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Danny Ryan:Hello and welcome to the ThreeWill podcast. This is your host Danny Ryan and I’m here with Tommy Ryan. How are you doing Tommy?


Tommy Ryan:I’m doing good Danny.


Danny Ryan:Great to see you.


Tommy Ryan:Yes, it’s a Friday not a Thursday.


Danny Ryan:Not a Thursday. And you still wore fancy socks I see.


Tommy Ryan:I did. And I don’t see your socks. You said you’re going to get some fancy socks.


Danny Ryan:I wore them on Thursday, that’s what I did. I did get some for my birthday from Kailey. We picked out some pretty fancy ones.


Tommy Ryan:How do you like them?


Danny Ryan:They’re nice. It’s a little different. Used to trying to take socks and match them up with my wardrobe or match them up whatever. And now I just don’t care. Just throw theme on. It’s got all the colors. Who cares? Just wear it. But they’re fun. I like it. At least it’s a little bit of a way of relaxing and wearing something little different. It’s cool.


Let’s talk about today SharePoint Roadmaps. I guess you’re coming off of some conversations with clients about Roadmaps. What do we typically do when we’re talking … What is a SharePoint Roadmap, let’s just start with that.


Tommy Ryan:When we work with clients with do product backlogs to envision what the customer needs to do. When we look at that, that’s usually on a project by project basis. We talk about a need, we scope it out, we deliver against that, and then some day in the future we might reengage to do the next thing. A Roadmap is kind of looking out in advance and saying what is the chain of projects or chain of phases, milestones, that need to be achieved as it relates to the use of SharePoint and the organization.


Danny Ryan:Nice.


Tommy Ryan:It allows some big picture. It allows to paint what the future is going to look like and not get anxious about I want to be able to do this. Yes, we’re going to do that but that’s in the 2nd release of the features that are coming out on the Roadmap.


Danny Ryan:And probably who is doing SharePoint right? It’s sort of like my philosophy I think I heard it originally from someone from Jive Software, which is your website is never done. Your SharePoint is never done. If you’re thinking of what am I doing next an where are we? There’s always ways of getting more out of it and talking about what the future is going to look like with it.


Does this tie into, I guess you’re talking about organizationally, what are some of those objectives in the next couples of months, 2 years, and trying to fit in where SharePoint goes to those objectives?


Tommy Ryan:Definitely. This organization they’re financial based institution that has a lot of contracts, a lot of documents that tie into the assets that they manage. They have a certain way, a certain taxonomy for how they describe that type of information. They’re going from being on file shares to going to SharePoint, and they’ve tried SharePoint 3 different times. This time the 3rd or 4th time is going to be the charm.


Danny Ryan:4th time is the charm. If they would have brought us in for the 3rd time …


Tommy Ryan:It could have been done earlier.


Danny Ryan:Probably save some money too. That’d be nice.


Tommy Ryan:There’s some aggressive goals. This organization really has some bright individuals that know what they want and there’s a lot of things that they want to accomplish. There’s also a certain, I would say, timidness to saying is SharePoint going to do this? And we want to not bite off more than what we can chew. Taking a Roadmap approach and having certain releases over time versus trying to crunch that all into one project, one release, we’re allowing the organization to go after what’s the highest business value of what makes sense in terms of their adoption level of the platform and go after those things. Measure that success, come back, and go after the next thing, and have a view of what that next thing is.


With our organization we know that things change, but it’s good to have placeholders of this is where we’re going to go next. Do we have better ideas or switch those out. But at least it allows us to get a sense of what’s coming. What kind of budget do we need to accomplish those types of goal? And how far do we need to spread these things apart to allow the organization to finance it? To be able to adopt it and absorb it as an organization.


Danny Ryan:This is getting to be the time of the years where folks start, actually they’ve already started, asking for budgets cost on things for the upcoming year. And somewhat trying to evaluate projects. Where I think a place where I typically, going into the fall, do a lot of t-shirt sizing. We’re just sort of saying this sounds like it’s a 100k project or something where …


Tommy Ryan:They can make a decision.


Danny Ryan:They can make a decision. It’s just a high level rough order magnitude so that they can say well maybe this is too big of a project, or we could fit a couple of these in next year. Just so that they can start making some decisions on priority for the next year, or what they’re going to do the next year.


Tommy Ryan:Right. And this is in that same vein of they’re trying to begin with the end in mind of where they want to be and that might not be something they can accomplish in 1 year. Our Roadmap, not only does it lay out what are those time frames where things are going to get done, but it has the detail of all that backlog that fits into each of those releases, and it has corresponding budget. That way there’s a heads up and an understanding of what is the commitment to get there. This particular organization they integrated not only doing the development effort or the configuration effort of SharePoint, but also the aspects of training and ramping up the organization, and sustaining that solution in between the times that we’re building the next release.


It really is a full vision what do we need to do to be successful and not just take it from a standpoint of I need to do this type of thing inside of SharePoint and do that in a couple months and then think that SharePoint is going to be successful by just going after one project.


Danny Ryan:This seems like it’s probably, especially for larger organizations, the IT organization itself is trying to come up with a Roadmap. It’s got these different technologies or different areas that they could focus in on. Where we typically come in and is helping on the things that are SharePoint related because of our experience and background. But there’s certain organizations where that’s a key part of where they need to go, and it’s a big part of where they need to go. But in the end a lot of these estimates and projects they’re being weighted against other things that they could do as well. And they’re trying to decide do we move forward?


