30 in 30 Interview: Michael Weinberg – Crowd Sourcing the Experts

 

2013-01-25-30In30MichaelWeinberg-01.jpgI met Michael Weinberg from WizPerts at NMX Conference and was intrigued with his idea of setting up an experts community for any topic, not just technology. He is building a platform that will manage expert communities where the experts will be paid for answering questions. Payment is based upon the perceived value of the answer to the question asked.

Listen to the discussion: http://soundcloud.com/nothingbut-2/michael-weinberg-crowd

If this sounds of interest, you get invited to the beta platform through this link:
http://wizpert.com/register_expert?beta_key=MarkMiller

Confession of a (post) SharePoint architect… What are you polishing?


You may also be interested in: SharePoint Smart Notifications by KWizCom


 

Editor’s note: Contributor Paul Culmsee is an IT and business consultant with 21 years experience. Follow him @paulculmsee

Confessions of a (post) SharePoint Architect Series:

Hi and welcome to the latest exciting instalment in my epic series of posts on my confessions of a post SharePoint architect. I was motivated to write this series because the mild mannered shrinking violet known as Bjorn Furuknap wrote an insightful series of articles on what it takes to be a SharePoint professional. I had always planned to write on this topic as well and opted to frame it as SharePoint “confessions” because some of my approaches do not always seem mainstream (but work!) so it feels like I am confessing my sins for using them. I chose to use the word “(post)” because SharePoint is not my fulltime gig anymore. I am very lucky to do a lot of non IT work, helping organisations deal with highly complex problems. This side of my work is where most of my insights have come from and what inspired the Heretics Guide to Best Practices book.

Thus far, we have traversed a fair bit of territory via the use of f-laws – home truths about successful SharePoint delivery that focuses on areas often overlooked for various reasons. In case this is your first visit to this series, we have covered 6 f-laws so far and I strongly suggest that you read them first…

In this post, we are continuing with f-law 6, focusing on aspects to SharePoint delivery where geeks have a habit of being crap…

No matter how much you polish it…

In Australia, there is an old saying, that no matter how much you try and polish a turd, it will always be a turd. In the last post, I more or less stated that some geeks have a tendency to polish turds. They do this because of a combination of an inflated view of their self-importance, mental scars from ghosts of disaster recoveries past, and a bias toward something I termed dial tone governance.

Dial tone governance refers to all of the stuff that ensures that the SharePoint platform remains pristine, consistently reliable and high performing. I noted in the previous post that this echoes what quality assurance aspires to do. This type of IT assurance for SharePoint is completely necessary, but it is definitely not sufficient. If it was, lavish praise would be heaped upon us heroic geeks for consistent fantastic SharePoint delivery.

In the last post I also channelled Neo from the Matrix and suggested that being a hero like Neo is a thankless job since, for many stakeholders, the assurance of dial tone is assumed to be there. Whether this is right or wrong is not the point, because geeks do not survive their own hypocrisy on this matter. After all, no one thanks the telephone company for providing them with dial tone when they pick up the phone to make a call – they just get pissed when it is not there.

Now while I can sympathise with unloved telephone company engineers, they actually have it easy because once they provide dial tone, their job is done. This also applies to tools like Microsoft Exchange, Virtualisation, IP networks and storage. Unfortunately with SharePoint, successful delivery is not judged on whether the level of dial tone is appropriate. At the end of the day no amount of turd polishing via awesome support, consistent process or fast response time will make a crap solution anything other than a crap solution.

So this raises a couple of questions that readers should consider:

  1. Am I focusing too much (or too little) on dial tone governance?
  2. What are the other governance areas that I need to focus on?

As it happens, I have some data we can use to answer them.

The hardest thing…

In 2009 I created my SharePoint Governance and Information Architecture class. The class is attended by a wide variety of roles, from BAs to PMs, CIOs as well as developers and tech dudes. It has been delivered around the world with students representing just about every industry sector (including Microsoft employees). This combination of varied audience, varied industry sectors and geographic location has provided a lot of insight, because at the start of every class, I ask students to introduce themselves, and tell the class what they feel is the hardest thing about SharePoint delivery and I dialogue map the answers.

