Showing posts from 2011

The importance of de-stressing

Like many hard working individuals (I want to say workaholics, but I think that’s too strong a word), I have designed my entire lifestyle around doing my job as best as I can.

To start off with, I make sure I get plenty of sleep so I so I am fully charged to handle the 8-10 hours of taxing activities. I follow news and subscribe to feeds that relates to my work, and catch up whenever I have some free time.  I don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol, don’t do drugs and limit my coffee consumption to social outings.  I even try to stay active and eat healthy since it affects my health and eventually the way I work (but admittedly, I easily compromise those tasks when more after hour work is required or the tasks I handled for that day was more draining than usual).

While I think it’s important to give your job high importance, I also understand that life is about balance.  So while your job may expose you to stress, it is important to counter that with some de-stressing tasks.

Without de-stre…

SharePoint 2010 and Content Migration Presentation

If you managed to catch my SharePoint 2010 and Content Migration presentation for SharePoint Saturday, thank you for attending - as promised, my slides are attached.

If you didn't attend my presentation, which is very possible sine the majority of my audience is from the States, India and Jhb.  I tried to make the presentation as clear and detailed as possible.  I also reduced all the unnecessary images I used to give the presentation more live so the downloads are much smaller.  Enjoy.

Don’t use SharePoint 2010’s mobile view for internet presence sites

SharePoint offers a lot; it’s a platform that provides BI, ECM, Search, collaboration and a lot more including WCM.  It’s the Web Content Management (WCM) component that makes it’s a great platform for internet presence sites and with the more appealing pricing structure available for internet presence, it is becoming the preferred choice to internet deployment.

Without any effort from the SharePoint deployment team, SharePoint provides a “mobile friendly” view of the site been created.  In theory, this sounds great, this means that we can create a SharePoint site, apply a nice appealing brand to it (it is an internet site, so the look is important), spend some time on the structure the content so information can be easily found (very important for internet sites), configure search correctly and then fill the site with information and images knowing that it will automatically work out the best way to display this information on mobile devices, right?   WRONG!

SharePoint offers a mobil…

Sharing files with a iPad/iPhone/iPod wirelessly

I have a Windows laptop that I mainly use for work and blogging, a PC at home that is configured to act as a HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer), an iPhone and an iPad. 

When I am at home, all these devices are connected to my local network via WIFI.  Some of my devices download files like eBooks, while others act as my eBook reader, the same thing happens with movies. so there is this need for me to easily share files amongst my devices and I dont want to connect my iPhone/iPad to the PC/laptop via USB - its just too much effort and I am sure I can find a better solution.

Cloud based file storage mediums like DropBox are available, which pretty much means that I can store my files on the internet and access it via any other devices, but I have a problems with this approach. Cloud based file storage mediums cost me bandwidth, and in South Africa, bandwidth is expensive (which is why I believe that South Africa will be slow adopters of cloud based solution – but that’s another topic…

SharePoint 2010 and Branding

Some time ago, before SharePoint 2010 was popular, I write an article ( pleading with the world to please stop creating fancy looking SharePoint sites, because you are not using SharePoint the way it was intended, and you are creating a maintenance nightmare.
Now, with SharePoint 2010 around, I think its time we re-visited this topic.

Lets me start off by saying that SharePoint has improved greatly when it comes to branding, but I still believe that strong branding should be limited to internet sites.
Intranet sites are more feature heavy, and those features has a default size, layout, structure and design that fits the default look provided by SharePoint, so I still see a lot of additional time spent on tweaking the features so it fits the new look, and then a lot of time will be needed to maintain these tweaked features.
So, when you want to apply a brand to a SharePoint site, use the publishing templates…

3d printing - the next big thing - see it in action with Lego

The NXT STEP - LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT Blog: Amazing Mindstorms 3D printer: Brought to us by Arthur Sacek from Brazil's ZOOM Education for Life , this very well built and surprisingly precise 3D milling machine is tr...

How to find a “Good” SharePoint consulting company?

Looks like every organisation wants SharePoint these days.

I mentioned before, there is a big shortage of SharePoint skills out there, so hiring a good SharePoint resource has become a rather difficult task, especially when you realise that a good SharePoint deployment requires a range of specialised skills meaning that you need a specialised SharePoint team for a successful deployment. Where does one begin in getting this team?

