SharePoint: Custom Views for Multiple Content Types within a Single List


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Editor’s note: Contributor Kathryn Bartlett is a member of the Gig Werks team.

In this example, we have two custom content types based off the Event list content type: (1) “Event Type 1”, with single line text fields “Column A” and “Column B”, and (2) “Event Type 2”, with single line text fields “Column Y” and “Column Z”. Create a Calendar, “Sample Calendar”, and add these two content types to the list. After creating an event of both content types, we see that the add, edit, and display forms all act as we would hope – only columns in that content type appear.

2012-08-29-CustomViews-01.png
Figure 1 – Add/Edit Event Type 1

2012-08-29-CustomViews-02.png
Figure 2 – Add/Edit Event Type 2

2012-08-29-CustomViews-03.png
Figure 3 – View Event Type 1

2012-08-29-CustomViews-04.png
Figure 4 – View Event Type 2

However, we may not need the Category, All Day Event, Recurrence, or Workspace columns. In this example, we want to remove them from the views. Open SharePoint Designer 2010, open your site, and click on the list. On the right, there is a section for Forms.

2012-08-29-CustomViews-05.png

Click New… and create a new item form that is and use the content type Event Type 1.

2012-08-29-CustomViews-06.png

Now this form will appear in the Forms panel.

2012-08-29-CustomViews-07.png

Click nf1.aspx to edit the form. From the split view, find the table row tags containing the columns you want to delete and remove these lines from the page. Set this as the default New Form page, and create a new Event Type 1 event. Creating an event of Event Type 1, it seems all is set.

2012-08-29-CustomViews-08.png

However, now when we go to create an event of Event Type 2, we get the same new form as in Event Type 2. We need to create a new form for Event Type 2 in the same way we did for Event Type 1 above.

If we set this new form to be the default, we run into the same issue when we try to create an event of Event Type 1. To resolve this, we need to associate the form with the content type itself, not with the list. Click on the sample calendar in SharePoint Designer. At the bottom left, there is a panel for Content Types.

2012-08-29-CustomViews-09.png

Click on our content type Event Type 1. On the top right, there is a panel for Forms.

2012-08-29-CustomViews-10.png

Click the section for New Form to enter the URL of our custom new form, enter the URL, hit Enter, and save your changes.

2012-08-29-CustomViews-11.png

Do the same for Event Type 2. Now when we try to add an event of each content type, we get the appropriate new forms.

2012-08-29-CustomViews-12.png
Figure 5 – Custom New Form for Event Type 1

2012-08-29-CustomViews-13.png
Figure 6 – Custom New form for Event Type 2

Repeat the same steps for the Edit and Display forms to complete the custom views.

What’s new within SharePoint 2013 Search – Part 3: Search Dictionaries, Query Builder, Query Client Type and more


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Editor’s note: Contributor Nicki Borell is a SharePoint Evangelist & Consultant for Experts Inside. Follow him @NickiBorell.

New / Updates Ranking Model functions:

Custom ranking models are managed through PowerShell using XML files as it was in SharePoint 2010. Ranking Model for a specific query can be selected at query time by setting the RankingModelId of the query otherwise the default is used.

The PowerShell cmdlet is: New-SPEnterpriseSearchRankingModel

For more details about the underlying XML schema have a look here.

This example shows all Ranking Models in my demo system. You can see which is the default:

2012-08-29-2013Search-Part03-01.jpg

You can use the configured Ranking Models, for example, in the Query Builder (see details below in the Query Builder Section):

2012-08-29-2013Search-Part03-02.jpg

Query Spelling Correction:

This function is hosted in the Termstore. We can now easily configure “Exclusion” and “Inclusion” Terms. Another big benefit is that Terms configured in the “Inclusion” Termset can also be used for “Did you mean” functionality.

2012-08-29-2013Search-Part03-03.jpg

The example shown in the picture would result in searching for ”EI” which didn’t get any results so the system will suggest “Did you mean ExpertsInside

Query Rules:

Query Rules are new in SharePoint 2013. It is a feature that gives us the option to tailor results in a very flexible way. Query Rules are set on Site Collection Level.

