Archive for the ‘Reference’ category

Canadian SharePoint User Groups Galore

November 20, 2009

There are more than a bazillion posts now out there about SharePoint and Office 2010. Yes I counted them. So I will just reference this address and tell you to visit it and get the beta’s and have fun: http://www.microsoft.com/2010/en/.

A whole slew of things are going on that are also exciting. In Canada we have two new user groups for SharePoint.

There is the Mississauga SharePoint User Group (http://www.mspug.ca) and the Calgary SharePoint User Group (http://www.calspug.com).

Let’s not forget the other great SharePoint User Groups in Canada in fact here is a list of all of them!

  1. Toronto SharePoint User Group – http://www.tspug.com/
  2. Mississauga SharePoint User Group – http://www.mspug.ca/
  3. Calgary SharePoint User Group – http://www.calspug.com/
  4. Quebec SharePoint User Group – http://www.sharepointquebec.org/
  5. Ottawa SharePoint User Group – http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/sharepoint/worldwide/ca/ottawa/
  6. Vancouver SharePoint User Group – http://www.vanspug.com/
  7. Victoria SharePoint User Group – http://www.vsharepoint.com/
  8. Winnipeg SharePoint User Group – http://www.sharepointgroups.org/wsug/

P.S – Microsoft please update your website here: http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/sharepointcanada/Community/Pages/default.aspx

Hope this helps someone and GET INVOLVED the SharePoint community is awesome!
Richard Harbridge

Get the Productivity Hub for SharePoint

September 16, 2009

So over the past while I have been raving about how happy Microsoft has made me with their announcement for continued support/updates to the productivity hub. Well I realized I hadn’t even mentioned it on my blog here.

So now I am.

This is a bit of old news, but in case you haven’t heard about it…

The Productivity Hub is a Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 site collection that offers training materials for end-users. It has blogs, discussion groups, a coach ‘program’ (listing of coaches you can define and extend), change management (to reduce load on IT staff) and tons of great starting content for a powerful SharePoint and Office help center.

Download it here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=277fefca-d62f-41bc-943d-79002254cfee&displaylang=en

Why is this so good?

  1. The obvious one is that this reduces cost and overhead related to training. It acts as a tool for training departments and IT.
  2. Not just one way to learn. Since the content can be video, documents, coached training, forums, blogs and more it means you have many learning paths available for individuals.
  3. Drives adoption. The coach concept and if you properly highlight the productivity hub with featured material, or roll up a tip/trick each week on your intranet homepage with a reference to the productivity hub you can begin to imagine how it can help improve shared understanding and overall user adoption of SharePoint.
  4. The content updates for the hub (more released on a schedule like this: Aug 2009, November 2009, February 2010, May 2010 etc) will add more and more great documents, videos and help for end users without you having to do any discovery on your own. You simple download and run the content updates. You can review the content each time to ensure it falls in line with your solution, customizations, and objectives but it can save you tons of time.
  5. It provides a framework/starting point for a great knowledge sharing/community solution. If you have never played with/experimented with PKS, or built knowledge sharing areas this is a good example of some important features/techniques. There is a built in feature listing/functionality where certain material can be featured. It has a rating system to help ensure the community moderates and promotes the best content, it runs in SharePoint so you can control and customize the permissions to your hearts content, and so on and so forth.

Ian over at at wssdemo.com has done a wonderful thing and installed/made this available here: http://templates.wssdemo.com/sites/productivity/Pages/Default.aspx

Brief note here for Administrators: It is intensive on the SQL side on install so make sure to do this in off hours or plan accordingly.

I was a bit excited in writing this, but I really am excited and hope you are as well,
Richard Harbridge

P.S – As a social media aside: http://www.slideshare.net/sachac/smarter-work-why-social-networks-matter is a slide show on “Smarter Work and Why Social Networks Matter” from Sacha that is a fantastic, short, and simple explanation of why things like this matter. In our case this is a community building toolset (productivity hub) and will help boost adoption. :)

SharePoint Keyboard Shortcuts

September 11, 2009

One of those things I often see people surprised by, or forgetting about is the usefulness of keyboard shortcuts when working with applications. It can save you time by removing the need to navigate menu’s, and scroll the mouse all around the page. Often the only way you can cause certain behavior is by using key combination’s on your keyboard. So it’s always good to know what keyboard shortcuts exist and how they can be used with the application you are using.