The answer is in Outsourcing, i.e. hiring a consultant company that specialise in SharePoint deployment. That seems simple, but perform a search for SharePoint consultant companies in your area, I bet you there is a lot more than you expected. That’s a problem, because you now have to select the “best” consultant company and pray you don’t make a mistake as this will greatly affect the success of your SharePoint deployment and you’re ROI (return on Investment).

So what do you look for when selecting a “good” consulting company?

Before I answer that question…

Only Certified AIIM Master in Africa

I have received confirmation that I am now a certified SharePoint Aiim Master, the first one (I can say only one, but I guess that depends on when you read this article) in Africa.

This is the highest certified SharePoint title available from Aiim, and this is a title I had to EARN, this isn’t a simple certificate of attendance.  After attending the four day course, I had to study and then write an online exam, pass with over 70%, and after that, I had to study a detailed case study and submit a 10 page report on it.

So yes, I worked hard for this title, made a few sacrifices, and, at the risk of sounding arrogant, deserve the right to blow my own trumpet for short while – thus this post.

So what’s so great about this title?  Well, it’s from Aiim (, a non-profit organisation that specialise in providing education, research and best practices to organisations to help them find control and optimise their information.  Aiim has been working on Enterprise Content Manag…

The move from Technical Expert to Manager

Let me start of by explaining how things were before I became a Manager.

I worked my way to a Senior ASP.NET developer with a decent amount of SharePoint exposure; it only took me 7 years.

And in those 7 years I was usually poorly managed;

• scope was poorly defined and not managed

• no clear plan was in place or plan omitted crucial steps

• timeframes were unrealistic

• no quality checks were in place (faults were discovered during client demo's)

• clients expectations were not managed

• communications were poor

• processes were not followed

• resource allocation was poor (I once requested a .NET developer and my Manager believed he solved the problem when he got me a junior network administrator who knew a little HTML)

• poor risk management

In many cases I had reached a point where I had very little faith (or respect) for my manager that I insist that they present me with the requirements and leave me alone so I can “do my magic”, this involved me contacting the clients to clearly define…

The future of .NET starts today.

Microsoft has provide a Windows SDK for the Kinect, you can download it here

Do you know what this means? It means that it is now possible for .NET developers to create the user interface that Tom Cruise used in the Minority Report.

To be honest, this was “possible” within hours from the date the Kinect was launched as hackers immediately found a way to gather the data captured from the device and started creating very clever applications that work with gestures, sound, video feed and so on. You can view some of these app’s here Microsoft has just made it official and provided a proper SDK with training material that is supported by them.

Now we (skilled .NET developers) have the necessary skills and means to build applications that can read the “raw data” captured by the Kinect and code an appropriate action. This can be the start of the Next Wave of User Interaction and the time to grab…

SharePoint Reviews: Free Products

What a great resource of SharePoint 2007/2010/WSS 3.0/Foundation related freeware.

SharePoint Reviews: Free Products

Installing and Configuring SharePoint 2010 -- Free 125 Page User Guide, Free SharePoint2007Tips Guide

What is SharePoint? SharePoint 2010 Essential Training from

This in an excellent Video for End Users that needs to understand SharePoint.

Failure to identify the ROI in Project Managers

IT Project Managers are expensive.  If an IT department is given a fixed budget on human resources, they might be tempted to spend the budget on 2 developers instead of one Project Manager, after all, it’s the developer that does all the coding which is pretty much what the clients are buying, so where is the ROI (return on investment) for Project Managers?

Today I am a Project Manager, but not too long ago, I was a web developer, as a web developer, it was easy to justify my ROI, after all I am doing "ALL" the work right?  A client comes to us asking for a site that needs to for fill a certain objective, I build a site to satisfy the objectives, client is happy, I get paid.  It’s simple.

Project Managers are not writing code, so they are not seen as physically building what the client wants.  Departmental Managers, Directors, HR Managers, or just about any (misguided) decision makers are failing to justify the need to Project Managers (PM), especially since they are an expe…

Top “non-technical” SharePoint related links

If you have a strong interest in SharePoint, you may have subscribed to SharePoint related groups and discussions via your favorite social network (FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) and blogs.  The problem with this approach is information overload. 

The problem goes beyond information overload, I am an IT Project Manager working with SharePoint projects, and when doing research on SharePoint, I notice that many articles are just too technical for the non-technical people involved in SharePoint projects.