I was actually having conversation with someone this morning at a client site where they were this year we’re going to be focusing in on this on SharePoint, next year we have this ERP project. They’re trying to fit in these projects as far as where they go and what they can take on as an organization. It’s sort of interesting to also see it not just everybody is just doing SharePoint, but that’s 1 component of an overall IT budget and helping them make good decisions with regards to SharePoint, at least.


Tommy Ryan:Right. You’re looking at it at macro level where when we look at a product backlog for a particular project as we’re sizing things and saying this is so big, this is so big, and it’s got that shopping cart of all these features. Within that project they’re trying to decide what get done what doesn’t get done. And then when you look at it at the macro level of this is the overall project cost compared to other projects in terms of their cost, they can make that decision, what order do these things go?


Danny Ryan:It sounds like a portfolio management type problem where people are weighing one project versus another. But I think a lot of what you do in a product backlog probably could be applied to it at that level.


Tommy Ryan:Same principles.


Danny Ryan:I wonder if a lot of people are doing it if that’s what typically folks do.


Tommy Ryan:Also, sorry Dan, also that concept of estimation when we’re in this time of the year a lot of people are preparing for those budgets, we do a lot of raw estimates where got at a higher level. You might even say at the feature group level where you’re saying I need to import data, export data, I need to update my UI. We go after those types of product backlog to come up with a high level budget, which is different than a say project level budget that we’re going to get the funding, and commit to, and go after. But it’s more from a decision making standpoint. One organization we’re working with they have 3 or 4 different SharePoint migrations and we have to estimate at a high level what are those efforts so they can look at it and say do I do them all together? Or do I do them 1 after another and spread it out across a couple years.


Danny Ryan:Nice. Is doing the Roadmap with them, is that part of an engagement? Is it something we do for free? We just do it for existing clients? How does that work?


Tommy Ryan:Most of the time it’s part of an engagement. If there’s a client that’s looking to engage us to set the vision with them, to understand what they’re trying to accomplish, and lay that out in a Roadmap. It really is an analysis type engagement where we’re going through that and the Roadmap is an output of that. Also, we take the time to do a high level design type document. We’re not really big into a lot of documentation, but we find that a high level design document allows us to say we’re trying to go out this far, and so what needs to be put in place as the foundation to get there? Or what things do we need to take into consideration along the way knowing that we want to reach this ultimate goal.


That analysis engagement is going through and vetting out a lot of the early backlog, really understanding the business so we’re applying the right parts of the technology to support the business. And getting a better understanding of that organization’s maturity level of embracing the platform, so we are going after the right things at the right time. That is typically not like a traditional project estimate. It really takes a lot of commitment and time from ThreeWill and from the client. That could happen in a matter of weeks, it could go as long as a month or so.


Danny Ryan:We’ve done longer analyses like that.


Tommy Ryan:We have. It’s funny, I think our organization gets antsy with some of the times that we do these Roadmaps because we love to implement, so there is a little bit of we’re pulling back on the reigns and saying let’s take some time to really understand what this organization is trying to do. That’s a good investment. Not all customers really think in that perspective. It’s amazing. The customer that I just came from in retrospective we were talking about how did things go. It’s amazing how small that organization is and how committed and how much they went in to investing into a Roadmap, which you would think you’d see in the multi billion dollar companies. But this organization is just serious about being successful.


Danny Ryan:It sounds like they are well on their way to being a multi billion dollar. They’re making good investments it sounds like. That’s great. I know for folks who are listening, if you’re just looking to get a estimate on a project for upcoming year go to the website you’ll see free estimate. That’s something that I work with Bruce on, so if it is something we want to give you the information you need to make a decision about is this something worth going after or not. That’s something, just reach out to us and we can work together with you to come up with what that high level estimate will look like. That’s what I do often.


Anything else you want to add about Roadmaps?


Tommy Ryan:They’re pretty simple. At the end of the day it’s coming up with that high level plan of where you’re trying to go. The neat thing about going through this is we’re excited about doing these Roadmaps because we can bring in our experience of what we see people doing with SharePoint and that art of the possible. It gives you a little bit of time to dream and put some reality behind that dream versus just going in and getting 1 problem solved. Sometimes that’s the right thing to do. You’re not really in that level of wanting to go after a Roadmap.


But if you’re struggling with being successful with SharePoint, I think sometimes it means you need to step back and have that envisioning and set that Roadmap so you can paint the picture. Because a lot of success with SharePoint is not the technology it’s the communication and the role out of the vision that you’re getting everybody on the same page to say what’s the value? If you’re trying to just purely do it from technology, we see those are the ones that struggle. Where it’s just putting technology and the amount of stuff that you do. Sometimes it’s less stuff and it’s spacing it out and having the right pace.


Danny Ryan:It’s funny, when you first mentioned Roadmap I thought we were going to talk about the Microsoft 365 Roadmap and how that’s used. It gets into you call it a Roadmap, it’s just sort of a plan of what is going to be released in the future. It’s still very near term as far as what things are coming, what they’re working on, what’s coming. This is more of, as you were saying, it’s not just the technology it’s looking at more of a comprehensive look at what you’re doing.


Great. I love that we’re doing this for folks. I love that it sounds like people are getting a lot of value of what we’re doing with the Roadmap. Continue on, I’ll work with you to get some stuff definitely out on the website, more about this, and I appreciate you doing this.


Tommy Ryan:Sure. Thanks, Dan.


Danny Ryan:Thanks everybody for taking the time to listen. Have a wonderful day. Take care.


Tommy Ryan:Adios.



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