A Query Rule has 3 main parts:

  • Query Conditions
    • The conditions defined when and in which context the rule became active:
  • 2012-08-29-2013Search-Part03-04.jpg

  • Query Action
    • In this section we can defined what happened if the rules matched. This is just a little bit similar to what we know as “Best Bets” or “Visual Best Bets” from SharePoint 2010, but much more powerful.
  • 2012-08-29-2013Search-Part03-05.jpg

  • Publishing Options
    • These settings control when the rule can fire

Query Client Types:

Query Client Types are also new in SharePoint 2013 Search. At this time there aren’t many details are available on this new function. The idea behind the function is using the client the query is sent from to do specific throttling etc: “Applications are prioritized by tiers. Top tier has the highest priority. When resource limit is reached, query throttling becomes ON, and search system will process the queries from top tier to bottom tier.”

Query Builder:

Query Builder is a tool in SharePoint 2013 Search which we can find in different places. For example the Query Builder is available in the “Result Sources” section (Result Sources are in the next Part IV – Admin Stuff) and also in the “Query Rule” section etc. Query Builder is available when we have the option to manipulate search query or refine it. The Query Builder has 3 tabs:

  • Basic:
    • The Query is built here. You can use Keyword Query Language to add keyword filters and property filters. Keyword filters query the full-text search index.
  • 2012-08-29-2013Search-Part03-06.jpg

    This call for example will only show content where the “Author” is the logged on user.

  • Sorting:
    • Here we can manage how the results are sorted. We can use a Ranking Model ore use a Managed Property for that job
  • 2012-08-29-2013Search-Part03-07.jpg

  • Test:
    • Test tab in the Query Builder is to evaluate the query that you built. You can experiment there to see whether changing variables would have the effect that you want on the query.
  • 2012-08-29-2013Search-Part03-08.jpg

Stay tuned for the next parts in this series:

Part IV: Admin Stuff
Part V: Frontend Stuff

SharePoint Online 2013 – Sharing with External Users


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Editor’s note: Contributor Jasper Oosterveld is a SharePoint Consultant at Wortell. Follow him @SharePTJasper

The current version of SharePoint Online supports sending an invitation for an external users. This does not cost the customer a license but has some considerations. Please check out this article, it’s located at the bottom of the page.

SharePoint Online 2013 also supports this feature and has some additional changes. Let’s take a look!

The sharing needs to be activated per site collection, so go to the administration section of SharePoint and click at Site collections and select Sharing:

2012-08-22-SP2013Sharing-01.png

This replaces the current version where you had to go to the site collection features to be sure external users were able to access your portal

Do you see the last option? You are now able to send an anonymous guest link to partners or customers. So how does this work? Go to a document library, call out the callout menu (get it ;)) and click on Share:

2012-08-22-SP2013Sharing-02.png

Enter the e-mail address and untick the Require sign-in checkbox and click Share. The following message will appear:

2012-08-22-SP2013Sharing-03.png

send the invitation to my own e-mail address so let’s check it out!

2012-08-22-SP2013Sharing-04.png

Now click Open anonymous link and let the magic happen:

2012-08-22-SP2013Sharing-05.png

The guest can edit the document from every location in the world! I tried to go back to the list but go the following message:

"Sorry, this list hasn’t been shared with you."

The security seem to do its job. Let’s check the sharing screen:

2012-08-22-SP2013Sharing-06.png

My e-mail address is mentioned here but you will also see the following message in the callout menu:

"Open to anyone with a guest link"

I used a different browser and entered the guest link and I was able to open the Word document in the browser. An easy and fast way to share documents without the need to log in. This can be very useful in project scenarios.

SharePoint: Current Month Report in PerformancePoint Tabular Model


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Editor’s note: Contributor Neil Barkhina is a SharePoint Architect a Gig Werks.

For the next several posts I am going to focus on my new-found love which is the Business Intelligence Semantic Model or BISM for short. For those that don’t know, BISM provides a new and fast way of getting BI dashboards out the door quickly without the hassle of creating complex multi-dimensional cubes. While you will be able to create some really slick reports in very little time, mastery of this new technology takes quite a while. One of things you will need to get used to is a new language called DAX. For those who have used MDX before, this is similar and is what allows us to design our models in SQL Server 2012 Data Tools or in PowerPivot.

