SharePoint is vastly underused due to the challenges associated with customized solutions. While SharePoint 2010 reduces the need for development, it is still a complex platform, and developers play a key role in meeting business-specific requirements. To get the expected return on the SharePoint investment and put the appropriate resources in place to meet specific requirements, understand SharePoint 2010 capabilities: With no customization. With customization using built-in functionality (i.e. with no development). With development resources. With SharePoint 2010 being so complex (60-70% more than its predecessor), training and experience are crucial ingredients for a successful SharePoint team. Dont expect that developers will be capable of producing quality projects that are performance-tuned specifically for SharePoint, without an understanding of the SharePoint way.
- 1.Manage a SharePoint Customization & Development Team What you need to know to besuccessfulwith your SharePoint projects
2. Introduction Info-Tech Research Group This research is designed for: This research will help you:
- Understand the differences and relative capabilities of the customization levels available.
- Understand the challenges faced by the SharePoint customization team and how to mitigate their effects.
- Build a SharePoint team with the proper resources and tools to deliver effective business solutions.
- IT/Development managers responsible for the smooth running of SharePoint customization projects.
- Teams that have struggled with how to customize or develop for the SharePoint environment.
- Leaders with the need to understand the challenges faced by their SharePoint customization team.
Use this research to get a handle ondeveloping in/for SharePointandwhat you should know tomanage your teamtowards success! SharePoint has been sold as ajack-of-all tradesplatform that can be used for virtually all business needs. As such, organizations are trying to move more and more business processes to this platform. These organizations fall short when they underestimate the level of planning, customization, expertise, and training required to meet such lofty expectations, resulting in highly underutilized or disorganized SharePoint systems. To see ifSharePointis the right decision for you, consultSelect the Right Collaboration PlatformandEvaluate SharePoint for Enterprise Content Management . 3. Executive Summary Info-Tech Research Group SharePoint is an underutilized tool for many businesses that either do not know how to capitalize on its functionality or have users that have grown to dislike it due to poor practices.
- Building a capable SharePoint team is crucial to gaining a good return on your investment.
- Following best practices leads to success, and not following them leads to underutilization.
- Training and experience on your SharePoint team is central to success.
- Training is for everyone, not just your team. Train your end users, and continue by crafting tips & tricks newsletters and FAQs for new features.
- SharePoint 2010 is 60-70% more complex than its most recent predecessor.
- SharePoint 2010 addresses most of the issues that existed in previous versions and extends functionality & capabilities well beyond the conventional borders.
- SharePoint 2010 can produce some amazing results in the hands of non-developers and magnificent results when developers become involved.
- Involve the business, and have a champion from the executive on your side.
- Work all SharePoint projects like development projects, following traditional SDLC phases. Do this even if you have a project with no developers required.
- Structure and manage SharePoint projects using Agile methodologies. Quick wins from shorter iterations will help to win over your target audience.
4. What Your Developers Need to Know Implement the Keys to Success SharePoint 2010: Leverage the capabilities and be aware of the limitations to navigate the road to success Summary
- SharePoint Development Strategy Roadmap
Know the Capabilities and Limitations 4 2 1 Next Section in Brief
- SharePoint capabilities: from the box to your users desktop.
- What can be done with developers.
- What can be done without developers.
5. SharePoint, like an iceberg, only truly shows its magnificence when you go below the surface Info-Tech Research Group And like an iceberg, what we see above the surface can also be pretty spectacular! Like the visible portion of the iceberg,SharePoint 2010includes built-in functionality that allowsnon-developersto create effective business solutions that go beyond document repository. Staff with more advancedSharePoint expertisebut not necessarilydevelopment skills , can further enhance customization to include more automation and integrations with other systems. Below the surface lies the foundation. Immense in capabilities, yourdeveloperscan create some magnificent applications and supply the necessary building blocks for SharePoint Designers. As Manager of your SharePoint team, understand that you do not necessarily need development resources for all your SharePoint projects. Utilize your non-developers accordingly and let your developers focus on solutions that warrant custom coding. The possibilities are immense.Info-Tech Insight: 6. Flexible right out of the box, SharePoint enables your end users to create highly functional and feature rich sites Info-Tech Research Group Being a developer is not required in order to build feature-rich andhighly functional site solutions within SharePoint. Allsite customizations are stored in theSharePoint content database .While this is an SQL database, it is also unique to SharePoint.SharePoint: Out-of-the-BoxWeaknessExtremely difficultto control and version any changes made, andnear impossibleto make changes repeatable and reusable across site collections and SharePoint farms.
