEN - Build Unit Tests and Conduct a Full User Acceptance Program

  • Based upon your SLAs build unit tests and require BULs to signoff on acceptance
  • Test Your environment before, during and after you Go Live

PRIORITY EIGHT - Operate & Maintain Your Environment

  • Engage Microsoft Premier Support for Yearly MOSS Risk Assessments at a minImum.  I would recommend a MOSS Risk Assemesnt after any major change or upgrade to hardware or Service Packs.
  • Do multiple Triail runs of any major upgrades such as Service Packs, Hardware Changes, as well as Storage and Network modifications.  Do enough test where you have a step by step document and can complete the upgrade in test with zero flaws. 
  • Train Your Team to Use System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) to proactively manage your environment and identify the KPIs before production.
  • When you do have a problem DO NOT FOCUS ON THE SYMPTOM.  You should FOCUS ON FINDING THE ROOT PROBLEM!
  • Ensure you have a Service Level Map, this way you know exactly what and who will be impacted by any changes made.
  • Build a documented and tested at lest quarterly DR Plan

PRIORITY NINE - Control Growth and Set Standards  

When I talk to customers, I often hear we had a lot of organic growth.  What I translate this to is our Rose Garden is full of weeds!

Define what strategies you will use to customize SharePoint.  Each has a set of pros and cons that go along with them that will

  • SharePoint Designer
  • Site Definitions
  • Template Modifications\Additions
  • Features
  • WebParts
  • Event Handlers
  • Workflows
  • etc...

PRIORITY TEN - Have Fun Becuase You Are Leading a Project That Will Impact Your Company For Years To Come With The Same End Result as Email Had in the 90s.  No Pressure:)