#spsbmore – Mark Miller talking about Missing Link between SharePoint and the End User Community

Mark Miller is the founder of EndUserSharePoint.com. This is a great resource for everything SharePoint.

New site will be NothingButSharePoint.com – due for launch in September.

– What is the existing SharePoint Landscape
– What’s Missing: The Sweet Spot
– Six Absolutely Positively Guaranteed Ways to kill productivity

 What is the existing SharePoint Landscape
Frustrations:
– On Boarding Process 
– First visit to a Doctors Office  (All Those forms!!)
– Paperwork for a new home loan (Something gets forgotten – Everything needed is not available when needed)

SharePoint has built in workflows but they can’t cope with conditional workflows

Then you resort to Sharepoint Designer to deal with those conditions.

Displaying the information:
– Basic web parts have problems. Web Parts can’t get to data in other places.
– jQuery is used in the browser to manipulate the presentation layer. e.g. how do I turn off the “Display All Site Content” link. JQuery can make those changes via a Content Editor Web Part.

Easy Tabs is another example. It re-writes all Web Parts in a Page Zone to have their own Tab.

Charts can be rendered without Excel Web Services.

These are Site Manager enhancements. They don’t require IT involvement.

The Sweet Spot

“40% of workers ignore company rules because they have developed better ways to get work done.”

The written rules don’t handle exceptions well because they are static and don’t reflect the evolving situations people face everyday.

Workflow is seen as straightforward. The real situation is that information is all over the place.

Workflow deals with sequential, simple repeatable process flows.

Business Process Management is a microscopic piece of managing a business.

SharePoint is best for Procedures. I is not ideal for process adaptability. – Derek Miers – “Finding the sweet spot”

The Missing Link

Global360 presented some solutions that integrates with SharePoint.

1. Workers Know their jobs
2. Simple workflow doesn’t mimic real world processes.
3. SharePoint is not ideal for procedures.

Six Absolutely Positively Guaranteed Ways to kill productivity

1. Repetitious Work
2. Missing or Incomplete Information
3. Dated Processes and Procedures
4. Low Morale
5. Rework / Low Quality Work
6. Lack of Expertise

So how can SharePoint Help: 
Check out these items on EndUserSharepoint.com:

– Productivity killers
– BPM Primer – People and Processes
– SharePoint and BPM – Finding the Sweet Spot

SharePoint won’t manage your business but it will help you bring the information together.
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#spsbmore Sitting in on a 2007 Intro development class at the Shareaton :)

I am at the SharePoint Saturday event in Baltimore. It is being held at the Sheraton Inner Harbor. May be we should rename it Shareaton for the day?

The first series of sessions are all focused on Sharepoint 2010 – except for a stand-in session by Mark Rackley .   Since we are unlikely to upgrade to SharePoint 2010 for 12 months or more this seemed like the best session to attend. I didn’t want to get too envious of all the new features that seem to be in the new version.

Wrapping Your Head Around the SharePoint Beast

This is a Solutions Architect and Developer oriented session.

5 stages of learning SharePoint Development:

1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

What is it?

Fileshare?
Content Management?
Workflow Engine?
Collaboration Portal?
Silver Bullet?

SharePoint is a PLATFORM

The Stack:
1. Windows Server 2003
2. IIS 6.0
3. .Net
4. WSS
5. MOSS

Terminology:

Server Farm:-   Web Front Ends, Application Servers, Database (SQL Server)

Site collections sit in Content Databases.
Lists in those sites sit in the same TABLE.

Logical Architecture and Taxonomy:
Check out the Microsoft Logical Corporate Deployment model recommendations.

Plan ahead (2 years). Think about licensing costs.

Governance: 
– Executive buy-in
– A committee with very few IT people.  but led by IT
– Document the policies.
– Set the correct level of control.
– Enforce the policies.

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Information Architecture Document is a great resource.

To be a SharePoint Developer – you have to understand it. You need to be a user.
Then you can be an Admin

Admin and Developers must work together to be effective.

The 12 Hive is the root of SharePoint.

SharePoint Designer:  Be careful. 

Solution Architects: a hybrid Admin or Developer.

jQuery – runs on the client.
SPServices check this out on codeplex (great tool – we use it)  

SharePoint Designer: 
Good things:
– Don’t have to develop on the server
– Workflows
– Develop Branding
– Data View Web Parts

Bad Things:
– Workflows
– Un-ghosting

Ugly:
– can break a site collection
– Disconnect workflows for a restore
– Maintenance be careful with working in a QA and Production environment.