- All changes can be madeby almost any userthrough aweb browser within the SharePoint environment, or through the use of a tool such asSharePoint Designer , or PowerShell.
- Site customizationsdo not touchthe front-end web servers in the SharePoint farm.
- Site customizations can be made without administration permissions. Permissions are necessary only on the specific site where changes are being made or created.
SharePoint: Out-of-the-BoxCharacteristics SharePoint: Out-of-the-BoxStrength Extremely flexiblefor end users and administrators to build and release in an ad-hoc fashion,allsite customizations.
- In SharePoint 2007 it was very dangerous to have non-developers using SharePoint tools such as the Designer.- Kelly Balthrop, Software Architect
When making changes through your browser, or through the use of SharePoint Designer,allcustomizations are stored in the content database. Only development tasks using Visual Studio are excluded. Info-Tech Insight: 7. Customizing without development can produce some very robust solutions, but take heed of what you are entering into All of its features and capabilities! Info-Tech Research Group Understandingthe capabilities of SharePoint is one of the first steps to determining what the businesswants and needs it to accomplish . Thebestthing about SharePoint is: Theworstthing about SharePoint is:
- If you dont have access to developers: (Your teamcanstill be successfulcustomizingSharePoint )
- Your team will need to be comfortable working with Microsoft Office(PowerPoint, Word, Excel, etc.).
- Having a SharePoint Champion, someone that can point others in the right direction(mentor and train) may be all you need , to produce some very complex and highly functional systems.
- Non-developers on your team may not be familiar with SDLC concepts, soplanning your projectis the most critical step.Your team will look to you to make this happen.
I consider myself a guru with SharePoint 2007, but after almost 2 years working with 2010, Im still learning more -SharePoint Solution Architect So what does this really mean?It means that SharePoint is complicated; it is not something that can be thrown out to your users or your team without first understanding it. They dont have to be developers, but they will need your experience and guidance. Info-Tech Insight: 8. SharePoint capabilities are constrained only by the technical skills of your people Info-Tech Research Group
- Developerswill be able to fulfill all roles, depending on the extent of their relevant business knowledge.
- SharePoint Designersmay mentor with Developers to enable deeper dives below the surface level.
- Can build across multiple SharePoint sites
- Development can be easily controlled
- Development can produce consistency across sites
- Can include non-standard functionality
- Easily repeatable across collections
- Changes can live outside of SharePoint content database
- Can be deployed directly to web server
- Intimate knowledge of SharePoint architecture isimperative.
- Business Userswill generally be most useful to your team at the extreme tip of the iceberg (SharePoint).
- SharePoint Designerswill generally be most useful to your team at or near the surface, butdepending on the extent of their skills , may dip below the surface.
- Limited by availability of parts & tools
- Hundreds of customizable features and web parts available
- Difficult to control consistency
- Changes tend to be ad-hoc
- Very difficult to make version changes
- Difficult to repeat changes across sites
- All changes exist only in SharePoint
- Scope is always Site Collection
- At the highest point, knowledge of SharePoint is useful but not imperative.
- High quality tools are available.
Characteristics of the SharePoint environment as it applies to Business Users and SharePoint Designers(above the waterline) Characteristics of the SharePoint environment as it applies to your Developers(below the waterline)
- Understands MS Office tools
- Little business knowledge
- Educated/trained in development
Increasing Functionality/Complexity Increasing Technical & SharePoint Skills Required Increasing Interconnectivity and Sophistication 9. Working from the tip of the iceberg down, most of the top features can be implemented without breaking the surface Info-Tech Research Group Virtually anyone on your team could be productive setting up any of these top features. No development is required to create collaboration solutions that would rival any coded solution.
