How to get SharePoint attention from IT and business

Go get SharePoint attentionSharePoint attention

Getting SharePoint attention can be a hard thin. This blog post is written after having an very interesting conversation with Mark Miller and Sarah Haasse. It covers a small and simple yet interesting way to promote your SharePoint solutions in your organization and get management attention.

With solution I don’t mean per definition your WSP files, but I mean a solution that enables the business to do their work on a better, more efficient way. The form it is deployed to your farm or site does not matter. It can be a wsp, but also customization in the graphical interface, a workflow, or just a simple list to track non-conformities.

How to get SharePoint attention from IT but also from the business

A good way to get SharePoint attention from management and from the business is to have testimonials.
Write down, in simple language what to business problem was, how it was solved and what the (tangible) business value is. The business value can be financial, but does not have to be. Saving time and reducing stress are also very important results that improve the Return On Investment (ROI) and increase the productivity of employees.

Depending on your corporate culture, the testimonial can have different formats. It can be a Word document, one or two PowerPoint slides, a wiki page…
Also make sure, these testimonials are visible on your Intranet or Information Center, that they can be accessed by everybody without having to click ten times.

Now, to get the SharePoint attention it doesn’t stop here. Just like user adoption, you need to actively promote these testimonials.

A first line of promotion is the IT chain. Probably IT pays your wage or invoice, so use your hierarchical line of command and don’t just stop at your line-manager. Make sure the IT management team also receives this information, either on a formal or an informal way.

The second promo-tour is the line of management of the business you helped. Ask your main stakeholder or business project owner to send the document or a link to that document if you uploaded it on the Intranet to their line of command. Make sure the business knows what you achieved and also prepare for new or extra requests.

So, don’t just stop with promoting it within IT, but also include business in it. And this is a great way to start or feed the Champions network and the SharePoint community in your organization.

Summary

  • Engage the business to write and/or assist them to write testimonials
  • Promote them within the IT line of management, but also on the Business one.
  • Prepare and get organized for new requests and possibly extra workload.

 

Top 3 best selling SharePoint 2010 books for End-users

Since is almost Christmas I decided to create a reading list to inspire people, and to have a quick overview of available reading material on SharePoint 2010 and related products. Be early this year and buy your Christmas gift (or for your partner, friend…) now! This is the first post of a TOP 3 series post and it is all about the best-selling SharePoint books for end-users and power users.

Best SharePoint book for End-User/Power user: Top  3

1. Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Plain & Simple: Learn the simplest ways to get things done with Microsoft SharePoint 2010

Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Plain & Simple end user This is a basic book about SharePoint. However, this is perfect to teach end users on what SharePoint can do and how to do some basic things. The pictures make it very friendly to read and the step-by-step is simple and to the point. If you are a SharePoint professional, you might be disappointed in this book, but everybody who needs/wants to learn more SharePoint will be happy with this book.
More details

2. How to Do Everything Microsoft SharePoint 2010

How to Do Everything Microsoft SharePoint 2010 best selling book “How to Do Everything Microsoft SharePoint 2010” is written specifically for end users who want to get the most out of their companies SharePoint 2010 implementation. The book offers a concise overview of everything that SharePoint 2010 has to offer, which is useful to new SharePoint use. It is not the best ‘How To’ resource, but definitely a valuable addition to other SharePoint books.
More details 

 

 3. Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 Step by Step

Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 best selling book “Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 Step by Step” is a solid guide for SharePoint Designer. It is straightforward, clearly written and full of very useful information about workflow, reporting and SharePoint Designer. Recommended for anyone who wants to learn about SharePoint Designer 2010 and all functionality it provides.
More details 

 

My SharePoint links from this week (weekly)

  • JavaScript tricks for SharePoint

    tags: SharePoint JavaScript

  • Many organizations are finding that leveraging the full suite of capabilities SharePoint offers requires introduction of a new requirement – that of dealing with, managing and exploiting taxonomies.  Of course taxonomies are not new, but there is some confusion about where managed metadata services and the term store end and true taxonomy management begins.  There are also some misconceptions about the process of deriving and applying taxonomies in SharePoint.  The following are five areas of confusion that we have seen in our engagements and research.

