Teach a “super power user” to fish

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There’s some really great tools being rolled out to Office 365 right now. Tools like Microsoft Flow, Microsoft Forms, Power Apps, Power BI, and Modern site pages are a few of the shining stars. These tools are putting a LOT of power into Power Users’ hands. It’s a concerted move by Microsoft toward a self-serve model and should relieve some pressure off of IT teams that have traditionally been seen as a bottleneck to progress. I’m all for eliminating that.

I know “Power Users” is an over-used, ambiguous term so I feel I have to clarify its meaning for this post. It’s anyone with the Manage Lists permission on a SharePoint site who uses any of the new tools I’ve listed above (Microsoft Flow, Microsoft Forms, Power Apps, Modern site pages, …) to integrate with a list or library in SharePoint.

In Microsoft’s Tech Community post from Ignite titled Reinvent business process in SharePoint and OneDrive, it references this group of users as “super power users” and I agree with this term. In some cases, column formatter for example, these tools will require a fairly tech-savvy power user to be able to build an end-to-end solution with them.

But wait. Power Users are still going to run into the same issues that we as SharePoint professionals have been running into for years when it comes to building solutions. A key differentiation is Power Users typically don’t have the base level of understanding and troubleshooting skills required for SharePoint before diving into some of these tools.

The saying “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” definitely applies here.

It’s a stark reminder of what we all face when learning any new technology for the first time. In Information Technology, knowledge is the name of the game. Until we can arm ourselves with enough of it, we can do a lot of harm and make a lot of costly mistakes in terms of time and money in the process of figuring things out. I’ve been there and I know.

What can we do about it? Give Power Users the knowledge… teach them to fish.

Those of us who have been around SharePoint for awhile are aware of the pitfalls of some decisions simply because we’ve likely made the mistake before and have had to either spend time fixing it or we end up living with the mistake knowing we’d do it different next time. With that in mind, why not provide Power Users some helpful tips to make their experience a little bit smoother and to help them avoid some costly mistakes down the road. The tips may not prevent them from making their own mistakes (and often that’s the best way to learn anyway) however it will at least get them heading in the right direction.

To that end, I’ve started a list of posts I’ve written that I think will be helpful for Power Users starting out with some of these tools. I’ll add to it as I build more:

The tips are meant to build SharePoint literacy at the Power User level. I’ve personally shared these tips with some I’m consulting with and their light bulb moment is amazing! (Both for them and for me!)

The approach for my Tips post is to update it when I discover additional things that could benefit Power Users as they’re building out solutions. If you have additional ones I haven’t identified, let me know… I’ll update the posts to include them.

Thanks for reading.


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