In order to create a report that uses the current month, one of the easiest ways to do so is to make some slight modifications to the model you are working with:

2012-08-24-CurrentMonthReport-01.png

As long as you have the Date member on your dimension, you can use the following DAX query:

=if(month(NOW())=[Month] && YEAR(NOW())=[Year],"Yes","No")

Basically it’s using the DAX “IF” statement to say if the month and year both equal the current month and current year, set this column to “Yes” otherwise “No”. Before this works, you will also need to have two other columns which extract the month and year portions of your Date member. You can do this by doing the following where [CurrentDate] is your date member:

=Month([CurrentDate])

=Year([CurrentDate])

Now you are ready to deploy your slick PerformancePoint dashboard. Simply create an analytic chart (or grid) and drag your new member to the “Background” section of your report. Basically this means you are using this field either for direct filtering or for receiving a filter from somewhere else on the page.

2012-08-24-CurrentMonthReport-02.png

In this case we are simply doing direct filtering, so by clicking on “Select Members” you can pick “Yes” which means only return data that is in the current month:

2012-08-24-CurrentMonthReport-03.png

And voila, beautiful PerformancePoint Dashboard that doesn’t ever need to be updated and will always dynamically show the current months information!

2012-08-24-CurrentMonthReport-04.png

SharePoint: Integrate a Slider with the Content Query Web Part (Part 3) – Integration with the CQWP


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Editor’s note: Contributor Yohan Belval is a SharePoint Specialist at Groupe GSoft Inc. Follow him @yohanbelval

In the latest part of this series, we finally got our hands dirty and set up the content source we need for our Slider CQWP. All in all, we had to create a content type, associate it to a picture library and upload a few images to it. In the end, we got this result with a bare-bone CQWP:

2012-08-23-IntegrateSlider-Part03-01.png

As we can see, all we need now is to integrate the actual SlidesJS plugin to have some effects and some style. Let’s get to it!

*Reminder: You will need to have JQuery loaded in your SharePoint site. Here’s an article written by Maxime Soucy which shows how to do this.

Upload the SlideJS Plugin Files to SharePoint

From the SlidesJS site, download the latest version of the plugin and extract it to your computer (you should already have this if you followed part 2).

  1. Using SharePoint Designer 2010, navigate to the Style Library of your site:
  2. 2012-08-23-IntegrateSlider-Part03-02.png

  3. In the XSL Style Sheets folder, create a subfolder called “Slider”. We’ll be putting all the files we need in here.
  4. Open the folder containing the SlideJS plugin files. Under the “examples/images-with-caption” folder, copy all three folders (css, img and js) into the Slider folder:
  5. 2012-08-23-IntegrateSlider-Part03-03.png

    For the sake of keeping things clean, you can remove the “slider*.jpg” files under the img folder. We won’t need those since we already have them in our picture library.

Modify the Plugin Files to SharePoint’s Liking

Since we are hosting our plugin in a SharePoint site and not a plain old html page like the example code, we need to modify the JavaScript and CSS to make everything work correctly.

Global.css

The example global.css file in the “css” folder contains some style elements that affect the body and override some of the out-of-the-box styles of SharePoint.

Download the following file and replace yours with it. Basically, two classes have been removed and the caption class has been adjusted to fit the SharePoint font.

Slideshow.js

At this point, you’re probably searching for the slideshow.js file in the “js” folder. Well, search no more because it isn’t there! We’ll need to create this file in order to call the plugin on our generated html. In the example code from the plugin’s website, this JavaScript is embedded directly in the html file (index.html).

In SharePoint Designer, navigate to the “js” folder. Download the following file and import it into the folder.

2012-08-23-IntegrateSlider-Part03-04.png

Create a Custom ContentQueryMain.xsl and ItemStyle.xsl

You may or may not know this, but the rendering used by the CQWP depends on two files: ContentQueryMain.xsl and ItemStyle.xsl. The first is responsible for rendering the “container” and the second, for rendering each item returned by the CQWP query. We could go more in-depth about this but honestly, this is all we need to know to go on.