SharePoint has lots of GREAT key combination’s you can use to save you time and energy and Microsoft has done a great job of listing them all.

Keyboard Shortcuts for WSS: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointtechnology/HA101756491033.aspx

Keyboard Shortcuts for MOSS: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointserver/HA101733621033.aspx

Be sure to review the Rich Text Editor and Rich Text Editor of the Content Editor Web Part as many people don’t realize the difference between hitting Enter and Shift + Enter.

It’s also a good idea to remember your browser has it’s own shortcuts that you can use for navigating pages, content, magnification, printing, and more.

Here are some simple examples:

  1. You can enlarge the text on any Web page by pressing Ctrl and the plus or minus keys (for bigger or smaller fonts).
  2. You can also enlarge the entire Web page by pressing the Ctrl key as you turn the wheel on top of your mouse.
  3. You can tap the Space bar to scroll down on a Web page one screenful. Add the Shift key to scroll back up.
  4. If you hit the Ctrl and Home key on your keyboard you will immediately be taken to the top of the web page, document, or email.
  5. Hitting the Ctrl and End key on your keyboard at the same time will take you immediately to the bottom or end of a web page, document, or email.

Hope this helps someone save time,
Richard Harbridge

Site Managers (Expectations, Roles and Responsibilities)

August 12, 2009

Just linking to a guest post I did for End User SharePoint: http://www.endusersharepoint.com/?p=1881

Here is the opening from the article:

A challenge with SharePoint for site managers, site administrators, or site owners is understanding their own role, it’s responsibilities, and what expectations come with being a ‘site owner, manager, or administrator’.

Before I go into what you can do from a Governance perspective, and related challenges I would like to use a quote from Mark Miller (from this article on user adoption and the success of this site ) that I think perfectly summarizes the ‘job’ of a site manager.

“Your job as a site manager isn’t to provide all the content for your site. Your job is to take care of and nurture those that will.” – Mark Miller

I would love to hear any feedback anyone has. So don’t hesitate to talk to me on twitter, comment here or on EUSP, or via carrier pigeon.

Hope this helps,
Richard Harbridge

Closing (or X’ing) is not Deleting Webparts

August 4, 2009

SharePoint WebPart pages often have ‘Closed’ WebParts being loaded everytime the page loads because the page editor may have incorrectly ‘closed’ a WebPart rather than ‘deleting’ the WebPart. (Or never removes it after closing it.)
close

Everyone who works with SharePoint sees and most likely runs into this (often :().
This is by no means ‘new’. In fact it’s been around since back in the 2003 days and here are a couple good posts that already exist on it:

The point being you can easily fix this for all your pages by adding the ?contents=1 to each page and managing it that way (see linked articles above for description of how this works, or my previous post: http://sharepointkb.wordpress.com/2008/07/25/sharepoint-webpart-error/) or you can add each closed webpart individually (using the advanced webpart pane). The why this is a good thing is pretty straight forward, it provides you with a way to restore webparts just in case you didn’t mean to ‘remove’ them from the page.

The why you should go through ALL of your landing pages, home pages, or often updated pages and do this ‘clean up’ work *regularly* (until it’s no longer an issue) is because it still retrieves these webparts (and all their lovely properties) when it loads the page, it just doesn’t render them to the end user. This makes for much slower response rates and can be easily improved.

So seriously, if you read this and haven’t checked how many closed webparts are on your pages (in the past month) go do that right now and clean them up. Set up a scheduled task each week to do this, write a script, or train people to manage page content so that it doesn’t happen anymore. Do anything but leave it alone. Then tell other people, and make this one of those checks you do when working with pages. You will be surprised by how much it can often help page load times.

Let’s also hope that Microsoft makes these ‘closed’ parts expire in the future… since recycling bin already does this. *nudge nudge* *wink wink* to MS.

Hope this helps,
Richard Harbridge

SharePoint Saturday Success

July 13, 2009

My presentation/session was called SharePoint Success and that is exactly what SharePoint Saturday in Toronto was. From all the incredible people I spoke with at the event it seemed like everyone learned new things and made some great new friends.