    tags: SharePoint taxonomy myths

  • You can synchronize a SharePoint library, contact list, task list, Project task list and a certain type of SharePoint external list with Microsoft Outlook 2010. Because many SharePoint 2010 users also use Outlook 2010 to collaborate and coordinate activities and projects, the ability to synchronize these libraries and lists can help you become more efficient, especially if you work offline or don’t have convenient access to your SharePoint sites all the time.

    tags: SharePoint Office Outlook

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

  • JavaScript tricks for SharePoint

    tags: SharePoint JavaScript

  • Many organizations are finding that leveraging the full suite of capabilities SharePoint offers requires introduction of a new requirement – that of dealing with, managing and exploiting taxonomies.  Of course taxonomies are not new, but there is some confusion about where managed metadata services and the term store end and true taxonomy management begins.  There are also some misconceptions about the process of deriving and applying taxonomies in SharePoint.  The following are five areas of confusion that we have seen in our engagements and research. 

    tags: SharePoint taxonomy myths

  • You can synchronize a SharePoint library, contact list, task list, Project task list and a certain type of SharePoint external list with Microsoft Outlook 2010. Because many SharePoint 2010 users also use Outlook 2010 to collaborate and coordinate activities and projects, the ability to synchronize these libraries and lists can help you become more efficient, especially if you work offline or don’t have convenient access to your SharePoint sites all the time.

    tags: SharePoint Office Outlook

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Do you really need SharePoint Site Collection Quotas?

Setting some context

Like on almost everything in life, there are different opinions on using site collection quota.

hd
In his blog post “Controlling Sites Sizes with QuotasMichal Pisarek proposes to use Site Collection Quotas and they should be one of the first things to be considered in your SharePoint Governance plan.
I do agree with him, but I also firmly disagree.

Why don’t I agree with the obsessive (IT) need to implement Site Collection Quota?

During a workshop I was delivering to the business key stakeholders for a SharePoint project (it was a workshop to gather business requirement for a SharePoint implementation) the topic of quotas presented itself. Without telling or asking anything about quota, the business representatives came up with this question. Technically it is not a question because the is no question mark in the sentence, it was more like a proposal or even a requirement.

“If our Enterprise IT strategy directs us to use SharePoint and use this tool to share files between countries and continents then we don’t need (read want) quotas.”
(They were at this moment not able to share information on file shares easily between different countries since file share servers are hosted in the office or country where the files were primarily stored)

Now, from an IT perspective this is a NO-GO because IT wants to (draconic) keep control on disk space consumption and storage capacity planning.

So my response to that was (I was also surprised of this statement, but understood exactly what they meant) asking them on how they can assure that only relevant information will be stored in their sites.
That old, outdated content will be removed. You know, people tend to start cleaning up disk space when they run out of it. And how can we make sure they will not have (too much) duplicates in their sites. And that’s for me the part where governance enters the discussion.

So what is a possible solution?

My solution is not just 1 solution. It is a combination of different solutions that can fulfill the business requirement (the need for “unlimited” disk space and freedom just like they now have on their file share) is not to use Site Collection Quota (or use a very big quota) and define content types (something you should always do on your SharePoint sites)

After defining the content types, you can configure retention policies on these content type. Just to make sure that legal documents don’t get deleted, after 2 years. And you probably don’t need to have your minutes of meetings available for 7 years in the production environment.

An extra step (and maybe a highly recommended one, although  I’m lacking real life experience with this as we speak (Jan 2012)) is that this retention policy actually moves files out of the SharePoint SQL database into another system. Like a tape or a BLOB. There are tools available on the market where you can do storage optimization and create rules that will move documents (or versions of documents) to a BLOB. So you offload these document from the underlying SQL database to alternate tiers of storage like a SAN. This will benefit the sizes and numbers of content database, but it is also a good thing for search and indexing. If you can keep the relevant content in your content databases lower, by off loading these files to BLOB, the overall performance of your database will not decrease (or decrease less) compared to when you keep all these files in the database.

