My Visit to SharePoint Saturday

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The 1st SharePoint Saturday in the UK was held on the 2nd October and I went along to listen to other SharePoint Professionals giving sessions on SharePoint. The venue itself was A* being held at the Hilton Metropole at the NEC in Birmingham and I was glad that the northerners hadn’t been overlooked with the event being held in the midlands, taking just over an hour to get there on the train was ideal.  There were certainly a lot of people there and I was suitably impressed by the number of guest speakers that had flown in from around the world to give sessions on everything from using JQuery with SharePoint, through to SharePoint roles in a project.

The opening keynote was given by Mark Miller and Joel Oleson who are 2 of the official top 50 influencers in the world for SharePoint (unofficially probably in the top 5). Mark had interviewed a lot of the speakers about what they thought was the most exciting features of SharePoint 2010 for end users, which was delivered by using a journey through the SharePoint Shire meeting Elves, Hobbits and SharePoint Wizards along the way, which baffled and at the same time amused me. Joel then followed up by liking SharePoint projects to everyday situations like juggling and creating Robot Barbie’s, I think you had to have been there to understand the meaning, on to the serious stuff…

I opted for the Business track of the 6 tracks that were available, being a Project Manager who delivers to businesses I thought this would prove the most value. A lot of the sessions were targeted at the end users but this gave me insight into some of the issues they encountered when commissioning SharePoint Solutions. There were people in the sessions that had worked on SharePoint projects with up to 700,000 users so this gave a real insight into the kind of problems they encountered on this scale. The key message that came across is that when delivering a SharePoint project we should try and solve each business problem and not push the SharePoint Platform as the answer to everything. An interesting session about training SharePoint users gave some valuable insights into how training should be undertaken with the main theme being that when delivering training it should be staggered if it is over a day in duration so that the users can learn the basics and have a chance to put what they have learned into practice before learning intermediate or advanced functionality. There were plenty more sessions going on throughout the day that catered for everyone’s interest in SharePoint from the developer to the end user, it is a pity I couldn’t get to them all.

The day closed at 5pm with raffles galore and winning a book helped pass the journey back. I would not hesitate going again and I think the experience of the people running the sessions really showed through and was invaluable.

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