I want to make a special thank you to my fellow speakers for making me feel extremely welcomed and for providing some really great discussions throughout the event, feedback after, and for joining me for a delightful SharePint (twice! :P). Here are some pictures: http://picasaweb.google.ca/ruveng/20090712SharePointSaturdayToronto?authkey=Gv1sRgCNGiyoaDhuuVFg&feat=directlink# as well as a short video: http://video.msn.com/video.aspx/?mkt=en-us&vid=bef78262-0bba-4fbe-beba-ce9c2f5ad02c&wa=wsignin1.0.

My Presentation:

For my presentation slide deck I have added it to SlideShare here: http://www.slideshare.net/rharbridge/sharepoint-saturday-sharepoint-success - It should also soon be available on the SharePoint Saturday website.

Clarification “The Importance of Having All the Right People in the Room”:

I received quite a few questions at the end of the presentation and quite a few emails that I have been responding to. So thank you for all the wonderful contributions you have made (SharePoint Audience). I wanted to clarify a response to one of  those here:

The question was on whether it was a good idea to get all the developers in the same meeting as everyone else. At the time I responded that you need to be cognisent of who is in a meeting and who needs to be (as it’s costing money for everyone to be in that meeting when they could be doing other things). However I think I might have given the wrong impression. Sometimes it absolutely makes sense to have the developers in meetings when working out requirements and things like that. Especially if it saves time, money, or ensures everyone has a Shared Understanding (my whole point of the presentation pretty much).

I actually use a RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) model that I took out of the slides before presenting because I was afraid I would go over time as well as a slide on meetings in general (related to SharePoint which was under Governance), but basically just think about those four words and use them to help determine who should and shouldn’t be in a meeting. Always ensure you have “All of the right people in the room”.

I hope everyone who went enjoyed themselves and learned something and met someone new, I know I did and I am better for it,
Richard Harbridge

SharePoint Saturday in Toronto (Speakers and Sessions)

June 29, 2009

http://www.sharepointsaturday.org/toronto/default.aspx

SharePoint Saturday is July 11th in Mississauaga
(This is right beside Toronto in the province of Ontario, in the country of Canada, it also happens to be where I live :)).

If you read this blog, then you are probably someone who will enjoy and learn a TON from the wonderful speakers at SharePoint Saturday. I know I learn new things from many of the speakers on a regular basis. It’s a FREE event. Think about it, these speakers are experts. Many have done talks at things like the best practice conferences. Those are expensive conferences and this one is free. It’s like getting the value of a couple grand, and all you have to do is drive to the Microsoft building in Mississauga. It’s also a great opportunity to network and build your professional skill set as well as personal skill set.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up now!

Register Now

Looking for more information or even more amazing reasons for why you should go and you should bring all your friends? Check out the speakers that are presenting (http://www.sharepointsaturday.org/toronto/Pages/speakers.aspx) and the great sessions (http://www.sharepointsaturday.org/toronto/Pages/meetings.aspx) I am excited to attend quite a few of these sessions.

On a minor note I am also presenting for this event. It will be focused around tips, tricks, and takeways that will make user adoption, maintaining buy in, and governing SharePoint significantly easier. I intend to record the session so people can download it after and hope to release a teaser for what I will cover soon.

I would love to meet with everyone, and welcome everyone to come out to SharePint after the event. We don’t have the details quite yet on where that will be, but let me assure you I am totally up for having some great and in depth conversations after, during and before the event as I am sure there is lots I could learn from you.

Hope to see you there,
Richard Harbridge

SharePoint Knights and Award/Recognition Programs

May 6, 2009

I decided to blog about this because I figured I might as well give my two cents on this and clearly illustrate why I completely and wholeheartedly would support almost any program such as the one called SharePoint Knights proposed by community members and Joel (http://www.sharepointjoel.com/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=218#Comments).

To me the concept represented by the SharePoint Knights order, and any other award/recognition program designed for and based on community contribution is a wonderful idea. The reason I believe it’s a wonderful idea is because these programs DO increase community contribution and provide extra motivation for people to help and contribute to the community.