Can you see the logic of this question? By listing all of the areas that is hard about SharePoint delivery, what should emerge are the areas we should be focusing on. Why? Well the hard bits are likely to be the areas of most risk when it comes to a failed or stressed deployment.

So let’s go through the answers given to me from a few SPGovIA classes. Maybe there are some consistent patterns that emerge. It will also be interesting to see how much of it is dial tone governance.

Brisbane 2012 and Melbourne 2010

First up, here are the answers I captured from a small class in Brisbane in 2012:

  • Explaining what SharePoint is
  • User uptake (“People do not like new things”)
  • Managing proliferation of SharePoint sites
  • Too much IT ownership (“Sick of IT people telling me that SP is the solution”)
  • Users don’t know what they want
  • Difficulties around SP ownership because of a lack of accountability

For me some interesting things emerge already, but before we get into detail, let’s look at a Melbourne class answering this question two years earlier and see if any consistent patterns.

  • Every project is “new” (“Traditional ASP.NET web site development is ‘same old same old’)
  • In SharePoint you can do things in many ways so the initial design takes longer
  • The solution is never the same as the initial design and the end client may not realise this. The implication is gaps between expectation and delivery
  • Stakeholders don’t know what they want (“First time around what they sign off on is not what they want “)
  • Projects launched as “IT projects” with no clear deliverable and no success indicators
  • Lack of visibility as to what other organisations are doing
  • Determining limits and boundaries (“Doing anything ‘practically’ in SharePoint is hard”).
    • For example: We improved Ux in certain areas, but to extend to the entire feature set would take too long”
  • Managing expectations around SharePoint.
    • Clients with no experience think it can do everything
    • Difficulties getting information from and translating into design, so it can be implemented
  • Legacy of bad implementations makes it hard to win the business owner
  • Lack of governance
    • Viral spread of unmanaged sites
    • No proper requirements of “why”
    • No-one managing it

Some analysis…

The first thing that I notice is that if you go back to the start of this post and review the six f-laws, four are clearly represented here. We have stakeholders not knowing what they want which makes design hard (f-law 2), the gap between expectation and delivery (f-law 5), the problem of SharePoint projects being done as “IT projects” (f-law 6) with “no clear deliverables and no success indicators” (f-law 3). Other themes include lack of accountability and managing viral growth of sites, but the overwhelming theme that comes through for me is that of managing user expectations and buy-in.

A telling part about what is listed is that aside from the ever present issue of managing site sprawl, not too much of it is dial tone at this point. To see if this pattern continues, let’s head to Auckland New Zealand and see if the Kiwis are any more geeky than their Australian cousins…

Auckland 2011

  • Gap between expectations and reality
  • Accountabilities and role clarity around delivery
  • Knowledge transfer and ongoing maintenance (“Not everything is written down and when people leave, key critical information is lost. For example: Business rules set up at the start are lost over time”)
  • Helping people change practices (“Getting people to use it “)
  • Managing the growth over time (“the challenge of a large user base wanting to use it in different ways”)
  • It’s a big, complex product
  • The perception of “mystique” around SharePoint (“hard to know what not to do”)
  • Seen as another “IT service”
    • product selected because it’s Microsoft
    • the people who chose the product/delivering the product are IT
  • Translating the capabilities of the product to the needs of the user
    • Getting the business to understand SharePoint’s capability
    • Restrictions vs freedom
  • Ramp up time: The learning curve across all roles (tech and non tech)
  • The challenge of user requirements: Knowing the right questions to ask

Some more analysis…

It is clear that the themes that emerged from the two classes in Australia are also consistent here. The issue of stakeholder expectations came up straight away as well as the “IT driven project” issue (“seen as another ‘IT’ service”). Once again, the only real dial tone governance issue was the problem of managing site growth over time, but even then, it was framed more of an expectations issue (“the challenge of a large user base wanting to use it in different ways”). F-law 4 also copped a mention in terms of knowing the right questions to ask to get the right user requirements.

The additional themes that I noted from this group were:

  • complexity (“It’s a big, complex product“)
  • change management (“helping people change practices”)
  • the high learning curve of SharePoint for users
  • knowledge transfer over time the challenge of a large user base wanting to use the product in different ways.

