Archive for December, 2009

Stop calling it SharePoint!


Too many times I hear at clients that people are building SharePoint applications. They tell their users that they are getting a SharePoint application. Users Bing (Google) SharePoint and imagine what they find. Stop, let’s think about this for a moment and change the technology to prove a point.

If we were building an application to manage inventory for a client could we say, we are building a “.NET 3.5 application, using SQL Server 2008 R1, with a web services interface to ….”, or would we say, we are building an “Inventory Management Applications”.

Which would the users get? Which makes more sense?

Then, why are we saying “We are building SharePoint applications”, we are not! We are building web sites to manage documents, we are building a web site to manage projects, we are building a web site to collaborate. And, by the way we are using SharePoint to facilitate the technology, if anyone is interested.

Gord Maric

 

Organizing my SharePoint dreams


In my last post I created a list of governance steps which should be considered and managed when deploying a SharePoint solution which were in no particular order; just written down as they came to mind.  Looking back over that list, I decided to organize those thoughts into a more formal project strategy.

Before I do that let me make sure we are on the same page. If you are creating SharePoint sites, adding lists, libraries, and customizing the SharePoint web site in any way (web page menus, SharePoint Designer, or Visual Studio), then I consider you a developer. (It does not matter that you don’t know what a semicolon or curly brace looks like).  SharePoint web development allows you to develop a web application quickly, but no matter how quickly you develop you still need to follow certain process steps. Unfortunately, I have seen too many times, IT departments feel that once SharePoint is installed the job is done. However, that is only the beginning. 

 

Here are the systems development phases, and I’ll slot my governance list into the appropriate phase, I have done some editing and tweaking of the original list.

 Initiation

  • Determine organization readiness for change

 

 Analysis

  • Site collection organization
  • User identification and authentication methods (normally active directory, but will uses authenticate from other sources)
  • LAN storage drive organization and current usage and organization (disorganization) and migration strategy
  • Web part requirements not available “in-the-box”
  • Executive involvement
  • Budget
  • External connectivity (VPN) analysis 

 

 Design

  • Site collection, library and list requirements
  • Office template, meta data/ content types requirements
  • Data Integration – policy how to integrate organization data to SharePoint
  • Policy for moving LAN network drives to SharePoint
  • Policy for when to use LAN drives vs. SharePoint
  • Firewall, VPN configuration

 

 Development

  • SharePoint server security configuration
  • SharePoint Designer customization (dashboard, data sources, workflow construction)
  • Site Template development
  • SharePoint website development 

 

 Testing

  • User acceptance, feedback
  • Firewall, VPN

 

 Implementation

  • Site collection organization communication of usage to organization
  • Doc library features  training of end users on features (check in / out, approval etc)
  • List integration / migration with the thousands of Excel lists hanging around the organization
  • Proper integration with MS Office, and training for users on how to use Office with SharePoint
  • Rollout plans for users, administrators, IT and business professionals
  • Executive involvement
  • Backup and recovery procedures and communication to users
  • Elimination of dead sites

 

Closing

  • I  don’t think there is a close for SharePoint, maybe individual web site
  • More ongoing monitoring and tweaking

 

 I wish this is a complete list, but it’s a good start that needs to be tweaked by organization and project.  At least it gives us something to toss darts at.

Thank you Maggie and Dux for your feedback and comments on the original list.

Gord Maric

Dreaming of SharePoint Governance


Setting up SharePoint and getting it running is not really that technically challenging. I know, you have database servers, firewalls, web sites, etc to setup and configure but it all works pretty well. The challenges of SharePoint installation are organization changes that will impact how members of
the organization work together. 

The SharePoint community has a term called “Governance” that means putting the guidelines, practices, procedures in place so the organization can incorporate SharePoint in their daily lives.  If properly governed, the organizational install should be as easy as the software install, but it hardly is. 

I’ve been doing lots of thinking about this, and yesterday I woke up with my head buzzing about it.  While sipping coffee and still waking up, I wrote down the thoughts I had about what governance included.  Here is list of what governance includes from my dreams (or is that nightmare?) in no particular order.

  • Site collection organization and communication of usage to organization
  • SharePoint server security configuration and clear communication between SharePoint security admin and help desk staff who normally move people in and out of an organization and manage organization groups
  • Document library usage, and proper training of end users on features (check in / out, approval etc)
  • Policy for moving LAN network drives to SharePoint
  • Policy for when to use LAN vs SharePoint
  • List integration with the thousands of Excel lists hanging around the organization and impossible to find
  • Proper integration with MS Office, and training for users on how to use Office with SharePoint
  • Rollout plans for users, administrators, IT and business professionals
  • SharePoint Development – When to use SharePoint as a platform and when to develop custom or integrated mode?
  • Data Integration – policy how to integrate organization data (from network drive, to corporate database in SharePoint
  • Policy for front end customization
  • Backup and recovery procedures and communication to users
  • Executive involvement

Too bad organizational installs do not have a “Next >” button. The list is not complete and needs some refinement, particularly when thinking about governance for a specific organization. However, it’s a good start when looking at what needs to be installed.

Gord Maric


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