UX Lead: Target Canada: SharePoint Run Amok

In 2011, Target was making plans to expand its operations outside the United States, into Canada. They hired Accenture to help them figure out how to make it happen. Because Avanade was created half by Accenture to serve as its technical arm and half by Microsoft, which was trying to figure out how to be a bigger part of big business at the enterprise level, a sizable SharePoint-based practice existed named Collaboration. That practice was called in to help Target create an intranet that was compliant with Canadian law and worked for Target's business needs, because they were already running SharePoint.

After some pushing and pulling to get the project staffed, I, who was supposed to be running operations for the team but had proven I could handle client engagements well when necessary, was more or less drafted to help out. Target is known for believing the design of things is important, and they were asking where their UX Lead was for this project. They wouldn't kick it off until that person showed up.

I went up for one day and did a workshop with almost 50 stakeholders. I found out there were over 200 separate SharePoint collections, which meant search wasn't going to find any content. I found out there were people who had distinct roles and only used or published some pieces of content on the intranet, and I found out what the buyers needed to make operations feasible in Canada. Oh, and everything has to be available in French and English at all times, naturally.

It was not as much time as I like to spend with a client, but it was just enough to move a stalled project forward and gain their trust.

I worked with the technical architect on the project, and a designer on my team in Buenos Aires who was a freaking genius with a master page, to come up with three designs and a navigation system that was not only role-based but learned what to present as people used it. We figured out what to do to index the content across collections - or at least make it possible without completely starting over. Oh, and it was responsive and bilingual. SharePoint. In 2011. 

Pretty sweet design and architecture, for SharePoint. 

Sadly, the last I heard, the project didn't go as well when it was outsourced to a dev team overseas. I'm not totally sure what happened -- I left Avanade shortly after that because I wanted to start working with clients and doing UX work again.