<geek alert>Now if you are reading this and you manage complex infrastructure, let me assure you that tech people were in the classes</geek alert>. Also, since Australia and New Zealand are culturally quite similar to each other, it could be argued that we are not taking into account different cultures. So let’s find out what a 2012 class in Singapore had to say…

Singapore 2012

  • Trying to deal with the sheer number of features
  • “A totally different kind of concept”
    • A little knowledge can be dangerous
    • If you start with the wrong footing, you end up messing it up
  • Trying to deal with “I need SharePoint”
  • SharePoint for an external web site was difficult to use. Unfriendly structure for a public facing website
  • Trying to get users to use it (Steep learning curve for users)
  • The need for “deep discussion” to ensure SharePoint is put in for the right reasons. Without this, the result is messy, disorganised portals
  • The gap between the business and IT results in a sub optimal deployment
  • Demonstrating value to the business (SharePoint installed, but its potential is not being realized)
  • Stakeholders not appreciating the implication of product versus platform
  • You are working across the entire business (The disconnect between management/coalface)
  • “Everything hurts with SharePoint”
  • Facilitating the discussion at the business level is hard when your background is IT

Final Analysis

Once again the answers provided by Singapore attendees is extraordinarily consistent with the other three classes we looked at. User expectations and adoption were at the forefront, complexity was there, as was the business/IT disconnect as well as demonstrating business value. The theme of platitudes (f-law 4) and confusing the means from the ends (f-law 1) was apparent with the comment about dealing with the “I need SharePoint” issue.

I also note that the Singapore group seemed to have a greater recognition of their weaknesses – particularly with SharePoint as a “totally different type of concept” quote and last comment about difficulties facilitating discussion “when your background is IT”. I also noted one potential dial-tone comment about the difficulty of deploying SharePoint as a public facing website. Another emergent complexity related theme here is the perennial problem of SharePoint’s ample supply of features (and caveats) which risks an inappropriate up-front design decision that has negative consequences later (“Trying to deal with the sheer number of features,“ “A little knowledge can be dangerous” & “If you start with the wrong footing, you end up messing it up.”)

Finally, I particularly liked the comment about the “need for “deep discussion” to ensure SharePoint is put in for the right reasons” – that one was made by one of the Microsofties who attended the class.

Conclusions and takeaways

My own conclusion from this examination is that the responses from class attendees illustrate that dial tone governance (which is best termed as IT assurance) is necessary, but certainly not sufficient. The focus on IT assurance is a reflection of the lens that IT looks through. After all, when your performance is judged on keeping things running smoothly and reliably, it makes sense that you will focus on this.

But as illustrated by the responses, it seems that IT assurance isn’t all that hard. If it was, then why didn’t dial tone topics come up with more frequency in the responses?

So IT people, always remember f-law 1. The word ‘govern’ means to steer. We aim to steer the energy and resources available for the greatest benefit to all. Assurance on the other hand provides confidence in a product’s suitability for its intended purpose. It is a set of activities intended to ensure that customer requirements are satisfied in a systematic, reliable fashion. (I didn’t make that up by the way – that is how the ISO9000 family of standards for quality management described assurance).

The key takeaway is that to be effective and successful you actually need to apply both governance and assurance. You cannot have one without the other. Whether you have the balance right between dial tone and all the other stuff is for you to decide. So rather than focus on the stuff you already know well, perhaps it is worth asking yourself what you find hard and focus there as well.

Thanks for reading

Paul Culmsee

30 in 30 Interview: Mark Fidelman – Social Influence

 

2013-01-25-30In30MarkFidelman-01.jpgMark Fidelman and I met a year ago over breakfast in New York City. At that time, he was in the beginning stages of formalizing the concepts for his book, Socialized.

In this conversation we talk about how to mobilize communities to action and Mark’s thoughts on trends we’ll see in social media..

Listen to the discussion: http://soundcloud.com/nothingbut-2/mark-fidelman-social-influence

SharePoint – Creating a Custom ToolPart for a Custom Web Part


You may also be interested in: Find and Move Files from anywhere to SharePoint with Skybrary


 

Editor’s note: Contributor Adeel Ehsan is a Developer / IT Trainer in Dubai, UAE

Using the SharePoint object model it is easily possible to create a custom properties panel for a custom Web Part, known as ToolPart.

