SPTechCon 2014: Dan Usher Shares the WORST Practices of SharePoint

In his presentation at SPTechCon
, Booz Allen Hamilton’s Lead SharePoint
Solutions Manager and Architect Dan Usher turned the tables on what we know
about SharePoint implementations and deployments.  Rather than focus on SharePoint best
practices, he instead decided to focus on Worst
Practices of SharePoint

Specifically, he focused on how to optimize your SharePoint environment
and operations as well as looked as some common ways administrators could get a
botched system implementation and deployment back on track.

Dan began his presentation
identifying the three main types of problems individuals face when implementing
SharePoint: technical challenges, business challenges, and social
challenges.  Some of the most common
technical challenges include: authentication and authorization; search
and findability, user interface design and branding; application lifecycle management;
and migration challenges.  As for some of
the most common business challenges, perhaps the biggest hurdle, according to
Dan, comes with user adoption.  As we’ve
heard time after time, when you are unable to motivate and engage your users,
your SharePoint implementation is destined to fail.  The last type of problem Dan identified was
social challenges.  One of the main challenges
with implementing social is maintaining proper governance.  We’ve all seen it happen – someone posts
something controversial that they shouldn’t have an all of sudden there’s a PR
nightmare.  It’s for this reason that
implementing proper governance is critical to having a successful SharePoint

Next, Dan segued into some of the external influences that can threaten your SharePoint
implementation and deployment. 
Specifically, he looked at some of the operations and maintenance sins
individuals commit.  These include:

  • Not planning for emergency/unscheduled maintenance
  • Deploying code without testing in a staging
  • The lack of regression path;
  • Not having an active disaster recovery plan; and
  • Not taking into account the business continuity
    of operations.

In addition, he looked at some of the key misconceptions
people have when implementing and deploying SharePoint.  One of the main issues he pointed out was not
properly planning the migration to SharePoint and the consolidation of legacy
systems and fileshares.

Dan next transitioned into a discussion of site collections
and how properly maintaining and controlling them can optimize your SharePoint
environment.  One of the key issues
related to site collections that he focused on was permissions management.  It seems like all too often with SharePoint,
when someone is having issues accessing a site or site collection, the answer
is simple – you don’t have the proper permissions.  Managing permissions is key to making sure
your environment runs smoothly.  He
emphasized this pointing out two worst practices that he sees all too often:
Removing the SharePoint group that you gave full control and removing yourself
from the SharePoint group that has full control.

The next topic of conversation centered around one of the
biggest and most often seen worst
practices of SharePoint
– not planning your installation.  Dan identified six of the top mistakes
administrators make when installing SharePoint:

  • Not defining business requirements;
  • Trying to use SharePoint for something it’s not;
  • Not defining which workloads;
  • No access to Active Directory;
  • Short changing hardware; and
  • Short changing tech training.

    So once you’ve avoided some of the major challenges that
    come with installing SharePoint, what are some worst practices you should avoid
    when configuring it?  A number of the
    worst practices he identified were related to setting up Kerberos.  These included: not reading the documentation,
    not knowing how to use ADSIEdit or setsp, not realizing that Kerberos usually
    dies at the boundary, and not understanding the Claims to Windows Token Service.  So what SHOULD we be doing to ensure that our
    SharePoint configuration is successful? 
    One of the main things you can do is to pay attention to and take
    advantage of workflow in SharePoint.  Some
    of the things that administrators need to remember to do include:

    • Install Workflow Manager and Service Bus;
    • Set up User Profile Service;
    • Make sure App Management Service is running; and
    • Open your ports.

    In closing, Dan taught us that for
    all of the things that can go wrong with your SharePoint implementation, one of
    the best things we can do is learn from each other. By sharing best AND worst
    practices, we can ensure that everyone is successful and free of SharePoint related

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