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The SharePoint Hillbilly Fewer Big Words... More Pretty Pictures...

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.

And why???

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:

  1. Do it MY way
  2. 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.

Get Training!

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?

Posted on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 12:26 PM | Back to top


Comments on this post: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand

# re: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand
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Great post Mark! I've loved SharePoint, hated it's quirks, and tried to make it do things it shouldn't for 6 years now. In the end I was more the problem than the system.

The best reformers are prior addicts. What else might I suggest?

* Never stop learning. The target is constantly moving, we have to stay agile in this business. Blogs like this, others, books, podcasts, whatever.

* Test early and often. Feedback from others can save you a costly long trip down the wrong path. Helps keep the "forcing SP" risk in check.

* Drink heavily if needed. Yes, I said it. #SharePint can build social networks as easily as forget past pains.

Left by Jeff Jones on Oct 13, 2009 1:07 PM

# re: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand
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good stuff - nice read. Zit realy made me quezy

:)
Left by Lee Gaupp on Oct 13, 2009 2:29 PM

# re: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand
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Well written article and SO TRUE. Genuinely listening to folks and then educating them goes a long way to making life better for everyone.

And, as Jeff points out, #SharePint FTW :)
Left by Deanna McNeil on Oct 13, 2009 4:21 PM

# re: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand
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Love this article! I agree with many of the points you have made. Mr. Furuknaps raises some interesting points but it's really understanding the technology and working with it.
Left by Kanwal Khipple on Oct 13, 2009 6:32 PM

# re: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand
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As an Information Architect, I think the biggest problem with SharePoint is that companies don't take time to build a great user experience on top of the platform. SP out of the box has usability problems, but they can be solved/worked around.
Left by Jim Kauffman on Oct 14, 2009 8:47 AM

# re: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand
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Excellent article

"You can FORCE SharePoint to do whatever you want, the question is, is it worth the time and effort?" - so true
Left by amila on Oct 14, 2009 10:13 AM

# re: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand
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Great post, very true, I always use the line "SharePoint can cure cancer you know" as so many people think it can do EVERYTHING! ;-) its a dangerous tipping scale when you start bending it to do things it shouldn't be doing. It comes back down to the 80/20 rule which i've discussed before http://wss.made4the.net/archive/2009/08/11/sharepoint-implementations-the-8020-rule.aspx
Left by Jeremy Thake on Oct 14, 2009 6:19 PM

# re: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand
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The one single problem with SharePoint haters is that they come skipping into the SharePoint world expecting everything……….. a complete solution!!! But take a moment and define a "complete solution"? It can mean many things to different people. It is in my humble opinion that no technology out there can be termed as "complete". They all have their limits, pitfalls and drawbacks. And SharePoint is no different. But the beauty about SharePoint is that, if you learn how to play to its strengths, then success is assured. Totally agree with the post on every point shared :)
Left by Harish Mathanan on Oct 14, 2009 7:39 PM

# re: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand
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I completely agree. I dont understand what is with all the SharePoint hatred out there. I was just asked to put upa Wiki site at my work. I said ok.. we'll put it in SharePoint. My boss said "Eh, I don't want to put this in SharePoint" So we have thousands of dollars dumped into our SharePoint infrastructure and use it for everything else, now we are going to create a "robust" php/mysql infrastructure JUST to run something like MediaWiki. Which is a fine applications, dont get me wrong. BUT WE HAVE SHAREPOINT ALREADY. Why is there so much SharePoint hate. Sure it can be a pain to work with sometimes but in the end.. Nothing else really compares when you get down to all the additional features and integration possibilities.
Sorry.. there's my rant
Left by Used Copy Machine on Oct 18, 2009 12:42 PM

# re: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand
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Many interesting points in your article. I think if someone does not like sharepoint is normal, but being hater, what for. It is only a portal solution with many benefits.
Left by Indo on Oct 20, 2009 3:24 AM

# re: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand
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Mark,

While I know that you have seen this, I would like to point any other readers to the conclusion post of the SharePoint Sucks series:

http://furuknap.blogspot.com/2009/10/sharepoint-sucks-and-heres-why-i-still.html

Just so that nobody thinks I'm a SharePoint hater :-)

.b
Left by Bjørn Furuknap on Oct 24, 2009 6:55 AM

# re: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand
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Are you saying that if SharePoint products fail to get the attention and loyalty of its users, it is because of those users? Don't you think that a certian product would still succeed no matter how close-minded the people are or no matter how cowardly they are to try new things, as long as the product is really good?
Left by adult site reviews on Oct 31, 2009 10:17 PM

# re: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand
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There is no way that the time investment in learning SharePoint will ever return a profit. You can spend two years of your life becomming an expert and charging big dollars for your services but it is still not worth it. The environment changes faster than you can recoup your investment thus requiring further investment. Your better off learning easy tools and becomming productive quickly. When the world changes, you change with it with minor investment of time. Let the tool do all the work. SharePoint is a money pit for development. SharePoint is a nice end-user tool.
Left by Tony on Nov 16, 2009 3:09 PM

# Ridiculous
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I have to say.. pffff...

What is wrong with you people?

"Because they just don’t understand! "

Would you use your arguments for people buying a car, a house, a tool, of any kind?

Shit, aimed at providing a service or solution to a task, is meant to be easy. Full stop. Easy to use, easy to learn. If you can't provide that. Stop trying and please don't push crap like Sharepoint. Do it right or don't do it.

"Oh, my car has a square steering wheel which needs to be fastened manually on sundays and mondays." Live with it. It is microsoft.
Left by Peter on Apr 18, 2010 11:09 AM

# re: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand
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Valuable post!
I think I purely and clearly understand the article so there's really no argue.
GREAT!
Left by Kyle on May 26, 2010 4:29 PM

# re: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand
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Some interesting points, I particularly like Bjørn Furuknaps' series. I'm going to have to put myself in the 'haters' category.

As a developer, and in a job where we write a lot of custom applications from scratch in asp.net.

It appears to me that SharePoint requires too much investment time from a developer. We also got 'duped' into using InfoPath forms in SharePoint, and that has turned out to be the biggest pain in the arse - nice simple form to begin with then the user requirements change, and you get into a big mess - because it's not straightforward - you can put this down to developer confusion.

But then why not a Web app - perhaps this is because I'm a developer, and I see all the custom bits I can do.

I can see the benefits, if you just want the front-end for basic users - maybe! But I don't get why a developer would want to invest the time, and be stuck with what sharepoint demands.
Left by Duncan on Jul 27, 2011 1:41 AM

# re: There’s No Need to Argue, SharePoint Haters Just Don’t Understand
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All the books I have read and websites I have seen all have hardcoded data, url's and uid's. It looks like it is all about xml editing and style formatting in unreadable formatting. I really don't get what sharepoint does to help you. It is all about application and not automation, meaning that all you do is old and outdated by the time you finally manage to get it up and running on production. Yes, I fully admit to absolutely hate sharepoint. It is a large facade of nothing at all. Toys for managers and mind numbing for developers (well, developer.... code monkey)
Left by smackwacker on Mar 05, 2012 4:13 AM

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