Delivering Business value or loosing control over disk space capacity?

My point of view is that these solutions provide value to business users. Even though IT people will most probably freak out on the thought about not defining a quota, when you define the technical governance correctly and have the proper tools (like Docave Storage Manager from AvePoint  and Storagepoint from Metalogix) you’ll be able to provide a trustworthy solution.
Defining and configuring site collection quota requires less effort then defining  enterprise wide content types, retention policies combined with offloading the SQL server.
But I think it is worth it.

Biwug3011: SharePoint 2010 Multilingual User Interface (MUI) Deep dive

BIWUG is hosting an interesting evening on SharePoint 2010 Multilingual User Interface.

I also heard from the president of the BIWUG  that the #SharePint will be organized with actually pints :-)
So no #ShareCola or #ShareMinutemaid but actually real Belgian beer, hence a real #SharePint!

Doing a SharePoint project in a multilingual environment can be tricky. In this BIWUG session we will focus on how the new MUI (Multilingual User Interface) allows for multilingual collaboration scenarios.  We will show you how MUI and the SharePoint variations framework relate to each other.  Next to showing the out of the box features we will do a deep dive for developers explaining how to use the MUI framework in SharePoint custom solutions. The session will wrap up with some best practices and pitfalls as well as a round the table discussion to exchange ideas. 

 

<Update>

I heard there are some books that need a new owners. #bookGivaAway with special thanks to WROX.

</Update>

Agenda:

18:00-18:30 – Welcome and snacks

18:30-19:30 – SharePoint MUI – Part I  (Speakers: Andy Van Steenbergen & Joris Poelmans)
19:30-19:45 – Break
19:45:20:45 – SharePoint MUI – Part II  (Speakers: Andy Van Steenbergen & Joris Poelmans)
20:45 – … SharePint!

I hope to meet and greet you all there.
You can use the link here under to register.

Moving files with metadata and permissions to another library.

Business case:
We have a document library with files. These files all have specific files level permission. A user can only see files (s)he is allowed to see, and the permission level changes during a workflow. When the document get the status finished, a workflow will remove the contribute right for the contributors and set a read permission for these users. There are also about 30 metadata columns. Some of these columns are just status fields used in a workflow, other ones (about 22) are actual properties of this document.
The library is used to collaborate on files that have a limited time span. When the documents are finished and the responsible people have approved them, they need to be move to a archive.

There are 2 easy ways to do this. (I only discuss solutions without having access to a console on the server to execute STSADM command, nor use solutions that required Visual Studio). Besides these 2 options, you could also execute an STSADM –export of write custom code.

  1. Create a template from your library with content
  2. Create a template from your library without content and move the content using explorer view.

Method one has some restrictions and side-effects. First, the content of the library cannot be more than 10 MB. This limit is in most cases very restrictive, and therefore not the best solution. Also, you can do this only once, since every year the content will change, and you might not want the have a document library template in your template gallery for every year.
You can change the maximum value (10 MB limit) via stsadm -o setproperty -propertyname max-template-document-size –propertyvalue xxxxxx” (xxx being the size in bytes). But hen again, (power)users don’t have acess to the console, so I don’t consider this an option.
We would also have an issue with the item level security since item level security is not maintained in a template.

The second solution is in my opinion a better, more flexible and stable solution.

  1. Create a template from your library using this procedure:

Settings > Document library Settings > Save document library as template
Under the Permissions and Management > Save document library as template

Fill in File name, a Template name and a description for your template, and don’t select Include content. The Template name is the name that will appear when your want to create a document library.

That’s all for the creation of a document library template. This template will now be available when you create a new library or list and appears in the List Template Gallery at http://mySharePointSiteURL/_catalogs/lt/Forms/AllItems.aspx

  1. Create a library based on the new template

The next step is to create a new library based on the template we you created in step 1

In the Quick Launch, click on View All Site Content (or click on Site Actions/View all Site content). This will direct you to the /_layouts/viewlsts.aspx page and shows and overview of all Libraries and lists in your site.