While creating custom Web Parts, we might need to create a custom properties panel that appears when we edit a Web Part using the browser. In this article we will see how to do that using Visual Studio 2010.

Default ToolPart

The following figure shows the default toolpart that appears when we edit a Web Part:

2013-01-29-CustomToolpart-01.png

Creating a Standard Web Part

Using Visual Studio 2010, create an Empty SharePoint Project and add a standard Web Part in it. Modify the code as below:



IMPORTANT:
The standard Web Part class must inherit from Microsoft.SharePoint.WebPartPages.WebPart class. This will give us an override-able method GetToolParts that is fired to get the toolparts for a Web Part. This method is returning all toolparts for the Web Part in the form of an array of type Microsoft.SharePoint.WebPartPages.ToolPart. To add a custom toolpart we need to create a custom class in the same project inheriting from Microsoft.SharePoint.WebPartPages.ToolPart class.

Add the following class after the Web Part class in the same project:



In the Visual Studio solution explorer, right click and click on Deploy.

Testing the web part:

  1. Open the SharePoint site in the browser for which the project was built and deployed.
  2. On the home page, or any page, Edit and insert the Web Part. You will find the Web Part in Custom category by default.
  3. We will see the following after adding the web part on the page:
  4. 2013-01-29-CustomToolpart-02.png

  5. Click on the small dropdown icon and Edit the Web Part, we will see our custom toolpart like:
  6. 2013-01-29-CustomToolpart-03.png

  7. Try to change the two properties and see the effect on the output of the Web Part.

One Final Tweak:

If we would like to just display our own custom toolpart, then modify the GetToolPart() method in the standard Web Part class like the following:



The above will make sure that you see only your custom toolpart like this:

2013-01-29-CustomToolpart-04.png

Resources:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/microsoft.sharepoint.webpartpages.webpart.aspx
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/microsoft.sharepoint.webpartpages.toolpart.aspx

My Users Don’t Like SharePoint Because of Me (you)!


You may also be interested in: SharePoint-based solutions by B&R Business Solutions


 

Editor’s note: Contributor David Lozzi is a SharePoint Architect at Slalom Consulting. Follow him @DavidLozzi

2013-01-24-DontLikeSharePoint-Part07-01.jpg

How many times have you come home and said to your spouse “I didn’t do my job today, I did this and that, but not my actual job.” SharePoint might be in that list of stuff that’s not on your list.

I bet your busy. We’re all busy. With emails flying around, expectations are set high. “I sent you that email 5 minutes ago, why isn’t it done?” Part of your job might be to administer your SharePoint site or farm. People think a quick fix, like adding a list, should only take a few minutes, but in reality you have a longer list of requests, and this new request has piled up on the bottom.

I don’t want to get into career advice, however there are some simple things you can do, even today, to help your pile of tasks and define your job:

  • Understand what your job is. If you have become a SharePoint admin because you showed interest, does your manager know? Talk with your manager and define your job, including the things you do with SharePoint. Get on the same page with your manager, it’ll make the rest easier. Get your job description redefined (which could lead to a raise ;).
  • As requests come in, set an expectation as soon as possible. Setting an expectation might just be “I’ll have this done by 3pm” or “I’ll look this over tomorrow morning and let you know when it’ll be done then.” Just letting someone know you received and you have a plan to take care of is all it takes. Let them reply and set the urgency, and based on the person (your manager or manager’s peer or higher) you might set a higher level of urgency.
  • Build margin into your day: giving yourself an extra hour of unplanned time allows you to plan for the unexpected. Yes, you can predict the future and plan for what you don’t know. Just give yourself the time. Like budgeting your finances, budget your time. NEVER schedule a full day, that’s crazy, and how so many people burn out. Set aside time you won’t plan to use. Oh, you’ll use it, but if you leave it open, it lets you breathe. For instance, if you work 9 hour days, plan 30 mins for lunch, and an extra hour for margin, leaving you 7.5 hours for planned, scheduled tasks, meetings, etc. If you have to, put a fake appointment into your calendar so no one can book your time. It’s not skipping out on work or doing less, it’s simply managing time to make you more effective, and less stressed.
    • For example, I have 5 tasks to do, and I’ve guessed at how long they’ll take: Task 1, 2 hours, Task 2, 2 hours, Task 3, 1 hour, Task 4, 2 hours and Task 5, 1 hour. That’s 8 hours, but since I’m only going to schedule 7.5 hours, I only expect to complete 4. I set the expectation on Task 5 that it’ll get done tomorrow. I keep myself 1 hour for margin. Task 3 takes 30 mins longer than I anticipated. No big deal, I have some room to finish it off without rushing or stressing out. When I’m done with Task 4, I realize I have about 30 minutes left today, so I start in on Task 5, giving me a head start for tomorrow. Blamo, I now have 30 mins MORE margin tomorrow.