With SharePoint Designer, navigate to the root “Slider” folder in the “XSL Style Sheets” folder and import the ItemStyle.xsl and ContentQueryMain.xsl files. You should have the following:

2012-08-23-IntegrateSlider-Part03-05.png

These two files are the core of the CQWP and define the XSL used to transform our query results into the exact html we want. I’m a nice guy and have given you the download but if you want some more details, open them and dig in!

Integrate Everything with the CQWP!

Finally, this is the last step in our journey to obtaining a beautiful Slider Web Part. All we need to do know is integrate the custom ItemStyle.xsl and ContentQueryMain.xsl into our Web Part.

To do this, navigate to the Web Part we created in part 2 of this series. First thing to do is edit the “Fields to display” section of the Web Part. Change the Image field to “URL Path” so that the image displayed in the results is the original size.

2012-08-23-IntegrateSlider-Part03-06.png

Next, we need to export the Web Part to a *.webpart file in order to change a few of its properties:

2012-08-23-IntegrateSlider-Part03-07.png

Once it’s on your file system, open the file with your favorite text editor (Notepad ++ for example). We’ll need to modify a few properties for the Web Part to use our custom item style and main style.

First things first, locate the Title property and modify it to give it a more meaningful title:


<property name="Title" type="string">Slider Content Query</property>

Next, locate the ItemXslLink property and change it to the following:


<property name="ItemXslLink" type="string">/Style Library/Xsl Style Sheets/Slider/ItemStyle.xsl</property>

Do the same for the MainXslLink property and change to:


<property name="MainXslLink" type="string">/Style Library/Xsl Style Sheets/Slider/ContentQueryMain.xsl</property>

Lastly, change the ItemStyle property to reference our custom item style:


<property name="ItemStyle" type="string">ImageSlider</property>

That’s it! All we need to do now is upload our modified *.webpart file to the Web Part gallery and add it to a page. For reference, here’s mine but you cannot use it “as is” since the list id and some field ids may differ.

Note: Since the link references are server-relative URLs, this Web Part will only work on a root site! To fix this issue, refer to a great blog post by Waldek Mastykarz.

Go to the page you wish to add the Web Part and display the “Add Web Part” ribbon section. You’ll notice the “Upload a Web Part” button on the bottom left. Click it and browse for your recently modified *.webpart file and upload it.

2012-08-23-IntegrateSlider-Part03-08.png

Now, if you navigate in the Web Part categories, you should see your Slider Content Query in the “Imported Web Parts” section. Add it to the page… Drum roll…

2012-08-23-IntegrateSlider-Part03-09.png

Wrap-Up

In the third and last part of this series, we’ve modified a few of the plugin files, added the custom ItemStyle.xsl and ContentQueryMain.xsl files and modified the *.webpart file to use them.

As I mentioned earlier in this article, this Web Part will only work in a root SharePoint site due to a limitation of the Content Query Web Part. Luckily, it’s easily fixed with a bit of code. Speaking of code, packaging all this into a nicely wrapped solution package is a fairly easy job. I’ll probably get around to doing it sometime soon so if anyone’s interested, contact me!

Hope you all liked this 3 part series! If ever anyone has any suggestions for another series, please feel free to use the comments section and provide some ideas.

SharePoint Online 2013 – Sites Tab and Self Service Site Creation


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Editor’s note: Contributor Jasper Oosterveld is a SharePoint Consultant at Wortell. Follow him @SharePTJasper

The Office 365 Technical Preview has a really nice new top navigation. You can read all about it here. One part of the top navigation is Sites:

2012-08-23-SP2013SitesTab-01.png

There is a button called new site, through this button users are able to create a new team site. The administrator of the Office 365 Tenant can configure the location for the sites to be deployed. You can go to Admin, SharePoint and Settings where you will see the following option:

2012-08-23-SP2013SitesTab-02.png

You don’t want to use this option? Just hide the link by selecting the first option. If you decide you want to use this feature there are a couple of decisions you have to make:

Create sites under:
Define the path where the site is going to be created.