Click create and select the templatename (the one you created in step 1).
Fill in the Name and description and other information.
Once this library is created, validate that all columns exist. (via Document Library settings)

Open the newly created library in Windows Explorer View and open the document library with the source in Explorer view

Then select the documents that you want to move, (using Shift or CTRL and click the documents) and drag them to the destination library.

That’s it.

Using filtering in the DataviewWebPart

As a result of the great interaction of the SharePoint community on twitter, I created this blog entry. 140 characters are definitely not enough to ask my questions, and Stump The panel doesn’t allow screenshot (I think). The content I provide is fictive, but the setup is real J. Please note, that the screenshots are from the test environment, and I blurred some thing due to confidentiality.

My current setup. We’re working with MOSS 2007. There is a site collection with a root site, let’s call it rootsite. Under the rootsite, there are several subsites, let’s call them subsite1, subsite2, ….
The members of subsites will only have access to their subsite. We can say that the subsite=registrant (so metadata hereunder)
In the root site I have a list. Let’s cal this list registrations. This list has several columns (metadata) Registration date,
Registrant, visible4all, material, unit,…

  • Registration deadline (date)
  • Registrant (lookup to a list called registrants)
  • visible4all (Yes/no)
  • material (single line of text)
  • unit (single line of text)
  • ,…

What would I like to have.

On a subsite, I would like to have a page with a view on the registrations list in the rootsite. The filter should be : Show items where (registrant=xxx or visible4all=Yes)
I created a dataviewwebpart to get that data. This will give me a list with all the registrations for that registrant. (I added the filter in the DVWP in the common dataview tasks) In this list I would like to use some extra filtering. For instance, I would like to filter on material, and would like to be able to filter even more , for instance on unit. (so the existing filter of the DVWP would be filtered on material, and then on that filtered data I would like to filter a unit) When I want to use the filter possibilities in the DVWP I click on DV properties (in SharePoint designer) and select Filter

This gives me a lousy implementation of the filter possibilities (click on filter, then select a filter). But entries appear multiple times in the dropdown list of that filter (for instance, when material wood is used in multiple entries in that list, it would appear multiple times in the drop down box). This results in a highly user-unfriendly way to filter data.

I installed the instantfilter from Jaap Vossers. I thought this would be a great solution, but the users say they don’t know the filter values by heart, hence they can’t use a system like this. They would really like to pick something from a dropdown box or something.

So, the actual question:

What possibilities do I have to setup a decent filter in the DVWP? A decent filter system would be something that you have by default on a document library or a list. Other solutions are also welcome. (must say, I rather new to XSLT and Jquery, but I’m a good searcher and am aware of the CTRL-C/CTRL-V keys of my keyboard J, and until now, I most questions I received coud be solved with other things than Jquery and or “copy-pastable Jquery” stuff ….

 

Suggestions are welcome in the comments, but if you need some more rich text, you can email me at . When you email me, I will do my outmost best to make an overview and create a blog post with the answers.

As a result of the great interaction of the SharePoint community on twitter, I created this blog entry. 140 characters are definitely not enough to ask my questions, and Stump The panel doesn’t allow screenshot (I think). The content I provide is fictive, but the setup is real J. Please note, that the screenshots are from the test environment, and I blurred some thing due to confidentiality.

My current setup. We’re working with MOSS 2007. There is a site collection with a root site, let’s call it rootsite. Under the rootsite, there are several subsites, let’s call them subsite1, subsite2, ….
The members of subsites will only have access to their subsite. We can say that the subsite=registrant (so metadata hereunder)
In the root site I have a list. Let’s cal this list registrations. This list has several columns (metadata) Registration date,
Registrant, visible4all, material, unit,…

  • Registration deadline (date)
  • Registrant (lookup to a list called registrants)
  • visible4all (Yes/no)
  • material (single line of text)
  • unit (single line of text)
  • ,…

What would I like to have.

