You know haters are the same
No matter time nor place
They don't understand that SharePoint
Is going to take time and you’ll make some mistakes
So to you other SharePointers all across the land
There's no need to argue
SharePoint Haters just don't understand
Remember when Will Smith had talent? :)
It’s time to become a Reformed SharePoint Hater!
Do you know the number one problem with SharePoint? What one things stops SharePoint from living up to all that it promises??? People! People that aren't willing to take the time to learn the tool suite that they're presented with. From consultants and advisors who promise you that it will slice, dice, remove blood stains, and cure all that ails your organization to end users who dislike changing the way they work (even if it does make them more effective and efficient). The biggest obstacle to the success of SharePoint in your organization is the lack of vision and understanding by both those that you're building your SharePoint environment for and those actually implementing and configuring the SharePoint environment.
Because they just don’t understand!
The end users don't know the inner workings of SharePoint or what they can do as a power user. They try to compare SharePoint with what they already know (or may not know for that matter). Many users are put off because SharePoint “looks like SharePoint” and they turn their nose up. Many organizations do not properly train their end users and just dump it in their lap (there’s a recipe for hatred and failure).
There are IT Professionals all across the United States and the world that fear SharePoint. Not because it's difficult or ugly or because it’s from Microsoft (well, some do because of Microsoft), but due to the breadth of the product. From my limited experience, SharePoint is a beast all its own. If you don’t learn it (or at least a large component of it), she will eat your lunch.
Don’t get me wrong, SharePoint and I very much have a love/hate relationship. Today in fact, it was more hate than love. Every time I try something new and creative in SharePoint I find I am presented with two options:
- Do it MY way
- Let SharePoint do what she wants to do (if anyone wants to argue that SharePoint is a female, that’s a whole other blog post!)
I will be so determined to make SharePoint do my bidding that I will ignore the subtle nuances of what SharePoint wants to do and it never works quite right. However, if I stop and think and work WITH SharePoint we usually come up with a nice compromise that will take care of my needs nicely… and we get along… until next time. This is particularly true when I use Out of the Box functionality in SharePoint - taking a step back and realizing what can be done without too much code, just configuration and a little customization and we get along well. On the flip side, if I really want it to do my bidding I can make it do and look like whatever I want if I'm willing to put in the time and write the code. You can FORCE SharePoint to do whatever you want, the question is, is it worth the time and effort?
I have found that many of the SharePoint Haters are the way they are because they can’t get past the “I want it MY way!” mentality. Apparently the Silver Spoon mentality of the rising generation doesn't necessarily mesh well with the constraints and basis that SharePoint puts in place. I had to explain to a user today that I could not make a datasheet view be filtered by the query string and they were appalled at such a “fault” because SharePoint couldn’t do something SO simple! However, when I demonstrated the application to a group of users and showed them how you can manually filter the datasheet there was not one complaint. Why? Because they were fine with working WITH SharePoint and using the tool suite properly.
Many SharePoint Haters will compare SharePoint to other products out there and find themselves let down and disappointed. If they're willing to step back and use the tool suite to accomplish their needs and build solutions on one another, they quickly find themselves entranced by the power of SharePoint.
Bjørn Furuknaps (@Furuknap) has a great blog post on why SharePoint Sucks: SharePoint Sucks – And Here’s Why – Part 1
It’s actually a great read, brings up some decent points, and reveals a lot of the inner hatred for SharePoint. Let’s face it, when I first started using SharePoint I hated it with the fire of a thousand suns! It was slow, stupid, looked uglier than the biggest zit in the world! And then I looked under the covers and I became even MORE enraged! “I have to do WHAT to develop a freaking custom workflow? You’ve got to be freaking kidding me!!?!!” It was not pretty.