  • Find another resource to help. Let others run their own SharePoint sites to offload you. We visited this in a previous post, but I think it’s work repeating. Don’t be the bottleneck, you can’t take the stress, let others help.

These are basic ideas, but can help tremendously. Set expectations, and give yourself some reasonable amount of time to complete them, and offload to someone else if possible. If the unexpected happens, relax, you planned for it.

2013-01-24-DontLikeSharePoint-Part07-02.jpg

Too funny, right? “I just don’t care”. Do you? I hope that if you have been following along in my little series here, that you do in fact care, and maybe this part of the post isn’t for you. If you received this post via a shared link, maybe someone’s trying to tell you something.

I opened this series with one of three issues with SharePoint being ‘haters gonna hate‘. Not an actual issue with SharePoint, but with the people around it. I’ve worked with IT personnel who don’t want it, don’t want to work with it, will slow down our progress trying to implement it and so on. We can’t do much with these people for some reason. Are there jobs really that secure, that if they don’t properly engage a business initiative their job isn’t at risk? What a life…

If this happens to be you: you don’t care about SharePoint in your company, you drag your feet, you have ‘forgotten’ about emails regarding hardware for SharePoint, ‘accidentally’ rebooted a server in the middle of an install: stop it! Step up or step out. Stop trying, stop pretending to care, move onto a project that you do care about. Your lack of caring not only affects you, but also your work output.

I know you think your job is secure, but don’t you want to do something that means something to you? Find what matters to you, this will improve your overall satisfaction at work, and give you a reason to apply yourself more and ultimately produce better work. If you’re unhappy at work, it affects your life, everywhere. Do something about it. Let someone else in, someone who will take it and run with it in and do a better job. Seriously.

2013-01-24-DontLikeSharePoint-Part07-03.jpg

Finally, if you do care, and you want to make SharePoint a successful solution in your organization, ask for help. Don’t be afraid. Talk with your manager and see what could be done to offload some other tasks. If that’s not possible, hit the SharePoint community. Ask questions, simple and complex, on SharePoint.StackExchange and the MSDN forums. Contact bloggers, tweet with #SPHelp, reach out and ask for help.

We’re here to help, try us!

Til next week, Happy SharePointing!

30 in 30: Thirty Interviews in Thirty Days – 17 Down, 13 to Go

 

In the past two weeks, I’ve been on a tear, interviewing 17 social media and community experts on their vision of what social looks like and how it is transforming business. This is my “mid-project update” with a table of contents so that you can select subjects of interest to you.

The interviews are short, 10 to 15 minute audio segments where I ask questions that interest me. We start with a simple premise and move on from there. None of the people knew in advance what the questions would be. In reality, neither did I. I just wanted to have a real discussion and hear what was of interest to each of them.

The interviews have multiple ways to access them: listen to them on the site, download them to listen later, or embed them directly on your site if there is a subject of particular interest. The embed looks REALLY cool with some great functionality, so you might want to try that out if you’ve got a blog.

The series will continue for the next two weeks. I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am producing it.

