24-Hour Devathon for a Cause

I am very proud to share that our team at Slalom is taking 24 hours out of this beautiful New England weekend for a SharePoint/Office 365 dev-a-thon to benefit local non profit Junior Achievement of Northern New England.

From www.janewengland.org:

The mission of Junior Achievement (JA) is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. Using hands-on experiences, JA helps to prepare young people for the real world by teaching skills in financial literacy, workforce readiness and entrepreneurship. Junior Achievement trains community volunteers to deliver curricula, and to incorporate the sharing of personal and professional experiences with students. The hallmark of Junior Achievement efforts, these mentors inspire students by transforming the JA lessons into relevant messages that connect what is learned in the classroom to real-world situations.

I am a big fan of this organization. Financial literacy and workforce readiness is very important, with the rise of debt from school loans and credit cards, we have to teach the younger generations more and more about how to best manage their money and be ready to get sustainable jobs. JA reaches 38,000 students in annually!

This weekend a small contingency from Slalom Consulting Boston is putting in 24 hours to create a portal for JA’s board of directors, hosted on Office 365. Some of the key requirements include:

  • Calendaring including RSVP.
  • Custom newsfeed on the homepage highlighting important details from the portal (not what is followed).
  • Branding to match the JA brand.
  • Mobile device friendly, with a heavy focus on the iPad.
  • And other portal stuff like document libraries,

We are employing our best SharePoint and User Experience architects and developers to accomplish something great. I am really looking forward to working with my team as a whole. As consultants we are all spanned across multiple projects and clients, it’ll be a blast to work with the team, together, busting out a sweet project.

Why do I share this with you? One, to show off how much I love my job. Slalom loves promoting community efforts among its employees, really helping us do what we’re passionate about. #SlalomProud. Secondly, to tell you a little about JA, and hopefully you’ll check them out. They are a great organization, one definitely worth the look.

Finally, I wanted to give you a heads up as we’ll be sharing some of the code we create and walk throughs on what we built. I’m excited to build something great and being able to share it with the SharePoint community.

‘Til then, Happy SharePointing!

I’m Speaking at SP24 – The 24-Hour SharePoint Conference!

I’m very pleased to share that I will be speaking at the first 24-Hour SharePoint Conference on April 16th. My session is on Before you take SharePoint public, and I’ll cover… eh, you can watch it here:

Come join me April 17th from 12-1pm EST!

SharePoint in Boston

As a resident of Massachusetts, and a SharePointer, I have discovered I can’t easily find what’s going on around town. I know to check Boston SharePoint User Group, SharePoint Saturday, and others, but there is no central place for all local SharePoint events. What if someone puts together an event that’s not associated with a known avenue?

And if I missed an event, I would love to read up on it. Or if I did attend, it’d be nice to see what other Bostonians thought of it.

What if I wanted to see what others around Boston are blogging about? I know a few, and I could attend a SharePint (but I need to know where to look to know when those are). It would be awesome to have a site to go to where I can see what’s the latest and greatest in the Boston SharePoint blogging scene.

Look no more!

SharePoint in Boston

I’d like to introduce the new SharePoint for Boston channel on BostInno.com. You can check it out at http://bostinno.com/channel/sharepoint-2.

What is this new site, you ask? Well, it’s whatever you want it to be. A few SharePointers (Craig Pilkenton, Josh Kirchmeier and myself) thought it would be beneficial to have a place that’s focused on SharePoint in Boston.

What you can expect from this site:

  • Events in and around Boston.
  • Event articles from bloggers, and non-bloggers.
  • Opinions and reviews of SharePoint, products and the like.
  • Local bloggers digest.
  • More? Sure!

What not to expect:

  • Articles as marketing, all articles will be created by SharePointers, like yourself. We don’t want customers pushing their agenda on here. You can feel free to write an article about your favorite SharePoint product.
  • Everything from one or two people. We really want your help! The more the merrier!

We are eager to get additional contributors: whether you blog or not, but want to announce an upcoming event, share your opinion about an event, a SharePoint product, quick tips, or SharePoint in general, let us know! You can email me, david.lozzi at slalom dot com, or leave a comment to this post, and I’ll get you hooked up.

Happy SharePointing!

A long list of SharePoint blogs, and a new SharePoint Social App

In an effort to keep myself up to speed with what’s going on across the SharePoint world, I compiled every SharePoint blog I could find into a Google Reader Bundle. I also created an Android app which reads this same list. Below are the blogs this feed subscribes to:

Andrew Connell [MVP SharePoint], http://www.andrewconnell.com/blog/Default.aspx
Boston SharePoint Salon, http://www.bostonsharepointsalon.com/
buckleyPLANET, http://www.buckleyplanet.com/
Chris Bortlik’s Blog, http://blogs.technet.com/b/cbortlik/
Chris O’Brien, http://www.sharepointnutsandbolts.com/
Cube 4, http://cube4.com.au/
David Lozzi’s Blog, http://davidlozzi.com
Eric Alexander’s Sharepoint Blog: Posts, http://pirateeric.sharepointspace.com/blog/default.aspx
Extreme Sharepoint, http://extreme-sharepoint.com
Furuknap’s SharePoint Corner, http://blog.furuknap.net
Geoff Varosky’s Blog, http://sharepointyankee.com
Giles’ SharePoint (and Project Server) Shenanigans, http://ghamson.wordpress.com
Jimbo Alba’s Blog, http://jimboalba.wordpress.com
Jonesing for SharePoint, http://www.jonesingforsharepoint.com/
JP’s Blog, http://www.jppete.com
Koen Vosters, http://blogs.msdn.com/b/kvosters/
Kyle Schaeffer – Web Design and SharePoint Branding, http://kyleschaeffer.com
Marc D Anderson’s Blog, http://sympmarc.com
Material SharePoint, http://sharepoint.jsturges.com
michael greene,  http://mike-greene.com
Microsoft SharePoint Team Blog, http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sharepoint/
More Soma Please…, http://platinumdogs.wordpress.com
My SharePoint Toolbox, http://mysharepointtoolbox.wordpress.com
NBSP, http://www.nothingbutsharepoint.com
Nick Aiello, http://nicholasfaiello.wordpress.com
Out Of The Box, http://0ut0ftheb0x.wordpress.com
Pentalogic Technology, http://blog.pentalogic.net
Planning | Designing | Deployment, http://thuansoldier.net
Rene Modery, http://modery.net/blog/
Rob Wilson, http://www.therobman.net/blog
Shades of SharePoint, http://amarkeev.wordpress.com
SharePint Blog… Hic!, http://sharepintblog.com
SharePoint & Office 365, http://sharepoint.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk
SharePoint 2010 – Tips and Tricks, http://www.sharepointdeveloper.in/
SharePoint 365, http://sp365.co.uk
SharePoint Bits Blog, http://blog.sharepointbits.com/
SharePoint Branding Team, http://sharepointbrandingteam.wordpress.com
SharePoint By Bugday: Posts, http://www.bybugday.com/Lists/Posts/AllPosts.aspx
SharePoint Cowbell, http://www.sharepointcowbell.com
SharePoint Developer Team Blog, http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sharepointdev/
SharePoint Hill Billy, http://www.sharepointhillbilly.com
SharePoint Joel’s SharePoint Land, http://www.sharepointjoel.com
SharePoint Stories, http://www.sharepointstories.com/
SharePointeer.com, http://sharepointeer.com/blog
SPJeff, http://www.spjeff.com
Susan Hanley’s blog, http://www.networkworld.com/community/sharepoint
The Scribble SharePoint Blog, http://www.sharepointblog.co.uk/
The SharePoint Farmer’s Almanac, http://msmvps.com/blogs/shane/default.aspx
The SharePoint Freshman, http://sharepointfreshman.wordpress.com
The SharePoint Guys, http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uksharepoint/
The SharePoint Therapist, http://sharepointtherapist.com
Todd’s Blog, http://todd-carter.com/
Todd Klindt, http://www.toddklindt.com/blog
Waldek Mastykarz, http://blog.mastykarz.nl

Think I’m missing one? Leave a comment! If you want to be removed (why on God’s green earth would you do that?) don’t leave a comment, I can’t handle public rejection, email me david at lozzi dot net.

Keep a love hate relationship with SharePoint

This is in response to the SharePoint’er (architect, administrator, developer) who has had it with SharePoint and cries “no more, I hate it”.

New users and customers who see SharePoint, love it. Companies realize SharePoint’s potential in a few minutes of learning about it. It’s a wonderfully powerful application. SharePoint in most cases can completed 80% of the business requirements as soon as it’s installed, leaving 20% to customization and additional configuration. It truly is an amazing application, even the free version.

What ends up happening is, the SharePoint administrators and developers who are running these systems start to yell and complain. It can be very frustrating to work with, especially if it’s just thrown on your plate. Managing permissions alone can be mind numbing. It’s such a vast application that it’s very difficult to find one person who knows it all. It, without a doubt, requires proper training and research to understand and administer correctly and effectively.

But that shouldn’t give us reason to throw it out, or wish it was never invented. It can be tough and sometimes the simplest of tasks take us hours to figure out and get working properly. What’s important to do during these times of hating SharePoint is to focus on the positive side. Unfortunately, it’s easy for the negatives to outweigh the positives when you’re neck deep in it.

That’s where the love hate comes in.

For example, a great positive is the out of the box functionality. SharePoint already includes a calendar, tasks, lists, document libraries, etc. No coding or customization required, and 80% of the business requirements are done! AWESOME isn’t it? A developer doesn’t have to create this themselves. Since that was so easy to make, we move onto the harder stuff and forget about the easy stuff. Then when we get stuck trying to filter a view based on a multichoice field, we get frustrated and forget that I didn’t have to create this list from scratch. Hold onto the wins, the stuff we didn’t have to do, or we simply did in a few minutes.

I have talked with members of the SharePoint community as they are neck deep in new SharePoint implementations, wishing for the pain to end, wishing to just take a break. It breaks my heart. It’s too easy to get exhausted and frustrated with the complexity of SharePoint and lose sight of the big picture, and truly the amount of work and effort SharePoint saves us. I always point out the easy stuff SharePoint did for them. This usually eases them back off the ledge.

I dramatize a little here, but if you’ve been down this road, you know what it feels like. It really does feel like you’re all alone, end users are “screaming” at you for functionality you thought was going to be easy. I’m targeting SharePoint, but this can be true of almost any thing in life, when we can’t figure something out, it can wipe out our emotions, our senses, and our reasoning. It’s important to find positives, the silver lining, the good side whenever possible!

If you’re at the point of just hating SharePoint, you’re mad, considering a new job, or wanting to drink heavily ’til you’re blurry: find some love. Find one simple reason to like SharePoint. If you can’t find the love, hit up the community, ask questions about your difficulties, or just vent (go ahead, leave a comment here and complain, I got big shoulders, I can take it). Who knows, you may start finding solutions and the love may come back!