Bjørn also makes a point that SharePoint is a bunch of “mediocre” tools, so why not get the best tool you need if that’s all you need. Excellent point. However, I believe SharePoint is above Mediocre in many aspects. Take Content Management for example. SharePoint is a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Management. Let’s face it, Content Management does not get much simpler than SharePoint. It has an easy to use and configure approval/publish process. You can roll back changes easily, and there’s no upfront cost to implement CMS every time you create a site! We currently use another CMS tool for our non-SharePoint sites (and I really hope it goes away soon). It took me 3 DAYS to set up my development environment to just compile a website that used this well known CMS tool! And it still did not work right! The replication process is cumbersome, you have copies of your site all over the place, and we have to babysit the replications to make sure they don’t hang or break the site! Our documentation for replication even has a step to make sure it didn’t hang, and if it does, just restart it until it works. REALLY??? Does that sound better than SharePoint?? This is a “well respected” and expensive CMS tool and it SUCKS compared to SharePoint. I also think SharePoint is excellent for Collaboration and quick site development/deployment if you have your governance in place and admins who know the platform.
So, here I am. Almost two years into SharePoint. I spent most of the first year cursing and loathing, then I started to learn and understand. I’m a reformed SharePoint Hater now. I guess the big questions is: “How do I become a Reformed SharePoint Hater?”. I’m glad you asked. Just following these simple steps:
Take time to LEARN SharePoint
I firmly believe you cannot be “taught” SharePoint. You have to LEARN it. You have to take the time to read about it, look under the covers, play with it, and learn exactly what it can and can’t do. If you spend hours and hours trying to make SharePoint do your bidding when you are trying to make it do something it was not designed for, you will become a SharePoint Hater
Stop trying to make SharePoint something it’s not!
Just STOP it! Stop comparing it to what you know. Yes, you may be able to find better tools to do some of what SharePoint does. Do you want to maintain a bunch of tools? Do you want to try upgrading multiple tools without breaking something? Do you want to have to deal with customer support from umpteen different companies? Are they THAT much better? If ALL you need is one aspect of SharePoint then you should NOT be using SharePoint. If you want to leverage all that SharePoint can do, there is no better platform. Trying to make SharePoint bend to your will and be something it’s not is the biggest cause of SharePoint Haters.
Learn Best Practices!
There are some out there (and many blogs on the subject). Avoid common pitfalls that will make SharePoint an even bigger piece of Junk than what you were replacing. If a user has to search through levels and levels of folders to find their document like they did in their Shared Drive, they will become a SharePoint Hater
Invest in Hardware!
Or VMware… regardless, put some horsepower behind your SharePoint. Research increasing performance on your farms, there’s a lot of great info out there on performance too. People are impatient! If SharePoint takes too long to display a page they are going to be a SharePoint Hater. “It didn’t used to take this long”
Ask For Help!
There are a ton of brilliant people out there. Many are very helpful. If you spend hours and hours by yourself trying to figure out what “Unkown Error” means, you will become a SharePoint Hater.
Before you dump SharePoint on your development staff or admins, get some good training! At one point training for SharePoint was pretty pathetic, but there is a lot of great information and courses out there now. Please try to get your staff properly trained BEFORE you implement SharePoint. Not doing so will breed SharePoint Haters.
Train your End Users
Yes! SharePoint is different. Yes! some things appear cumbersome. Yes! It takes time getting used to it, but if you don’t train your End Users on the SharePoint Goodness then your SharePoint implementation will fail! Did you read that? No matter how awesome or pretty your SharePoint Deployment is, without end user adoption you have no chance.
Admit you are a SharePoint Hater
Everyone at some point was or is a SharePoint Hater. If you don’t know what SharePoint is and are just reading my blog for my eloquence, trust me… you hate SharePoint too. This is not a bad thing though! People have been where you are, can understand your frustration, and are generally eager to help you so you won’t have to go through the same pains! Misery does love company, and you are not alone. Just knowing that makes SharePoint easier to handle and it helps ease the rage.
Take the time to become a Reformed SharePoint Hater. I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon, and do you really want to be miserable every day at work?
So, now it’s your turn. How do you suggest to reform a SharePoint Hater?