- Streaming video direct from library, on any page with SharePoint Media Player, podcasting, ratings, access to rich media library.
- Beneficial for training, company communications.
- MySite ( facebook for the enterprise ), people search, wikis, blogs.
- Beneficial for collaboration, team building, education, mentoring.
- True multi-group collaboration for documents and files using Office products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint & OneNote), build in browser creation & editing, extend your reach to include partners, vendors, and clients.
- Beneficial for collaboration with staff, vendors, clients, etc.
- All the power of an Access database directly through a browser and SharePoint web. Any user can create robust data-related apps to track virtually anything, from sports pools to project data.
- Beneficial for empowering your teams.
- Advanced Excel features: BI solutions, facilitates sharing and collaboration of user generated solutions.
- Beneficial for increasing operational efficiencies.
3 5 4 2 1 These features are relatively easy for non-developers to compose, but we highly recommend that you move forward cautiously, ensuring that your team fully understands the impact of what you are exposing to your user community. Info-Tech Insight: 10. Case Study - City of Windsor: Many of the smallfeatures you will need can be found and purchased
- There are a lot of companies that sell web parts, and were expecting that most of thedevelopmentrequests we get will have already been solved by someone else.
- Were expecting that buying web parts will be cheaper than developing in-house, but wellmake sure we have a development environment in place for those solutions that cant be purchased.
- Bob Price, Programmer Analyst
Info-Tech Research Group
- Bringing in a consulting company for an extended period of time ensured the city got it right the first time, from installation to design to deployment.
- Ensuring it will have in-house capability to make further customizations as needed.
- Company Profile/Situation
- Canadian city government with 3000 employees, 60 IT staff, and 70 networked locations.
- Will be migrating from Windows SharePoint Services 2003 to SharePoint Foundation 2010 (skipping 2007).
- Current/Planned Applications
- Performed customization in SharePoint 2003 (e.g. a vacation request workflow).
- With 2010, IT plans to add more automated workflows.
- Dynamically update a hot topics section on the website home page based on how often those pages are accessed.
- Development Resources/Training
- Hiring a consulting company for a few months to help with installation,customization, and deployment. For example:
- Setting up the development environment, and providing best practices for promoting code to a live environment.
- Enabling remote access to SharePoint (from home and smartphone).
- Plan to buy web parts/solutions when feasible, but want a development environment for any customizations.
Will buy parts as required 11. Working below the surface of SharePoint allows your developers to create solutions that are highly connected and reusable Info-Tech Research Group Descend below the surface to open up possibilities. Create reusable parts, make global changes, and connect various business systems.Developers , working inVisual Studio 2010 , can create solution packages that will be deployed asreusable components and templates .
- By creating reusable components, you avoid reinventing the wheel. You create a solution (and its components) and thencapitalizeon that work.
- That may include reusing solutions exactly as they are from one site collection to another, or it may mean taking the solution components and tweaking them to work in a different situation.
- Reusing your code in this manner cansave huge amounts of time , andtime is a cost .
What this means is that virtually anything the business team throws your way, you will knowcanbe done.
- SharePoint 2010: Its a game-changer. Before when we received requests wed say give us 6 months. Now we say give us a month.
- -Applications Development Manager
Make the case for reusability as strong as possible. As Manager of the development team, make this your mantra: develop one time, reuse many times! Additionally, once developers create the components/webparts, anyone on the team can build solutions with them. Info-Tech Insight: 12. Working with developers on your team means boundless features and functionality can be achieved Info-Tech Research Group Out-of-the-box SharePoint is extremely flexible, but it does have limits. Once you include developers on your team, you open up endless possibilities.
- You and your team donothave to be constrained by SharePoint.
- All common and best practices relating to code development can be applied, including centralized source code, quality assurance, and code signoff.In other words, all the best practices your development team employed prior to SharePoint still apply.
- Easily fit into standard (best practice) development to staging to production lifecycles.
- Deployment is made by buildingspecialized CAB fileswith a.wspextension (SharePoint Visual Studio solution package).
- Source code does NOT live within the SharePoint content database.
- Developers source can reside in the organizations source contro...