Site classification:
By selecting required or optional the users have or can select a site policy.

Secondary contact:
Does the user need to enter an additional site owner? Yes? Select Required.

I am not sure what the option Use the form at this URL does but perhaps a custom form to create new sites?

All the users will be able to create sites but there are a couple of important facts:

1.) The site will always be based on the team site template. There is no option to change this.

This does not have to be an issue but I can imagine that some customers would like to use a custom template or even the project site template. Hopefully this will be adjustable in the future.

2.) The users need to have create site permissions at the root site

My first thought was "Now all the users can change important site settings at the home level" because they have Full Control permissions. Microsoft Support mentioned the fact that you, DUH, can create a custom site permission. To create such a custom site permission follow these instructions:

  • In SharePoint Admin Center create a new Site Collection e. g. https://tenant.sharepoint.com/sites/sssc (Self-Service Site Creation) e. g. with “Blank Site” Template
  • Go to the SSSC Site Collection and go to “Settings > Site Settings > Site permissions”
  • Click “Permission Levels” in the Ribbon
  • Click “Add a Permission Level”
  • Enter “Create Subsites” as Name and select “Create Subsites” (from the Site Permissions group) – this will auto-select some other needed Permissions
  • Click “Create”
  • Go back to “Settings > Site Settings > Site permissions”
  • Click “Create Group” in the Ribbon
  • Enter “Self-Service Site Creation Subsite Creators” as name for the New Group and select the “Create Subsites” as Permission Level
  • Click “Create”
  • Click “New > Add Users”
  • Enter “Everyone in my organization” in the “Add people to the ??? group” (and unselect “Send an email invitation” under Options)
  • Go back to the SharePoint Admin Center and go to the “settings” area
  • Enter “sites/sssc” unter the “Start a Site” section for “Create sites under:”

Thanks Microsoft Support :-) Stupid me ;-)

There is one last interesting aspect of this self service site creation. A lot of new sites can be created and as an administration you want some control. SharePoint Online 2013 has the option to create site policies! Go to the new site collection you created and click on Site Actions, Site Settings and Site Policies. The following screen will appear:

2012-08-23-SP2013SitesTab-03.png

The cool thing is that you can connect a workflow with the site policy. I have not tried this yet but definitely worth a new article :-) In my case I used the following settings:

2012-08-23-SP2013SitesTab-04.png

By using a policy you can control the amount of sites created by users. I had some issues in my tenant because the site did not get deleted but I am sure this works fine in the on premise version and in the future RTM release of SharePoint Online 2013. Steve Mann wrote an great article about policies, you can check it out by clicking here.

SharePoint and those little tick boxes that do so much


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Editor’s note: Contributor Ben Henderson is Manager of Sevices at Colligo Networks. Follow him @ben3003

When you are working with SharePoint you soon learn that there are some little changes you can make which will make a big difference to the way you end up working with the application. An example of this is Content types. Content types are not enabled by default within a document library but as soon as you turn them on they open up a world of opportunity, allowing you to store documents that have different metadata requirements alongside each other in a document library. And that’s just the start of things you can do with content types.

The example I want to explain and go through was brought to my attention as soon as I registered to blog here on NothingButSharePoint (you will see that this is my first post). After being sent the link I was greeted with the My Site homepage; the default out of the box one that has no content and is seen on the majority of the SharePoint 2010 installs that I have visited.

2012-08-22-TickBox-01.png

Now there isn’t a whole heap of work that is needed to turn this into a useful page which users will go to when they click on the My Site link. You need access to central admin, so for that you may need to convince your SP admin to do the work, but it really is just one tick box that needs enabling and it’s probably the case that the background processes are already working.

Have your email administrator go into SharePoint central admin and enable the newsfeeds (Central Admin > User Profile Service > Setup My sites)

2012-08-22-TickBox-02.png

This will make the My Site page useful, and not just an additional page stopping you from getting to where you want to go. If any of the people you have added as your colleagues are active on SharePoint or on their My Site then the content will be aggregated to this site, just like a Facebook wall. If users like documents, comment on documents, change their job info or anything like this, then that information will be shown here too.

