Archive for the ‘News and Opportunities’ category

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

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SharePoint Saturday Toronto Schedule!

July 7, 2009

Check it out! The schedule for SharePoint Saturday has been released!

http://www.sharepointsaturday.org/toronto/Public Documents/SharePoint Saturday Toronto Schedule.pdf

Excited yet?

The hardest part will be choosing between such incredible sessions. I know I am going to have some trouble picking anyways.

Speaking of sessions I intend for anyone coming to mine to take away at least 3 new things. This is my challenge to myself. So if I don’t succeed I want you to hold me to it (with a knife if necessary) and I will owe you more new things.

Don’t forget about SharePint at the Drake and Firken after!

Excited,
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

Selling SharePoint Services Internally

June 10, 2009

SharePoint is BIG. It’s a large complex platform that enables users to create a limitless number of possible solutions. It is also scary, largely unknown to many people, and difficult to understand how to use/apply successfully for a specific business need.

If your organization has SharePoint odds are you have some SharePoint “Experts” who know SharePoint very well. In a way that group is a consulting company internally. Often they identify opportunities, gather requirements, build solutions and train users.

So how do they sell those services to users internally? If I am a department head and I want to see how SharePoint can help me how do I go about doing it? Often this is an ad hoc or process defined in your SharePoint governance. They contact the support team or the solution team which takes them through the SharePoint business value planning sessions (for lack of a better term).

The thing is, how are those users even going to know that SharePoint can help them in the first place? User adoption, training, evangelization and internal marketing can certainly help get the message out there, but a much simpler and cost effective method also exists (that should be done together with other methods). This method is rarely implemented.

Set up a SharePoint Services Offered page for your users internally. This page should be just like a consultant organizations would be. This is what we can do for you.

Really Simplified Example:

Gold Team Package – Your team works hard and shares information all the time. How can you improve sharing, retention and organization so that the team is more efficient? Try a SharePoint team site! In it you will get the following features:

  1. Share documents more easily and take advantage of alerts which let you know when content has been updated.
  2. Improve version control, and document integrity reducing the pain of looking up old versions of documents, or the pain of sifting through duplicated documents for the right version.
  3. Share announcements and important news easily.
  4. Keep track of important project/team contacts in one place.
  5. Distribute and manage tasks across the entire team so everyone can know what needs to be done.
  6. Keep everyone aware of important deadlines and dates with shared calendars.

Platinum Team Package – With the platinum team package you get all the benefits of a Gold Team Package but with some added advanced features that can really take your team or department to the next level!

  1. Collaborate together and build a knowledge base using a wiki.
  2. Push out important news, personal thoughts, or changes on a regular basis using blogs.
  3. Work collaboratively on preparing a meeting’s agenda, objectives, or to even help facilitate it using meeting workspaces.

Available Add On/Optional Services:

  1. Workflow Add On for Business Processes – If you have a business process that is difficult to monitor, audit, or work through we can help simplify it via a business process analysis session or two and streamline/automate it through SharePoint.
  2. Usage and Analysis Training – Ever wonder how you can improve your site? One way this can be done is by reading over what areas are used most often, and which areas are not. This can help you improve navigation and see what users like the most about your site.
  3. Site Management Training – So you have a site or would like to create a new one but don’t yet know how to manage navigation, permissions, or build lists/libraries? No worries this training will give you the jump start you need or greatly improve what will be possible in your site.
  4. Records Center Auditing – If you have important information that you need to ensure is stored, tracked, and kept for auditing purposes this can really help!

For each solution/option include how much training is available, or necessary as well as what other benefits they will receive. Try and make it really easy to navigate through and understand what is really available only a call or email away.

Users can now review the list of available solutions and pick what they think they want. If you think about it the cost is how much of their time is necessary. If your organization is large you can actually charge across departments/divisions using a revenue/cost transfer method. So you could ACTUALLY price these services out. This makes it easier for users to see what is available, and it makes it much easier on the support and solution teams because it is more standardized.

I don’t really see how anyone can have a governance plan and not do something like this (in their own way).

Just a thought that I hope helps,
Richard Harbridge

Imagine Interactive Visual SharePoint Wikis, and Discussion Boards

May 7, 2009

So earlier this morning I twittered at how terrific I thought http://debategraph.org/ was. This is one of those things where I expect it to become a normal thing in the future.

As information continues to grow in organizations and across the world it becomes harder and harder to search and more importantly consumer that information. A ways back I talked about Corporate Memory (https://sharepointkb.wordpress.com/2008/07/29/corporate-memory-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/) and how it’s best as an organic thing. Constantly growing, with constantly changing and evolving expectations. This kind of visual wiki (which uses IBIS like methodology and looks similar to a mind map) is a perfect example of how I expect in 4 years many of us will consume information and make business decisions, and maybe even navigate around our intranets.

Think of how useful this kind of visualized relationships can be in a Site Map, for a SharePoint Wiki, for presenting the arguements and replies of a discussion board. It’s a more evolved way of working with these common things and this is only scratching the surface.

Anyways figured I would share some thoughts on it and hope everyone is doing well,
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

Institutions vs Collaboration

April 28, 2009

A friend of mine brought this TED presentation to my attention today and it is amazing. I highly recommend watching this if you have ever been involved in SharePoint or any sort of new technology.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/clay_shirky_on_institutions_versus_collaboration.html

This may actually be the best description/articulation of what is going on in the world right now.

Hope you enjoy as much as I did,
Richard Harbridge

Oh and P.S – Service Pack 2 is now available for download. I have installed it successfully (without issue) on one of our development machines (SP1 with infrastructure update).