2013-01-29-30In30Update-01.png 2013-01-29-30In30Update-02.png 2013-01-29-30In30Update-03.png 2013-01-29-30In30Update-04.png 2013-01-29-30In30Update-05.png 2013-01-29-30In30Update-06.png 2013-01-29-30In30Update-07.png 2013-01-29-30In30Update-08.png 2013-01-29-30In30Update-09.png 2013-01-29-30In30Update-10.png 2013-01-29-30In30Update-11.png 2013-01-29-30In30Update-12.png 2013-01-29-30In30Update-13.png 2013-01-29-30In30Update-14.png 2013-01-29-30In30Update-15.png 2013-01-29-30In30Update-16.png 2013-01-29-30In30Update-17.png

  1. Hidden Value in Social Media with Mark W Schaefer
  2. Find the Value in Social Media with Marjorie Clayman
  3. Social Media in Childhood Education with Alive Wilder
  4. Gamification and the Science of Social with Michael Wu
  5. How to Keep 670,000 People Engaged with Hugh Evans
  6. The LinkedIn Diva Gives Her Vision of Networking with Lori Ruff
  7. Measure the Community Effect in the Enterprise with Rachel Happe
  8. Building an Online Audience  with Steve Olsher
  9. Consumerism vs Producerism  with Steve Faktor
  10. Old School Media Story with Josh Veselka
  11. Influencer Platforms  with Danny Brown
  12. $1.3 Billion in 10 Months: How We Did It  with Mitch Hansen
  13. Crowd Sourcing the Experts  with Michael Weinberg
  14. Social Influence  with Mark Fidelman
  15. Social and SharePoint  with Michael Gannotti
  16. Influence Marketing  with Sam Fiorella
  17. Podcasting Equipment with Todd Klindt

30 in 30 Interview: Michael Gannotti – Social and SharePoint

 

2013-01-25-30In30MichaelGannotti-01.jpgMichael Gannotti was one of the first people I started copying when I began my social and community building journey in SharePoint.

In our discussion here, we talk about what he has done on his own and what Microsoft’s vision of the future might be.

Listen to the discussion: http://soundcloud.com/nothingbut-2/michael-gannotti-social-and

SharePoint 2013 – Windows Phone Newsfeed App


You may also be interested in: Critical Path Training


 

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

I am a big fan of the new Social features in SharePoint 2013. Microsoft really improved Social in SharePoint. The My Site contains a newsfeed that finally supports microblogging features. You can use hash-tags, likes and mention other colleagues.

Social in SharePoint 2013 makes it possible to break organizational barriers. You can share information and knowledge with the whole organization and this is not limited to your own department.

I wrote an article about it for the DIWUG magazine. You can click here to read it.

At the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, a mobile SharePoint 2013 Newsfeed app was announced. This immediately grabbed my attention because now the physical location barrier is also broken! You can be in your car, an airplane or on the train and still be Social with your colleagues.

Let’s take a closer look at the app!

Newsfeed

2013-01-25-NewsfeedApp-01.png

The app starts with an overview of updates from the colleagues you are following. You can click on a colleagues name and the About page opens:

2013-01-25-NewsfeedApp-02.png

You can contact Paul by sending him an e-mail or with a newsfeed message through the mention option:

2013-01-25-NewsfeedApp-03.png

The message is shared with the whole organization but you can also select a team site:

2013-01-25-NewsfeedApp-04.png

This list contains all the sites you are following. Every team or project site contains a newsfeed. You can see this is a private newsfeed. Only colleagues with read permissions can view the messages.

By default the updates from the colleagues you are following are shown but you have the option to view:

  • Everyone
  • Mentions
  • Me

The first two options speak for themselves but let’s take a closer look at Me:

2013-01-25-NewsfeedApp-05.png

You can view the people, documents and tags you are following.

People

2013-01-25-NewsfeedApp-06.png

The People tab has three views: Recent, Following and Followers. Unfortunately, there’s no option available to search for new colleagues to follow. You can only do this by opening the About me page in the Everyone view.

Documents

2013-01-25-NewsfeedApp-07.png

All the documents you are following are displayed. Every document has an About page:

2013-01-25-NewsfeedApp-08.png

You can open the document in the browser by clicking on open in Word. I did not have the option to edit the document. A pretty cool feature is the next slide: SkyDrive. You can view all your SkyDrive Pro documents.