On a subsite, I would like to have a page with a view on the registrations list in the rootsite. The filter should be : Show items where (registrant=xxx or visible4all=Yes)
I created a dataviewwebpart to get that data. This will give me a list with all the registrations for that registrant. (I added the filter in the DVWP in the common dataview tasks) In this list I would like to use some extra filtering. For instance, I would like to filter on material, and would like to be able to filter even more , for instance on unit. (so the existing filter of the DVWP would be filtered on material, and then on that filtered data I would like to filter a unit) When I want to use the filter possibilities in the DVWP I click on DV properties (in SharePoint designer) and select Filter

This gives me a lousy implementation of the filter possibilities (click on filter, then select a filter). But entries appear multiple times in the dropdown list of that filter (for instance, when material wood is used in multiple entries in that list, it would appear multiple times in the drop down box). This results in a highly user-unfriendly way to filter data.

I installed the instantfilter from Jaap Vossers. I thought this would be a great solution, but the users say they don’t know the filter values by heart, hence they can’t use a system like this. They would really like to pick something from a dropdown box or something.

So, the actual question:

What possibilities do I have to setup a decent filter in the DVWP? A decent filter system would be something that you have by default on a document library or a list. Other solutions are also welcome. (must say, I rather new to XSLT and Jquery, but I’m a good searcher and am awarae of the CTRL-C/CTRL-V keys of my keyboard J, and until now, I most questions I received coud be solved with other things than Jquery and or “copy-pastable Jquery” stuff ….

 

Suggestions are welcome in the comments, but if you need some more rich text, you can email me at . When you email me, I will do my outmost best to make an overview and create a blog post with the answers.

What I intend to ship in 2011.

A new year, which has already been there for about 3 weeks, now gives me the opportunity to set some goals. While you could also do this on another date, the New Year seems to be the perfect timing for New years resolutions.

I didn’t document my shipping list for 2010 so I can’t do a retrospective, but I’ll not make that mistake twice. So for all my loved ones, all people that know me, and also all readers of my blog I will have a shipping list for 2011. But it will be a SMART Shipping List. SMART stands for

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

 

 

While I know not my whole shipping list will be SMART, I’ll try to create an as SMART as possible list.

Participate more in the SharePoint Community

By creating blog posts, tweeting, present at the BIWUG. This is a continuous process and is easily measurable by the number of blog posts and presentations I delivered. I would like to present the first time at the BIWUG before the summer holiday.

Find and have more peace of mind.

While I understand and realize this is a really difficult objective, I have put it on the SSL. I would really like to have more peace of mind, and need to rebalance my work life with my family life. This will not be easy since I will participate more in the community and insist on participate more in my family life. I’ll know when I have more peace of mind when I’m more relaxed, happy in life and not too stressed. And I would like to reach this by what I will (try to) ship in 2011 Valentine’s Day.

Lose some weight and do more sport.

I would like to weight around 73 to 74 kg again (that’s about 161 lb). My current weight is around 76 kg (167.5 lb) now. To get that result I’ll eat healthier and will start running again. This year will not be a marathon-running year, but I would like to set a good time for 10 km (6.2 Miles) by September. And that good time would be around 50 minutes.

Get certified CMAS 2* diver

There is a relation with the previous objective and this one. Although you don’t need a real good condition, I see that if I look at a lot of other scuba divers, I’m pretty sure that it will help. My target date to have the certification is September, but I must assure myself that I’m a 2* worthy before summer holidays.

Read more books.

This year I would like to read 1 book every 3 weeks. I might read more, at least that’s what I hope, but I set the limit of 1 book per 3 weeks to have a achievable objective. I consider audiobooks also as a book and since commute quite a lot (about 3 times a week for 2,5 hours), this seems like an achievable target.

Do a SharePoint 2010 project.

While I’m working on a very interesting project at this time (preparing the global deployment and starting up SharePoint governance) in the chemical sector, I would like to do a SharePoint 2010 project. The timeline is very clear, it has to be this year, and I mean to start it, not to deliver it.

Get back on the GTD train, be more productive.

While I am convinced that GTD (Getting Things Done®) is a very good system to manage my actions, I fall of the train regularly. This year should be the year that I stay on board and actually become a good GTD practitioner. I’ll do my best to stay on board by rigorously do my weekly review since I discovered this is my weak point. I’ll perform the weekly review every Friday after lunch. A part of this weekly review is cleaning up inboxes, so an extra sub-objective is to achieve on a regular base #inboxzero.