I understand that we don’t want to mar, muddy, or confuse the power and importance of the MVP status (which personally I think is a well run program considering the challenges this kind of program typically runs into). I think the entire advantage and best part of this idea/concept has been harshly criticized without people taking a step back and seeing it for what (in my honest opinion) the idea represents. (I could be mistaken and I apologize if I am.)

The primary focus of a program like this should be/is to provide more awards and recognition for community contribution.

That’s it. It’s not about what the rules are for this, or how this will be facilitated or handled (BTW great post by Jeremy on this outlining a lot of the challenges a program like this needs to consider: http://wss.made4the.net/archive/2009/05/05/sharepoint-mvps-vs-sharepoint-knights.aspx). As far as I am concerned there is no substantial reason (if we ignore personal/emotional reactions) that seems to indicate more programs like the MVP program (hosted by ANYONE in my opinion) aren’t good for the community.

So in my opinion I really hope that more of these programs and ideas pop up, not less. I want us to get saturated with them. I want everyone to feel like they are awarded for contributing to the community. It will strengthen the community not harm it. It will also cause the best programs to make their way above the others in the same way award systems have a ‘top award’ or ‘most respected award’ in their respective communities. We will have that too, and yes, there is the possibility that maybe the MVP award (in the long run) won’t be the top/most respected one. Personally, I think it will and that this healthy competition will enable it to grow and become an even better program than it is right now.

Keep it coming guys and it’s great to see people trying to make new change and empower the community further,
Richard Harbridge

My First Podcast: SharePoint Start and Learn

April 17, 2009

Download SharePoint Start and Learn: http://zb0xhg.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pqw03yuxsNsbJZ7uSflfDXsMoxCKdi2Nuj03h0zqkC2WUNAUmJ4sAtPChBgSIDATCnGQxpB8ohBOcbRjjwGj9DRBvc-N2_o8O/01-%20SharePoint%20Start%20and%20Learn.mp3?download

I just finished my first podcast which is 13 minutes or so on how to go about learning SharePoint if you are starting out. This has no specific target audience and can benefit consultants learning SharePoint, end users, developers, it directors etc.

Please let me know if you have any ideas on how I can improve. This is my first one and I don’t really have any experience with this stuff so any advice is welcome.

I have quite a few ideas of other podcasts I plan on doing in the future so expect to see some more in the coming weeks.

Hope this helps someone out there,
Richard Harbridge

(P.S – I have a terrible cold so apologies for how bad it sounds :P)

SharePoint 2007/WSS SP2 for April 28th

April 15, 2009

Don’t worry I won’t go into all the details. The original announcement is located here: http://blogs.technet.com/mu/archive/2009/04/14/service-pack-2-for-2007-microsoft-office-system-due-april-28th.aspx all the interesting details can be found in the above post as well.

Suffice to say lots of important updates (which we all love). Don’t forget that many of the fixes for known issues can be found in the latest cumulative update for SharePoint Server. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/961756 (Pretty sure February was the last one, and Microsoft shut down December’s due to lots of issues after installation. (Feb from what I hear has no issues))

For those of you who remember end of April was the next scheduled cumulative update, but I am fairly confident this will just be rolled into the service pack.

Personal Items of Note:

  1. In SP2 – Nice little STSADM command to help determine prep status for SharePoint 2010. If you haven’t already begun planning for this consider it carefully now. Think of the talks about 64 bit support and other items of interest and evaluate your current environment. In most organizations I have worked with it takes months to get new hardware and upgrade projects underway so why not try and start some wheels rolling now?
  2. Microsoft will release more information closer to the release date on exactly what issues are resolved in this Service Pack but the last cumulative update and the high level items they outline here are a good indication of what you can expect.
  3. When it does release please for the love of god backup and then test it on development environments, QA environments and eventually on production. Don’t jump right to production. This ensures A) you don’t begin dealing with unexpected issues in ‘panic mode’, B) provides some time for any potential issues to be documented by the community and Microsoft, C) if there is an issue you can back out of it and plan/identify what happened and how to best deal with it.

Looking forward to some wonderful fixes,
Richard Harbridge


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