Tags

2013-01-25-NewsfeedApp-09a.png

The Tags tab shows recently used hash-tags and the ones you are following. Every hash-tag, just like people and documents, has its own About page:

2013-01-25-NewsfeedApp-10a.png

Unfortunately, the hash-tag detail page does not show any related conversations. This feature is available in the browser.

I hope you got a good impression of the possibilities and current limitations of the app. Click here to download the app. At the moment, it only works with Office 365 Preview.

Improvements

Although I really like the new SharePoint Newsfeed app, there is room for improvement:

Lync integration

I would like to see an integration with Lync in the About me page of a colleague. I want to be able to contact Paul by starting a Lync chat.

Confusing adding new hash-tags

When you want to add a new hash-tag in a message you cannot use the # symbol at the bottom of the screen! You have to use the # in your keyboard. This is a bit confusing.

Follow colleagues

I can only follow a colleague by clicking on the About me page. This should also be possible from the People tab.

Edit document in browser

I can view the documents I am following but I am not able to edit the content in the browser.

30 in 30 Interview: Sam Fiorella – Influence Marketing

 

2013-01-25-30In30SamFiorella-01.jpgSam has a new book coming out with Danny Brown that turns the idea of social influence measurements on its head. Is this talk, we discuss Sam’s theories of how influencers should be identified and how they might be used to help spread your message.

Listen to the discussion: http://soundcloud.com/nothingbut-2/sam-fiorella-january-2013

16 ways to get your users actually using SharePoint properly


You may also be interested in: SharePoint evolution conference 2013


 

Editor’s note: Contributor Andrew Gilleran is a SharePoint Power User, based in Dublin Ireland. Follow him @agilleran

2013-01-24-16Ways-01.jpg

  1. Don’t call it SharePoint. Seriously. Most users don’t care. If you have an intranet or portal then that is the name to use and promote. Oh, don’t use ‘end user adoption’ either in anything you do.

  2. Get some SharePoint champions, train them, support them, love them. They will use it more than most and will be keen to learn and provide ideas and solutions. They will also help others.
  3. Pick some quick wins that users can do easily. Examples include alerts, document libraries, import spread sheets, etc. Focus on document management at the start and how they can share team documents easily without using email all the time.
  4. Regular short training sessions but don’t call them training sessions, 30 minutes at the most. Focus on teaching a max of 3 things at each session and keep it short.
  5. Get teams together for sessions on getting the most out of a team or project site. Ask them how they use information, how they work, how they create documents, etc. You will get ideas from the feedback and you should be able to show them solutions that are relevant to them. All teams are different, only by talking to them will you get some good insights.
  6. Show how lists can be used for tracking and managing activities/tasks especially with support type areas like IT helpdesks or other systems that support users.
  7. Ask what do they use Excel for now. Show how to import Excel files into lists and what these list can do then (sorting, filtering, etc.).
  8. Reporting: reports are like a rash in any business. They can spread like wildfire. Once they have gotten through the above, have a look at doing dashboards and connecting data and web parts. This builds on from using Excel in No.7.
  9. Show them what web parts can do, they are the windows of the site and are very valuable for presenting information within a site.
  10. Ask questions, talk to people. Don’t assume everyone is happy with it (highly unlikely). Don’t expect users to come to you with queries though they will. Talk to them about how they work. The most common one I’ve found is that large documents are emailed to a load of people clogging up mailboxes and no idea whether they are read or not.
  11. Show them the metrics (see my article on SharePoint Analytics). When I show the visitor numbers and who is looking at a the site it never fails to impress people. Sure it’s basic from a web analytics point of view but it does the job at team site level.
  12. Paper trail/audit: Show how there is a history and audit trail in using the platform. This is pretty critical for most businesses and is one of the key selling points of SharePoint.
  13. Build a non-business related site or process. For example I built a buy and sell classified market place site (think Craigslist for those in the USA) on our intranet that was very popular and got people using the platform. There were also many sports related sites that got plenty of traffic.
  14. Create one or two page quick guides on different things to do like permissions or document management. Users are more likely to read these. They will not wade through a large manual.
  15. You can also try online demo videos showing how something can be done. Screen capture software such as Camtasia or Wink are great for creating online demos. Your metrics and feedback will tell you if they are used or not.
  16. And don’t call it SharePoint.