I believe it`s the first step you need to make SharePoint a social platform, and it`s just a tick box! I would like to hear your experiences of simple tick box’s making a big difference on your SharePoint environment.

SharePoint 2013: Create a Metro Live Tile using MetroJS, JsRender and the new REST API


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Editor’s note: Contributor Alex Choroshin is a Sharepoint Team Leader at Bank Leumi. Follow him @choroshin

One of the biggest changes made in SharePoint 2013 is the UI. And of course I’m talking about The Metro Ui Style.

2012-08-21-MetroLiveTile-01.png

We see it, feel it and interact with it since Microsoft introduced Windows phone 7 and later on in Windows 8 etc…

As stated on Wikipedia “A key design principle of Metro is better focus on the content of applications, relying more on typography and less on graphics ("content before chrome").”

More and more websites are adopting the Metro Ui Style, web sites like www.microsoft.com, www.touchality.com and www.mykindofphone.com. plus more examples you can find here.

We will focus on the Metro Live Tile. I decided to create a custom Live Tile using a JavaScript library that Drew Greenwell created based on the Windows Metro Style, JsRender library that provides a template-based rendering that works great with JSON and the new SharePoint 2013 REST API that really makes our development experience much easier with CRUD operation using OData and REST web technologies.

It’s worth pointing out that SharePoint 2013 has the option to create tiles but I didn’t find a way of doing it programmatically. Nevertheless, it will be good practice for us to play a little bit with the JavaScript libraries and the new REST API as I mentioned before.

In our example we’ll create two tiles that read data from two lists. The first tile shows the pictures from the picture library and the second tile shows items from a list.

Let’s Begin 2012-08-21-MetroLiveTile-02.png

1) We will work with VS2012. Open VS2012 and create a new project. Choose Apps then App for SharePoint 2013 and call it “MetroStyleApp”.

2012-08-21-MetroLiveTile-03.png

2) Create a new folder and call it Lists, then add two lists. The first is a custom list, call it “CustomList” and the second is picture library, call it “pictureLibrary”.

2012-08-21-MetroLiveTile-04.png

3) Add three JavaScript files, Jquery 1.7.2, metroJS and JsRender to the Scripts folder, and the MetroJs.css file to the Content folder.

2012-08-21-MetroLiveTile-05.png

4) Add the JavaScript and the css reference to PlaceHolderAdditionalPageHead in the Default.aspx



Add the tiles html and the two Xsl List View web parts we created (pictureLibrary,CustomList) to the PlaceHolderMain.



5)Add this Code to the app.js file. In this code you can see two REST API calls, first is to get all urls from the picture library and their ‘created’ date and the second is to get all the items from our custom list. Another thing you can see here is the two templates we created for each ajax call. And of course the cool use of the metroJS library.



Deploy the project, add some pictures and a couple of items to the lists and then we’re done 2012-08-21-MetroLiveTile-02.png

Here’s the final result:

2012-08-21-MetroLiveTile-06.png

Download the full project.

See you next time.

SharePoint: Confessions, Regret, and Dialogue Mapping


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Editor’s note: Contributor Kerri Abraham has recently left SharePoint to pursue other career opportunities. Follow her @KerriAbraham

Retirement has a way of putting things into perspective. When I was working I had to temper what I wrote so as to keep a job. Once I quit I had every intention of writing it out and really ‘sticking’ it to IT because I wanted other users to know they weren’t alone, but the truth is, there were mistakes on both sides.

I had no idea how I was being perceived, since I had never been put in a position of someone actually listening to anything I said prior to SharePoint. IT only knew me as a know-nothing customer and seemed to have a hard time getting past that image. Once they realized I might have developed some skill, those that should have rejoiced and shared in the learning of the platform resorted to disparaging remarks in order to keep their own ignorance hidden. You see, when the ‘expert’ is paid three-times what you make it’s nearly impossible to convince those that sign the check that they might not be getting their money’s worth. It is extremely easy however for said ‘expert’ to contradict all business user proposals with “It Depends” and completely annihilate innovative ideas.

