The one who got away

I am answering many questions in Qoura, it usually makes me think and explore about the things I find interesting such as SharePoint.

I was asked a question on a topic that people just love to comment about. Why is Sharepoint so disliked?

OK let’s put it plain and simple, why do people hate SharePoint?


First of all let us think who those people are. To dislike a platform, a knowledge management solution or anything else the workplace “makes” you to use instead of what you are used to manage your documents or creations in the previous workplace or at home, at first, might be understandable. Later on, most of the users should be indifferent to the tool they are using and simply enjoy their work or ask for improvements when a new process, workflow, site or report is needed. However, this is not always the case with SharePoint.

Just like in My answer, I would like to divide those users who dislike or perhaps hate SharePoint so much into 3 groups:

  1. Those who tried and got burned – The product was implemented in their company not in the best way, presented as the single answer to all the questions and perhaps the version they used was 2007 or even earlier so things didn’t go smoothly.
  2. Developers – SharePoint is a product which prefers customization! Customization is something developers usually see as beneath them. so they resist it or create beautiful and sophisticated custom solutions that are so hard to upgrade.
  3. Late adopters – they want things to stay as they are and have difficulty adopting to new ways of managing their processes and documents. They simply want to get things done. SharePoint is notorious for adding new features and being constantly upgraded. This is it’s strength and weakness at the same time.

Now what have triggered this question? who dislikes SharePoint so much? the topic came out of a stack overflow survey and SharePoint was the most disliked among the sites users:

StackOverflow users usually are developers, SharePoint has not the best public relations in this group. End users are less emotional about their sharing option as long as it is implemented and explained, sometimes they even not realize it is a SharePoint solution. Developers usually dislike it. This is a “one size fits it all” product, it has less options and abilities than niche products, easier to implement and get used to and works with other familiar products. All of which makes it less appealing for the more perfectionist crowd. 😉

Now lets look at the big picture:

Most Loved, Dreaded, and Wanted Platforms Stackoverflow

Anyone can see that SharePoint is in a good company SalesForce, WordPress (where this exact blog is written and everything Windows related). So let’s look at the demographics:

The vast majority of the people participating in this survey identified themselves as web developers. (more than 72%). Even if they are holding more titles than that and are for example data analyst and a web developer, they still are the majority. SharePoint is a local intranet in it’s core. I am a web developer (when I am not too lazy to create a blog instead of using Worpress;-)) Off course we think we can do it better, plan it better and have million features we would have included if we were in charge! The developers expect need and want more and this is exactly their prerogative as the developers. They are the “one who got away” and maybe at times it is a demographic that should not be pleased, otherwise they will not improve and progress the tool. Let them go, they will come back to make it better or design something even more awesome based of the lessons learned from SharePoint.

The survey is talking about platforms, for developers who prefer less standardized and more open source solutions they can build upon such as Linux. SharePoint is all about the end user and customization on the other hand.

We still have the other 2 groups of the late adopters and the “burned once” users. For those, there are many user adoption strategies and helpful resources. One of which I would like to recommend. An excellent blog post about driving the users adoption and getting those users back.

The Excellent Joanne Klein 

O365 Adoption: Noteworthy user groups

So for all of us it is always useful to look at the story the data tells us not just the headlines.

Thanks and Happy SharePointing!