 Use Bing as a default search engine.

While Google rocked for ages, Bing seems to be a good alternative. So starting this week, I am using Bing as my default search engine. I will force myself to use Bing for at least 1 month.

SharePoint Connections PreConference day

For the first time I have registered for a pre conference day. Actually I registered for the pre and post conference session.

The pre-conference workshop was delivered by Dan Holme ( and the topic was : “SharePoint Collaboration Masterclass”. It was an interesting session with a few new items for me but it definitely triggered some ideas.

Dan talked about the “administrator jumpstart”. Basically he explained which accounts you better create (actually you’ll need them) before you start installing and configuring SharePoint 2010. Also it is a best practice to use Powershell scripts to install and configure your farm(s). Especially when you have an Acceptance, Pre-Production and Production environment, by scripting the installation and configuration, you can be sure that they are installed and configured the same way. Another interesting point he mentioned, was that the Cumulative Updates are handled differently in SharePoint 2010 then in SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007). Now, when you have SharePoint server 2010 installed, you don’t need to install the CU OF SharePoint Foundation prior to the installation of the CU for SharePoint Server. So you can install the SharePoint Server CU directly. This will save some time and reboots.
Also, when you don’t configure the outgoing email settings, all the features that use this (like alerts) will not be activated on you sites.

After the first break, the subject was Creating the Collaboration Application. Interesting to hear was this advice. Don’t use (or configure) Claims Based authentication, unless you are really sure you will need/use it.
Dan also mentioned that it is a best practice to use A record in your DNS server setting and not C Names.
When creating your top level Site Collection, the Publishing Site might be a very good choice if you would like to brand your sites. (via the masterpages). The publishing site has more masterpages ‘installed’ and this would make it easier to apply some custom branding on these sites.  Oh yes, of course when you used the Publishing Site template, you will not be able to create a subsite other then another Publishing site,unless you activate these Site templates in the Look and Feel section / Page Layouts and Templates. You can access these pages via the Site Settings.
Today, there were no sacrifices done to the Demo Gods, so some of his demos didn’t work well. Like the one where Dan would show how you can adopt users by creating shortcuts in the Network Locations. But he explained it pretty good.

After Lunch Security was the topic. Claims based authentication can store extra attributes  or properties, so you can use these properties to target content . (For instance country)
Dan also told you don’t need to extend WebApplications anymore when you want to use multiple authentication providers.
Another best practice explained. To allow a user (even a visitor) to see a certain site in his or hers Mysite, you can create a new “default” group. You give this group very restricted permissions on the site, and you add ALL the site users to this group (besides the other groups like members or visitor). By doing this, these users will see the site appear in their MySite. Oh yes, small remark, this will only work with individual user rights, not when adding an Active Directory group.

Dan also gave a demonstration of the Office integration and SharePoint, but again, the demo gods weren’t our friends.

After the break, Dan talked, while you could really see him fighting his jetlag, about the Remote BLOB Storage . What I remember and noted was that the default RBS (Filestream provider) can only use local drives, and that you can also use AvePoint DocAve extender for this. A good advice was that when you use SQL backup, you should also backup your BLOB location manually. This is not needed when you use the backup procedures in Central Admin, and I presume third party tools will also tackle this.

The last topic was Managed Metadata and the Taxonomy living together with the Folksonomy. Dan also showed the metadata based views and filters.

We had a really nice chat after the session, with some additional Q&A, and then I went out to diner with Marcel Franke. Because diner took more time then I thought, I wasn’t able to attend the DIWUG session.
Arriving back at my hotel I saw Karine Bosh (MVP and also known for some of us as ‘The CAML girl’) and I sacrificed myself to go out for diner with her, although I just drank a few Grimbergen beers, but we had a really nice conversation about SharePoint, U2, Phil Collins and job satisfaction.

Why Microsoft is wrong in their SharePoint bring to market approach.