In 2010 the workflows can be designed in Visio, import in to Designer then port to Visual Studio to make them portable. This is a huge improvement.

With Visual Studio – you can download a development VM from Microsoft.

If you build your own server don’t do a Basic Install of MOSS 2007. It sets some defaults you don’t want. 

STSDev (on CodePlex) or WSPBuilder
can be used to create Web Parts.

If you haven’t picked one yet then WSPBuilder may be a better choice since it appears to have an easier transition to SP2010.

Don’t copy anything to your 12 Hive (SharePoint Root) manually. Create a package. This makes it portable and will deal with replication across your farm.

Best practice is to move log files off the system drive. Place on a data drive and that can be shared with developers more easily.

Solution Packages is a best practice for developers. Create deployment scripts for Admins.

Soem useful free tools:

Fiddler – Web Debugging Proxy for performance tuning, inspect session data, etc.

check out Mark Rackley’s blog for the slides from this session: http://www.sharepointhillbilly.com

iLife’11 on August 17th – The mystery app – could it be….

According to MacRumors.com Apple is rumored to be releasing iLife’11 on August 17th with a mystery app. The iPod line up is also due for a refresh, if not at the iLife launch event then by September at the latest. At the same time iOS 4.1 Beta 3 has included the ability to use Facetime via an email address. The new iPod Touch is expected to have one or more cameras. Front and rear facing(?) so they can take part in FaceTime chats.

When you put all this together I am wondering if the Mystery App in iLife’11 is a FaceTime app. It would make sense. Rather than wait for the next Mac OS X update if they add a FaceTime App to iLife they can immediately include it in all new Macs that are shipped but can also see it adopted on existing Macs when people upgrade to iLife’11. Hopefully this will include working on older versions of Mac OS X, including on PowerPC machines.

Taking that step would rapidly create a large community of FaceTime users and also enhance the halo effect that gives one more reason for a iPhone  user with a PC to upgrade to a Mac.


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Simple and Easy – Why Twitter beats Wave

Google has thrown in the towel with Wave. Ars Technica has the details in their Post: 

Wave cancellation: Google gives up on next-gen messaging platform

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Twitter is closer to that Next-Generation Messaging Platform than Wave ever was. The heavyweight browser dependency and lack of a desktop app was a significant drawback. Even more of a death knell was the lack of accessibility from mobile clients. The reason Twitter wins as a game changing communications platform is that it is accessible from just about anywhere. Even a lowly cell phone with just SMS can interact with Twitter. A simple API enabled desktop apps, browser add-ons and mobile clients to be created. The API accessibility also meant that Twitter could be extended through links to other products – multimedia, web site links. People are continually finding ways to extend the usefulness of Twitter by integrating with other services.

I am sure the core elements of Wave will not be wasted. Elements will probably pop up in Google Me, or whatever Google calls their Facebook competitor. 

Google, just remember one thing. Don’t get caught up in the religious wars of HTML5 web-based apps. There are still many users out there that don’t have HTML5 capable systems. Openness and accessibility from multiple platforms will be an essential part of competing with Facebook. Your services need to be available where ever your users are. On whatever platform they want to access from. This was never the case with Wave. I know, I tried Wave with Safari. I would forget to load the page and get past the warning messages. I even tried creating a Fluid app so it could be a separate application. But if I couldn’t pull my feeds in to the environment then it rapidly became a novelty.

Email integration, access to and from my preferred IM platform, RSS Feeds, Easy hyperlinking and embedding. These are all the things that Son of Wave needs to deliver if Google hopes to compete with Facebook. Let me pull and push content from the places I already frequent, like my email client, my IM, my phone. Make embedding easy so I can easily get sucked in to the product. Make security integration easy while you are at it. 

Farewell Google Wave! 

You were a fascinating experiment. Google, learn the lessons well. Don’t forget your roots. Look at what has succeeded on the Internet. Simple and Easy has invariably beaten out Sophisticated and Complex. REST beating SOAP is just one example. Look how your millions of users have mastered embedding a few lines of javascript or an embedded url in order to take advantage of your products. That is the lesson that Wave ignored and it cost the product dearly in the end.