Handling Change

In the wake of our nation’s acceptance of “change” (for better or worse), it’s made me think about how we, in IT, accept and handle change.    I made mention of this in last month’s newsletter and I’ve been thinking about what this means in the context of SharePoint.   There are several things I’ve come up with and I will go into them in greater depth over the course of the next few posts.

So…. here’s what’s on my mind.

Changing of the Guard:

This is probably the most commonly told/heard story I hear amongst SharePoint audiences.  How many times have we all heard this?

Ok, you’re the IT guy, so guess what?  You’re also our new SharePoint Admin!

Sound familiar?   I thought so.   It’s usually followed up by the statement, “Just throw something up there quickly and we’ll move forward.”    To those of us that have heard this, no more ignorant statement has ever been spoken.

So, how does one handle this newly assigned duty (like it or not) and still pull it off with grace?  This is exactly the principle on which The SharePoint Dude was founded.

Accepting the Change:

Once you’ve swallowed hard and accepted the challenge presented, you’ll typically begin thinking, “How do I pull this off?”   There are several ways to do this:

  1. The Hard Way - You can take a few (very expensive) training courses, get your certification, go through some hard knocks and learn by doing.   Assessments, Planning, Design sessions, test deployments, data migration – the whole 9 yards.

    There’s certainly a lot of merit in doing this (even if you’re the only one who appreciates the road you took to get there).     If you have the time and money for this, it’s a great road.  You’ll learn all of the right things, do all of the right things, and have a perfect deployment when the smoke clears.

  2. The Usual Way – Self-study, surf the Web, read some books, attend SharePoint Saturdays and User Groups in your local area, ask around and compare notes.    This way is virtually free, but takes such a long time.   Additionally, you’ll make many mistakes along the way, until you get it right (not necessarily to your own fault).   Eventually, you’ll realize that you missed something in the beginning which makes you start over – from scratch.

    Eventually, you will have a pretty solid deployment (and slightly less hair) when all is said and done.    You will probably learn more this way, but at the expense of your employer and your solution’s time to market.

  3. The SharePoint Dude Way – Learn some best practices and get some basic guidance under your belt.  Learn what others have done that has worked and/or failed.   Save yourself many costly mistakes, time, and frustration.   Get organized and have a plan (use The PORTAL Method).

    Having a solid methodology to follow for your deployment is nothing new or revealing.  However, when you’re new to all of this and trying to deploy SharePoint for the first time, things aren’t always as easy as your non-technical boss said they would be.   So, it’s best to have a plan.

The PORTAL Method is a great starting point for having a plan laid out for you.

When you know, in advance, what you’ll need to conquer and how you’ll need to do it, you save yourself a lot of guesswork in the end.   Though The PORTAL Method is not how the “big” firms necessarily do it, the foundation is there, the steps are the same (abbreviated to save time, money, and people resources), but you will encounter the majority of best practice habits that lead to a successful SharePoint deployment.

I know this was a bit of a commercial for The PORTAL Method, but hey – it works!   If you’re the newly appointed “SharePoint Admin” and you don’t have experience, budget, or personnel to help you pull it off, give The PORTAL Method a shot.   I think you’ll find that you can be pretty successful, despite the limitations you may be facing.

Embrace change.  Embrace the challenge before you.   This is the Internet Age – anything is possible – and it’s much easier to figure things out these days than it was 10 years ago!

Good luck!   Email me and/or comment on this post and let us know how your experience was!!!

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