Since a few years I execute the job of SharePoint consultant. SharePoint seems to be one of the most successful product, maybe even the most successful product Microsoft has launched. Then why should a guy like me complain about that Microsoft is wrong in their bring to market? They probably earn billion$ with SharePoint. And they should, because it is a great product! But at the end of this post, in the quote you can see my worry.

During the SharePoint Evolution conference SPEVO held in April of this year, my memory was refreshed of something that was said during one of the analyst sessions in the SharePoint Conference 2009 (SPC09) in Las Vegas.
The SPEVO was actually the SharePoint Best Practices Europe Conference, but because of the launch of a new version called SharePoint 2010 there were not a lot best practices to share on SharePoint 2010. BUT the organizers of this conference really got the message I’ll talk about in this blog post. They organized a IW (Information Worker stream) In fact, they organized even 2 parallel streams. Well done Steve Smith!

During a session from Symon Garfield, he explained why 70% of all projects fail. There are several reason, like unclear requirements, scope changes. One of the main failure reasons is that a SharePoint project can’t be driven only by IT.
SharePoint is a business driven product. IT can install, deploy and support it, but it can not solely drive it toward long term success.
You also need to have a good user adoption plan, and some corporate guidelines (let’s call them governance) to make sure that when people really start using SharePoint, it doesn’t get a maze where you can’t do or find anything. If you take a look at the Microsoft Press books, about 99% of the SharePoint books are technically focused. There is a lack of business side books. (Thank you Michael Samspon for representing this 1%)

During that analyst panel session at SPC09 there was a discussion about having a third pillar next to the Developers and IT PRO’s. The name was not specified, but lets call this group Functional people, or Functionals.  For me, but also for all SharePoint projects in general, I thought that was good, no even great news.

But until now, nothing has changed. From Microsoft’s opinion you are or a developer, or an IT PRO.There is no new group. Or you write code, or you have access to Central Admin.

A good example of this are Ignite Sessions. They are organized for IT Professionals and Developers, but not for Functionals. Even with such a huge release of  SharePoint 2010, where a lot extra power is provided to PowerUsers, and it very important to have that link between Business and IT.

Or the Microsoft SharePoint 2010: Developer and IT Professional Learning Plan.

In my first conversation with Karine Bosch (a Belgian SharePoint MVP) right after a BIWUG session  we were talking about what we did in the SharePoint world. When she explained what she does I replied, “Oh, you’re a code sh|tter”, without being disrespectful. That’s good because we need SharePoint code writers I replied, (you can also read developers)  to cover non ‘Out Of The Box’ functionality , When I explained what I do, I summarized it with “I’m a document sh|tter”. And We also need them (I guess). Actually that’s also what Karine confirmed.

That’s why in my humble opinion that Microsoft is acting wrongly. Until now, they don’t provide any special documentation or support for these Functionals. Besides some sales and marketing information on how SharePoint will make your organization more productive, there is no specific information for the Functionals. They are just twilights. They act the “Build it and they will come” way.
And they should pay attention to this, because otherwise SharePoint might become one of these “Oooh darn, it’s a SharePoint” applications.

That’s also why I am so happy that guys like Michael Samspon, the author of Seamless Teamwork, a book on using SharePoint from a business perspective, Raymond Dux Sy , the author of SharePoint for Project Management: How to Create a Project Management Information System (PMIS) and Paul Culmsee take a different approach on SharePoint. I will do my best to provide useful information like these guys do in their blogs, webcasts, books, … That will be my way to contribute to the grey twilight zone that Microsoft can’t fill.

On the other hand, I must admit that I know a few, but just a few guys that are good at coding, have a good knowledge of the the Out Of The Box functionality of SharePoint and are able to talk to the business and translate their requirements to SharePoint functionality. These are the golden egg chickens…

But to conclude, what I’m trying to explain is that Microsoft, and the Microsoft partners will be judged by their clients (the business) based on the return SharePoint gives to the business, not on it’s nice technical gracefulness.

Just for the record, here are my my questions to Microsoft.

What are your intentions to this issue? (When)Are you planning to setup a functional stream?

