SPTechCon: SharePoint 101 – The End User … “A Day’s Walk in SharePoint with the Shepherd” with Rob Bogue

I am in Boston attending SPTechCon: The SharePoint Technology Conference this week.  This Conference should be fun, as I am attending as an end user this week. Bamboo isn't exhibiting in the Exhibit Hall at the show, but we're roaming the exhibit floor, attending sessions, and networking at meals and in the hallways in between sessions like everyone else.  As John Anderson mentioned in his earlier post, I've also learned that it's frequently at meals and in the hallways of SharePoint conferences that some of the best conversations take place.  I have already run into many familiar faces within the Bamboo partner community, and have been introduced to some new faces who want to join the program.

 The SharePoint Shepherd's Guide for End UsersI kicked off my day yesterday at one of the full-day workshops.  I chose SharePoint 101: The End User "A Day's Walk in SharePoint with the Shepherd." The Shepherd has a name, it's Rob Bogue.   I scored a copy of his latest book, The SharePoint Shepherd's Guide for End Users (2010). Although I got a pretty good synopsis of what to expect today, I am looking forward to reading the book and diving into some topics with a little more detail.  Although I have been in the SharePoint space since 2001, I don't think I have had any formal training on the product as an end user.  That is pretty hard to believe when I think about it, but probably not that uncommon.

Rob started the day by defining a few terms:  two of them being SharePoint and Collaboration.  SharePoint was described by using the "Ten Myths from SharePoint 2007" to lay out what it does and doesn't do. It's the silver bullet; gives you automatic organization; reduces storage space; everyone will embrace it; no training needed; just add water; discussions are social; good offline story; roll up support; flexible out of the box.  Collaboration was described by saying everyone needs to get better at it and needs more of it – but both terms are relative.   So in the context of trying to set a base line of understanding, the terms really remained broad and vast – and tied very well into his book and the analogies used around being a shepherd and the responsibility for the care and guidance of a flock of sheep.   As Rob stated, sheep need a relatively large area to graze to sustain the flock.  Protecting a flock might mean the difference between life and death for the family or social unit who depend on them. Shepherds guide the sheep into safe meadows and protect them from predators.  The book (and the daylong workshop) was designed to provide the same sort of protection that a shepherd of old would provide.  It's designed to guide SharePoint end users to greener pastures.  We learned some of the tasks you can do with SharePoint, but also exactly how to accomplish those tasks, all setup in a simple, step-by-step style.

Some of the tasks and areas of review included:

  • What is a content type?
  • How do I manage versions?
  • How do I get notified of changes?
  • Choosing the right site template
  • Should you create a List or a Library?
  • Organizing with folders or metadata
  • Should you create a Page or a Site?
  • Should you create a Subsite or Site Collection?
  • Managing permissions with Active Directory Groups or SharePoint Groups
  • SharePoint Designer

The list above is a just an example of the detailed step-by-step walkthroughs of the tasks end users perform most often in SharePoint, which were reviewed today and are outlined in The SharePoint Shepherds Guide for End Users 2010. What I liked most was the flow-chart decision trees that led us through some of the common questions that end users have – like what template to use when creating a site, or whether you should use active directory groups or SharePoint groups to manage your security.

I must admit, I came away from the day feeling a bit overwhelmed. Even though I have been "in" the SharePoint space for almost a decade now, I haven't really been "in" SharePoint the way I was today as an end user. Sure, I have used what our IT Manager has set up for us, but I never took the time to take my own department site to the next level.  With the instruction I had today, I can't wait to get started.  Having Rob's book by my side will help a great deal. I would highly recommend it.


Bamboo Nation's complete coverage of SPTechCon Boston 2010:

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