It is important to know that I have neither IT technical nor a business background, so I can sympathize with IT’s position in regard to giving my ideas credence. However, just because I made a few decisions in my youth that didn’t lead me directly into an IT career doesn’t mean that I can’t completely wrap my head around a beast like SharePoint. Corporate IT has a hard enough time learning SharePoint themselves; which makes it even harder for them to realize when a business user has outpaced them.

Then it all just clicked.

Once I started making a name for myself in SharePoint I encountered professional prejudice from those that held degrees, despite the fact that my work spoke for itself; repeatedly gaining me both lower management and upper administrative notoriety (and the respect of the international SharePoint community!) It was pointed out to me on many occasions that I was not the one holding the ‘Engineering’ degree when I voiced my (somewhat bold) opinions about how SharePoint should be utilized in the organization. Add in the obvious fact that I was a woman in the man-tech arena; I honestly had no idea what kind of battle this was shaping up to be!

What I was lacking was better communication skills and tools. I’m a passionate one, living in a Mediterranean household; we speak our minds often, with great gusto, and complete honesty. Business doesn’t work that way at all! Stroking egos, sugar-coating compliments, blindly adopting business initiatives that worked against SharePoint adoption were impossible for me to accept quietly – can you tell what an ‘ideal’ employee I was?

Some people think I’m difficult.

I prefer to think of myself as a ‘Heretic’ thanks to Paul Culmsee and Kailash Awati. Their book The Heretic’s Guide To Best Practices: The Reality of Managing Complex Problems in Organisations describes exactly what I needed to advance my problem solving abilities and help me diagram for others what I always saw as the missing elements to the puzzle.

2012-08-20-Confessions-01.png

The dynamics of group psychology fascinates me and I think Paul and Kailash’s methods for corralling problems with dialogue mapping is ideal for ‘evening out the playing field.’ Knowing that my passion for a topic and my confident tone can be misunderstood as bulldozing or intimidating, I fully recognize the value that diagraming a group’s thought process provides the opportunity to add everyone’s voice to the discussion and more importantly, it provides documentation for how the final decisions developed along the way.

I was a huge fan of both Paul and Kailash before the book was published, so I was certain I would love it from the start. Kailash and Paul’s research is impressive and presented in in a manner that anyone can understand. I found myself laughing out loud on a number of occasions and was thoroughly entertained with the ‘boring’ research portion. The second half of the book is a deeper dive into dialogue mapping and after having bought the notion in the first half, I was intrigued to learn more. This over the top, totally geeky book held my attention all the way through…in fact, I liked it so much I read it twice!

If I could turn back time, (and Paul and Kailash had written this book a few years earlier) I would do everything in my power to get to a dialogue mapping class with Paul Culmsee to learn these great techniques. The concepts are simple (I love simple) but I’m sure there is nothing better than seeing it in action. Dialogue mapping isn’t about manipulating others to adopt your ideas, but rather bringing everyone’s ideas to the surface in order to find the best ones to solve the problem at hand.

Wouldn’t you know it? As I write this, my Inbox surprises me with an email that 21 apps has arranged to have Paul come to the UK in October for two days of classes on SharePoint Governance and Information Architecture and another two to cover Issue Mapping. I think another opportunity is brewing in Perth at the end of October too, but don’t quote me on that. Honest, my write up here wasn’t planned as promotion, but I feel so strongly that it is the most brilliant thing any serious SharePoint professional should do that I’m not ashamed in the least – GO! Timing is perfect; there is plenty of time between now and then to read the book.

Think about it.

SharePoint is about initiating change and there are always battles with change. Our cultural diversity only adds complexity to our issues, even more so, the addition of egos and ambition intensify those differences to make our problems seem nearly impossible. In order to effectively navigate the pathways of change and bring two resistant parties together like Business and IT, some serious conversation needs to take place. Map that conversation, give everyone a voice, find the common ground, and get everyone on board with both understanding the problem and the work needed for resolution. Sounds easy enough to just write it out like that, but once you read the book, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that dialogue mapping is the key to making that process work.

So, have you read the book? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Leave a comment so we can convince the greater community that Paul and Kailish are on to something brilliant here. Thanks!