Being on the top of your game…

More often than not as practitioners and professionals we find ourselves working across several tasks and projects, mentoring staff members and working on curriculum for training opportunities to help grow teams of individuals leaving little time for ourselves. This video reminded me that we all need to take a step back at times and realize that sometimes it’s not worth it – if we over extend ourselves then we don’t quite perform at the level of excellence that individuals may expect which in turn could lead to disasters… so bottom line, remember to breath for a moment and reflect on the important things and people in your life – focus on the things that make you happy and pursue them so that you can continue to have a buffer in your life that helps you to perform at a level of excellence like no other… and don’t let your house explode 😉

As a side note, I’m not advocating DirectTV, just reminding you of the adverse effects 😉

SharePoint Practices Poll Results

During the Holiday break I threw a quickly developed poll up on Survey Monkey to see what folks perceptions were of their favorite SharePoint Practice in the Washington, DC area.  The results were eye-opening. Okay, not really. The results were non-scientific backing, further lacking turnout and non-repudiation controls.  One major control that was lacking was the ability to limit individuals to a single vote (I have a hunch some individuals may have double voted). Further with only a small subset of the SharePoint community voting, the results were incomplete and only took into account the perceptions of those voting.  What this poll did show was that there were indeed individuals near their computing devices that had the stamina to click on a link and then make a selection followed by clicking on a submit button – well played friends.

Nonetheless, there were 34 practices that were entered into the poll and the top ten practices that were selected in order of popularity in this very non-scientific poll:

Ranking Practice
1 ActionNet
2 Summit 7 Systems
3 Booz Allen Hamilton
WinSmarts
5 Microsoft
6 Innovative-e
Portal Solutions
Planet Technologies
9 MetroStar Systems
InfoReliance

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So what does all of this mean? Not much, except that folks were able to click through a poll.

I’m sure that the raw data could be spun in some manner or fashion, but due to the non-scientific collection means and lack of controls in place, I figured it would be more interesting to make note of the practices that did show up in the top ten. Each of these practices do great work in the DC area, Nationally and Internationally.  All of the practices listed likewise  have great people working for them, that in turn have excellent results.

So what’s next?  Speaking with my friend and caped crusader, Joel Ward, we’ve tossed around ideas of how to better poll the community but from a different angle. Perhaps rather than just voting on the best practice to work for, we take an inside look with practice members and managers to find out more about their methods, their approaches and what their expertise is.  Call it reporting and showcasing SharePoint excellence throughout the community.

Practices in original non-scientific poll – ActioNet, Applied Information Sciences, Aquilent, Inc., BlackBlade Associates, Booz Allen Hamilton, Bravo Consulting Group, CACI, CDW, ComSys, Deloitte, Digicon Corporation, HP, i3 Solutions, InfoReliance, Information Strategies, Innovative-e, JHC Technology, Juniper Strategy, LLC, Lockheed Martin, MetroStar Systems, MicroLink, Microsoft, Northrop Grumman, Planet Technologies, Portal Solutions, Perficient, RDA, Satory Global, Smartronix, Inc., Sogeti, Summit 7 Systems, Watkins IT, WinSmarts

I just wish someone would adopt me…

Have you spent hours upon hours building the Mecca of SharePoint 2010 deployments? Honing and refining the BCS code that ties into your sales backend system to pull data across the wire that allows your business users to leverage PowerPivot to rotate their data around and find out things about their sales and marketing efforts? User adoption rates are soaring and you find yourself with brown bag sessions led by power users that are redefining the way you do work because of the SharePoint platform. You have? Well friends that’s amazing considering the product has only been RTM’d for about six months now 🙂

Seriously all kidding aside though, it seems more and more often, the technology departments of organizations see SharePoint 2010 and they see it as a godsend. Expeditiously they create a task force and press forth upon performing data calls, developing requirements and formulating the technical business case for a SharePoint system only. Before you know it you’ve got servers arriving on palettes to supplement your VMWare Hosting Center that you’ve slowly been building out, Software licenses pouring in and integrators salivating to begin implementing solutions to solve business users problems.

Wait, did someone say business user? I thought that the technology group just had its own purposes in mind when they were developing this solution. Yikes, end user 0, technology user 1.

It’s common habit for techies to fall in love with a software product or platform and forget that unlike the rest of the organization their feelings toward it may be a little different than those of the average user. Further while there definitely may be a need for SharePoint 2010, more often than not, the end user’s requirements get lost somewhere along the way or generalized. So the system gets built, the interface refined, and the door hangers to announce the system going live are printed and hung, but the end users are a little perplexed how to use this system or what it’s there for.

So how do we fix that? How do we as techies turn around and develop a solution that’s worthwhile to the end user, helping augment their already busy and stressful schedules with a real tool suite that enhances their productivity? Easy, we work on adoption strategies.

Okay, so that was a lot easier said than done. 🙂

Fear not though, Scott Jamison and Susan Hanley have partnered up to produce a fantastic whitepaper entitled “SharePoint 2010 Adoption Best Practices”. It’s available through the ‘Soft’s Download Center at:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=94ee6518-75f7-47be-b4c1-0d6ec1248486

Definitely worth the time to read and refine your business approach for adoption of SharePoint 2010. It’s more than just the technology that will truly show the value of the platform by enabling the users to develop solutions that will enhance their work life quality. As you’ll come to find, the technology, while powerful becomes indispensible once the end user is empowered.