It was a warm sunny July afternoon. The lake was cool, calm, and inviting. Little Johnny sat on the bank of the lake skipping rocks while the rest of the cub scouts were out hiking in the woods. Johnny was soaking it all in, the vast lake with the little island in the middle. The bright blue sky, nothing but the sounds of the wind and the occasional bird. Yes, this was a perfect day and Johnny was enjoying every minute of it. However, Johnny got bored (as most little boys often do). He decided to take his shoes off and wade out into the cool, crisp water. The refreshing water and the soft sand between his toes only added to his enjoyment of the day. Yes, life was good… Johnny stood there, the water up to his knees now, looking at that small island in the middle of the lake. It looked so perfect. It had big trees for shade and a rope swing that could not be resisted by any mere mortal. The island was far away, but Johnny knew he could make it… so he leapt up out of the water to swim for it. “WHAM”… he was not such a good diver though and landed right on his now tomato red stomach…
“OUCH! That’s gonna leave a mark” Johnny thought. “No matter… I will make it to that island. I heard someone say there’s buried treasure there too… Nirvana awaits.”
Johnny started swimming. It was easy at first, but with each stroke he grew more and more tired. He had to stop and catch his breath several times. “Wow, that island is a lot further than I first thought.” Suddenly, Johnny had a horrible cramp and couldn’t move… “Why did I eat that chili dog for lunch?!?”. He tried to swim, but the pain was unbearable. It was all he could do to not sink to the depths of the lake, which now looked ominous and dark. This was not good, not good at all. Johnny tried to scream for help, but he was so tired and out of breath that he couldn’t make a sound. How could this have happened? It was such a perfect day! Little Johnny was losing hope. Is this how it would end? In pain, out of breath, scared, and without hope Johnny looked up and realized the island was right in front of him. Johnny was suddenly filled with hope as he painfully inched his way closer to the island… closer and closer.. almost there. He was so close he knew that his feet would touch the bottom at any moment now. He was going to make it! Everything was going to be okay! “SPLASH"!” A giant lake monster came out from nowhere and swallowed little Johnny whole. The End.
If only little Johnny had the sense to bring a buddy with him. His buddy could have warned him how far the island was and convince him not to try it. His buddy could have helped him get back to shore when the cramp started, or his buddy could have been lunch for the lake monster giving little Johnny ample time to get away.
Always use the buddy system.
So, go back and read the little story and instead of a large lake, it’s SharePoint, instead of a paradise of a little island, it’s some project or application. Sure, when you start playing with SharePoint it seems harmless and fun. Then you start to get brave and try new things. There’s nothing wrong with that. Then you decide to try something something really cool and before you know it you are in WAY over your head. You fight it and fight it and search for help everywhere. Then, when you see a glimmer of hope everything comes crashing down and you are left with nothing but despair. Sound familiar? I can TOTALLY relate to that in my early days of SharePoint. However, these days things are much better. One of the reasons is the SharePoint buddy system! I am the architect/developer for my organization and I routinely wade into the waters of SharePoint trying things for the first time. Luckily, I work with a Rock Star SharePoint admin (@lorigowin). She has pulled me from the lake multiple times gasping for air and has even warned me on multiple occasions of the right way to get to that island. Sure, neither of us know all the answers. Sure we both still have to ask others for help and do research, but because we have different backgrounds (dev and admin) we see things from different points of views and can routinely find better answers than if we were left to our own devices. Also, I’m a much more effective developer because I can depend on my admin to do that administrative tasks that are a little over my head. I can also help the admin see different ways of solving issues that may not be as obvious to someone without a dev background.
So, where’s your buddy? (no, you can’t have mine). Yes, I realize this is a “fluff” piece, or maybe I’m on to something here. I say over and over again that SharePoint is too massive for anyone to be an expert in all aspects. So, stop trying to be. Find a buddy and help each other out. I’ve learned a lot of admin tips and tricks along the way.
Now all I need is a branding buddy then I can do a blog on the Three Musketeers..