Tag Archives: administrator

My Users Don’t Like SharePoint…New Series!

SharePoint gets such a bad rap.

I’ve been collecting thoughts, tweets and blog posts complaining about SharePoint, and I’ve discovered a common theme, or themes: Haters gonna hate; legitimate bugs or issues; and poor implementations. I want to tackle the one item I feel like we can actually do something about, poor implementations.

Before I dive into what I’ve found, let me say this first: SharePoint is a platform, a framework, a foundation. Like a blank canvas awaiting an artist’s creativity, SharePoint can be implemented like a two year old using finger paints or by a master who has years of artistry expertise. And this is where the haters scream the most. You wouldn’t implement a new ECM, CRM or ERP without proper training and understanding what it can do and how you can customize it if necessary. Why do we think SharePoint can be implemented without knowing anything about it? I know Microsoft has done their share of pushing it into corporations, and actually selling it as ‘easy’…  Gah, it’s frustrating…

Would someone take finger paints and try to paint something like:

Three Gables by Joyce Wood

‘Three Gables’ by JoyceWood.com

I wouldn’t. I would learn to paint, spend years understanding colors and techniques. My mother is an artist (a great one I think, check out her stuff here ;), and for me to sit down, for the first time, and expect to pump out art like she does is ridiculous, down right crazy.

As silly as that may be, this is happening all around the world within companies using SharePoint. SharePoint needs to be understood and applied correctly, and then, with knowledge and insight can it be formed into something beautiful. I’m not talking just branding and design, I mean the overall business architecture and information management within SharePoint.

One more analogy…

Credit Ford.com

Think of the amazing Ford Mustang. Beautiful car, classic American muscle. This car fresh out of the factory is near perfection. It’ll move, and move real fast. It’s slick, sleek, sexy, and powerful. Like SharePoint, if the car isn’t taken care of, it can become a terrible waste of money that no one even wants to drive.

What would happen if you took this great car, and never gave it an oil change? It’s not the car’s fault it won’t run, it wasn’t taken care of, it wasn’t properly maintained. What if I put oil in the gas tank? Ouch! SharePoint is a lot like the Mustang. It’s an amazing piece of software, a powerful platform, but if it’s not implemented correctly it won’t run properly and everyone gets mad.

Enough on my rant. You already have SharePoint, and your users don’t like it. However it was implemented, by who and when, it needs help. Don’t play the blame game, let’s fix it! I believe you have earnestly done your best in trying to make it a good solution, but without training or knowing what you don’t know, it’s difficult.

I will attempt to extract the common issues I’ve seen and heard, and see if we can’t improve our SharePoint implementations together. I am targeting administrative and end user frustrations. Are you a developer? Sorry, I won’t be going into great developer detail herebut I think the series can still apply. Check out my other post on keeping a love hate relationship with SharePoint. Developer headaches in SharePoint abound.

Here’s what to expect. My users don’t like SharePoint because:

This series will tackle the above statements, guiding and exploring what can be done to fix it. And finally we discuss collecting feedback, be proactive instead of reactive.

Don’t see your pain points above? Am I missing something? If you think there’s another good reason users don’t like SharePoint, leave me a comment below and I’ll check it out. I will gladly adjust my list and provide as much help as I can!

Til next week, happy SharePointing!

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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!