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

So, I have been so swamped lately with meetings, work, and my other duties that I have not had a chance to do any practical development to blog about. However, thanks to my good buddy Geoff Varosky (@gvaro) I know a technical blog I’m going to write… finding the time is just another issue entirely.

Anyway, I thought I’d write a blog about some wise/pithy/humorous SharePoint Quotes and thoughts for you to ponder. A couple are meant to be funny, and some are meant to make you think.  There are some tidbits of wisdom here if you look deep enough, sometimes you have to dig REALLY deep!

I look forward to having the time to write something more technical soon, but until then, I hope you enjoy these little nonsensical asides. Without further ado, SharePoint Pearls Of Wisdom…

SharePoint cannot be taught, it must be learned.

Like many other people out there, I’ve learned this the hard way. SharePoint is such a complex beast and there are SO many ways to do most tasks that you can’t just go read a book or take a class and know what to do. There are very few things in SharePoint that you can write a recipe and reproduce every time and just because some process worked fine on Monday, doesn’t mean it’s going to work fine on Tuesday. To truly “get it” will take some time and motivation on your part and willingness to get your hands dirty. You’ve got to be okay with “hmmm, I wonder what would happen if I did this”. The only exception of course is CriticalPath Training.. they can totally teach anyone anything!!!  Can I get a free course now AC? :)  In all seriousness, there are some good training courses out there (also check out my buddies at MetroStar Systems), but you still have to learn it and do it. These guys are just giving you some tools and knowledge to help along the way. 

The day you stop learning SharePoint is the day you stop using it

Did I mention SharePoint is a massive beast? Every day I’m in there trying to slay the beast I learn something new. Sometimes “the most awesome admin in the world” Lori Gowin rolls her eyes at me because I don’t know how to do something as simple as start site replication (I had never done it before! okay?) and other times I find myself in less charted territory where I have to figure out how to delete a corrupt field without writing code or using PowerShell (another possible blog post). If you are truly in the trenches using SharePoint there will ALWAYS be something new to learn, and just when you start to get comfortable they will release the next version. This is a reason we have jobs and the reason it will never get too boring… and the reason we get frustrated and bang our heads on the desk.

SharePoint is a woman

Yes.. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. SharePoint is all woman. Here is why:

“If you don't know why I'm mad, I'm not going to tell you!”

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Other reasons SharePoint is a woman:

  • You can either fight SharePoint to make her do what you want, or you can let SharePoint do what she wants to do and learn to work within those constraints.
  • If you don’t let SharePoint eventually do what she WANTS to do, you will be miserable.
  • To truly appreciate SharePoint you have to invest a lot of time getting to really know her.
  • Gifts (ie more RAM, more servers, etc…) are always appreciated and keep her happy for a while.

The right way to do most things in SharePoint is... “It depends”

There are definitely some best practices out there, but a good 80% of the time the right way to do something will depend on a plethora of circumstances for a given situation. There is no boiler plate recipe for deploying sites that will work every time. It will not always make sense to use the same development tools every time. Every situation has to be examined to identify its best practice. The ability to know what is best for a given situation can ONLY come from experience. You won’t learn this one in a book or class.

Just because you got it working, doesn’t mean you got it working right.

This one goes hand-in-hand with the previous quote as well as the next one. Just because you figured out a way to get some functionality to work, it’s not necessarily a good idea. Did you remember to dispose all of the correct objects? Did you have to manually copy anything into the 12 hive? Can you maintain it? Will your admin kill you for doing it? I’m never quick to pat myself on the back when I get my desired functionality working. I try to always bounce ideas off of those thousands of people smarter than me and do a quick search to see how others solved the same problem. Twitter is invaluable for this.

You WILL run into performance issues.

So, yeah… there are a billion and a half gotchas that can or will cause performance issues at some point. Bad code, bad Infrastructure, bad taxonomy, bad users, even abuse of versioning in document libraries can all contribute to performance problems and wow, so can so many other things. Luckily there are some brilliant people out there who are experts in SharePoint performance, and for a nominal fee they’re more than happy to lend to a hand. :) One thing is certain, a user will utter the phrase “It’s so slow!” at some point.

Some people will NEVER “get” SharePoint

Most end users can, with time and effort, be trained on what SharePoint can do for them and how it can make their life easier. When someone has that SharePoint “Aha!” moment and embraces it, that’s when things really start to click and make our lives easier.  Some people, however, will never get SharePoint. They are either so biased that they will never give it a chance, resistant to change and can’t get past the differences, or have to have their hand held to do anything. These people are the bane of all those who have sipped from the SharePoint Koolaid. Some people are always going to want to email attachments, gripe because SharePoint is not what they are used to, complain because it “looks like SharePoint”, or want definite yes and no answers that apply to every development scenario. Worse yet are those people who don’t get SharePoint but THINK they do! “Wow.. I have a great idea! Let’s upload an excel spreadsheet to a document library and we can store our vacation schedule in it so everyone can check it out and edit it in one place!!” At some point it hit me that some people will never “get it”. On the bright site, that can mean more job security???

If you make something idiot proof they will make a better idiot.

Okay, so this one isn’t SharePoint specific. However, it can so easily be seen in SharePoint. Make sure when designing sites for end users you really lock down your lists and web parts. You never know when some brilliant user will accidentally close a web part or delete something they shouldn’t. If not, you will definitely be cursing under your breath asking “Why in the world did you do that!??!!”

I’m sure there are about a dozen more thoughts that will pop into my head right after I hit the “Publish” button, but this will have to do for now. What pearls of wisdom do you have to share?

Posted on Wednesday, January 13, 2010 8:39 AM | Back to top


Comments on this post: SharePoint Pearls

# re: SharePoint Pearls
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Great post! Great sense of humor!
That's why the best engineers, developers & consultants for SharePoint Platform are women ;-)

As someone has said: "First you must learn to
think as SharePoint do"
Left by Eva on Jan 15, 2010 4:31 AM

# re: SharePoint Pearls
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This is awesome! I work on the IT SharePoint team for an enterprise. For me this was a 100% bullseye! Thanks for the laughs!
Left by Rob roach on Jan 15, 2010 8:49 AM

# re: SharePoint Pearls
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The people who are against change are the most annoying..

"Would you like me to replace your computer with a typewriter then? Why not? You said things were better 30 years ago, you just told me so?!"

:)
Left by Alex on Jan 27, 2010 5:35 AM

# re: SharePoint Pearls
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Brilliant! Sent the link to all my Sharepoint commiserators - hilarious - and spot on!
Left by PXA on Feb 16, 2010 9:20 AM

# re: SharePoint Pearls
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Love the humor within the SharePoint Community. "They will make a better idiot".
They are getting really good at making impressive almost normal looking idiots... sometimes you can't even tell until they open their mouth!
Left by Peter Cartier on Aug 15, 2011 9:14 AM

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