If you enjoy reading my blog, it may be because I try to keep the focus on SharePoint but I also try to keep the topics non-technical – I haven’t found many blogs out there that has this focus, so I understand that my audience is specific, and I understand the difficulty you have in finding relevant SharePoint content.

So, I have decided to compile a list of SharePoint related links that I believe is very interesting for non-technical people interested in SharePoint or have a non-te…

Best Practice in the IT world

I really don’t like the term “Best Practice”, because that implies that it can’t get any better, that’s not true as it’s the constant changing, modifying and improving of standards, methods, techniques and processes that makes best practice.  This is especially true in the IT world.

I would like to enter this topic with a non-IT related example.  A few months ago, I was sick; this illness caused some internal imbalance that eventually lead to a high build-up of wax in my one ear.  It was so bad, my ear was completely blocked, and it remained blocked for days.  I had to go to the doctor.

I was expecting the doctor to use some special ear-scope to find the wax build-up and then pluck it out with a tweezer or any other thin long medical device, it seems like the obvious solution, it would be quick and effective.

Instead, the doctor poured warm, soapy water into my ear, she poured and poured into the ear for about 1 and a half hours until the wax started to soften and eventually wash away…

Protection of Personal Information (PPI) and SharePoint – Part 2 of 2

Microsoft answer to PPI is proper Data Governance.

Data governance involves the management of personal information in a manner that supports an organization’s mission, complies with imposed regulations as well as its own policies and aligns with customer expectations.

Examining how information flows throughout an organization over time, and how it is being accessed by multiple applications and people for various purposes, will clarify the various areas where the organization should deploy technologies to protect private information. This information flow (AKA the Data Governance Life Cycle) comprises four key stages, within which an organization can construct many unique data governance scenarios to address specific considerations.  The four stages are:

Collection: Personal information is usually collected from multiple sources (in person, online, via other systems, 3rd party, etc.) and must establish appropriate controls that uniformly assure privacy policy compliance regardless of co…

Protection of Personal Information (PPI) and SharePoint – Part 1 of 2

The Protection of Personal information bill (the bill) has been getting a lot of attention lately, currently it’s a bill that is not yet enforced, but that is set to happen this year.

Organisations are expected to take reasonable steps NOW to ensure that they are compliant when this bill becomes law. So lots of seminars and training sessions are now becoming available to educate you on what the bill is all about and what “reasonable” steps can be taken in order for you to be compliant.

So what is this bill all about?

The bill regulates the collection, storage and distribution of personal information by both private and public bodies. It is based on world standards and is regarded as leading practice baseline for effective data privacy regulation around the world. The bill aims to provide an acceptable balance between the right to privacy and the legitimate need to use personal information.

Personal information is regarded as any information related to a person from first name to sexual o…

Keep up with changing human behaviour when building web solutions

You want a new Intranet, You now need to design a solution, the area you consider most important when designing a solution will probably be the following …
A strong Home Page with dynamic content for everyone in the organisationA detailed sitemap so users can easily navigate to the content they are looking forIt makes sense, an entry point that is dynamic with content and contains a navigational menu that allows you to access additional information seem like the makings of a good intranet site.  Right?

Well, the answer to that question would be yes, if you were building an Intranet 3 years ago.  End user behavior has changed so much since then, that their expectations and interaction with the Intranet is now very different, meaning that your approach when designing a solution needs to adjust to match their new expectations.

You don’t believe me?  I don’t blame you.  But the signs are there, and we need to stop using that 10 year old approach when designing Intranet solutions (or Intern…

Retaining Staff

We have already established that there is a shortage of SharePoint skills; my post on that topic has been my most popular post to date. This problem becomes the root cause of other problems, and the problem I want to focus on today is the fact that the shortage of SharePoint skills places your existing SharePoint team in high demand and if proper steps are not taken to retain this staff, consider them lost.

It’s unfortunate but true, due to lack of training available, the number of new SharePoint players entering the market is low (and still needs a lot of work before they can add real value to projects), so in order for a company to deliver on a SharePoint need, they need to use existing SharePoint players, and in order to do that, they need to figure out who’s the competitors key players, and make them an offer they cannot refuse.

Sometimes these “offers they cannot refuse” are ridiculously high, meaning that a counter offer is out of the question, so the big question I’m placing out …