Since a few years I execute the job of SharePoint consultant. SharePoint seems to be one of the most successful product, maybe even the most successful product Microsoft has launched. Then why should a guy like me complain about that Microsoft is wrong in their bring to market? They probably earn billion$ with SharePoint. And they should, because it is a great product! But at the end of this post, in the quote you can see my worry.

During the SharePoint Evolution conference SPEVO held in April of this year, my memory was refreshed of something that was said during one of the analyst sessions in the SharePoint Conference 2009 (SPC09) in Las Vegas.
The SPEVO was actually the SharePoint Best Practices Europe Conference, but because of the launch of a new version called SharePoint 2010 there were not a lot best practices to share on SharePoint 2010. BUT the organizers of this conference really got the message I’ll talk about in this blog post. They organized a IW (Information Worker stream) In fact, they organized even 2 parallel streams. Well done Steve Smith!

During a session from Symon Garfield, he explained why 70% of all projects fail. There are several reason, like unclear requirements, scope changes. If you take £SharePoint,  one of the main reasons is that a SharePoint project can’t be driven only by IT. SharePoint is a business driven product. IT can install, deploy and support it, but it can not solely drive it toward long term success.
You also need to have a good user adoption plan, and some corporate guidelines (let’s call them governance) to make sure that when people really start using SharePoint, it doesn’t get a maze where you can’t do or find anything. If you take a look at the Microsoft Press books, about 99% of the SharePoint books are technically focused. There is a lack of business side books. (Thank you Michael Samspon for representing this 1%)

During that analyst panel session at SPC09 there was a discussion about having a third pillar next to the Developers  and IT PRO’s. The name was not specified, but lets call this group Functional people, or Functionals.  For me, but also for all SharePoint projects in general, I thought that was good, no even great news.

But until now, nothing has changed. From Microsoft’s opinion you are or a developer, or an IT PRO.There is no new group. Or you write code, or you have access to Central Admin.

Take for example the Ignite Sessions. They are organized for IT Professionals and Developers, but not for Functionals. Even with such a huge release of  SharePoint 2010, where a lot extra power is provided to PowerUsers, and it very important to have that link between Business and IT.

Or the Microsoft SharePoint 2010: Developer and IT Professional Learning Plan.

In my first conversation with Karine Bosch (a Belgian SharePoint MVP) right after a BIWUG session  we were talking about what we did in the SharePoint world. When she explained what she does I replied, “Oh, you’re a code sh|tter”, without being disrespectful. That’s good because we need SharePoint code writers (you can also read developers)  to cover non ‘Out Of The Box’ functionality , When I explained what I do, I summarized it with “I’m a document sh|tter”. And We also need them (I guess). Actually that’s also what Karine confirmed.

That’s why (I would say) in my humble opinion that Microsoft is acting wrong. Until now, they don’t provide any special documentation or support for these Functionals.  Besides some sales and marketing information on how SharePoint will make your organization more productive, there is no specific information for the Functionals. They are just twilights.
And they should pay attention to this, because otherwise SharePoint might become one of these “Oooh darn, it’s a SharePoint” applications.

That’s also why I am so happy that guys like Michael Samspon, the author of Seamless Teamwork, a book on using SharePoint from a business perspective, Raymond Dux Sy , the author of SharePoint for Project Management: How to Create a Project Management Information System (PMIS) and Paul Culmsee take a different approach on SharePoint. I will do my best to provide useful information like these guys do in their blogs, webcasts, … That will be my way to contribute to the grey twilight zone that Microsoft can’t fill.

On the other hand, I must admit that I know a few, but just a few guys that are good at coding, have a good knowledge of the the Out Of The Box functionality of SharePoint and are able to talk to the business and translate their requirements to SharePoint functionality. These are the golden egg chickens…

But to conclude, what I’m also trying to explain is that Microsoft, and the Microsoft partners will be judged by their clients (the business) based on the return SharePoint gives to the business, not on it’s nice technical gracefulness.

 

Just for the record, here are my my questions to Microsoft.

What are your intentions to this issue? (When)Are you planning to setup a functional stream?