Lesson 4, build a pilot

The curve of evolution of your final solution works very fast in the first month and you have the feeling that everything goes fast.

But suddenly the evolution stops and you find in the middle of thousand of adjustments that makes you think: “butterfly effect box” is the right name for SharePoint.

So build a quick pilot and give the customer the perspective and the feeling about what they are going to see at the end of the project is very useful in so much terms for the solution building.

Lesson 3, development no, implementation

You cannot talk about development, just talk about implementation.

SharePoint consultants are mainly clicking and clicking tabs and configuring the black box in different ways.

Just one click in one place is going to completely change the behaviour of some aspect that you are going to hate it.

You will face things like: if we configure this parameter as “yes” 95% of the security is going to work. If you configure it as “no” this new requirement from the customer will be achieved but 50% of the security model will fail.

Isn’t there a solution? no with SharePoint development tool: you have to customize it with Visual Studio or say the client we cannot do that for them.

So then you are in trouble… again.

Good SharePoint consultants looks finds work around for all these things, but they also have consequences on other areas.

In any case you have to achieve a degree of commitment.

The weird call of the week

I have received a fun call Today:

  • Me: what can I do for you?
  • Other: I want to implement Reach on my client. Have you installed Reach on your client?
  • Me: no, I have not done it. What do you mean?
  • Other: someone told me you worked on Reach activities.
  • Me: That’s true. But we have not implemented Reach on the client. We have helped them to adapt its processes and applications in order to be Reach compliance.
  • Other: so isn’t it something published by European Union?
  • Me: Yes, what is published is a set of goals and deliverables that can be done by each company in the way they want.
  • Other: Then, is not Reach an SAP module?
  • Me: no it isn’t.
  • Other: really? Then what is it?

I cannot continue…

At the end, the situation made sense. The customer is a mid-size company who has pre-register all their activities and that now is preparing the processes to arrive to the 10 Tons milestone in 2013.

Wabi sabi

I have been some months working on this: http://www.wabisabi.com.es/

Finally I obtained the approval to move to production on 15 September. I write the date, because is something I want to remind, it will be useful for future.

What was the most difficult thing to achieve this web page?

  • To find a convenient hosting service?
  • To learn how to work with Joomla environment?
  • To work on security issues related to the hosting and Joomla?

No, the most difficult thing was to define the detailed requirements from my wife.

Lesson 2, SharePoint is not Lotus Notes!

Our customer comes from Lotus Notes, they still have it. They are used to have everything they want as they want: I want a button here,…I want an specific work-flow there, I want this specific security in this corner of the screen….

We agreed to do not use Visual Studio, just SharePoint developer. The budget constraints and the agreement was to implement a solution as standard as possible, and we have finished the project without any customization, but we have spend thousand and thousand of no profitable discussions with the customer explaining that we cannot help them with those specific requirements.

They have told us things like: “…you have not the enough expertise…”, “…this specific request is written in the project definition” (where??)…. just letting them knocking their heads the wall and get themselves convinced that they have not other option.

You can explain all this stuff and they will agree with you, 10 minutes later they will call you back to you with the issue again.

If you are involve in a T&M project: add hours for this.

Lesson 1, how is SharePoint behaviour

We received yesterday the acceptance of the first SharePoint project I have being involved with the customer I provide services.

It has been an important experience for me in all terms. I have a list of lessons learned in my mind that I cannot even write. But I will try to do a polite short list.

This is my personal point of view so I’m sure I’m wrong in some of the things shown here, so take care. It just focus on what is new for me: SharePoint.   So…

Lesson 1, how is SharePoint behaviour.

In a nutshell I would say that SharePoint is a black box where you add things and provides the necessary response to the end users.

To keep the stability of the system you have to take care about all changes in its environment: a windows patch, a configuration change: everything that is linked directly or indirectly with the connections between the SQL server and the SharePoint server is something you have to attend as first priority.

One of the things that this project has failed is the fact that our customer didn’t want to hire a service support for the SharePoint server. They have new servers and they decided that was better to have service at the end of the project. This has meant that several performance problems has been appearing again and again when the server has environmental factors affecting to it.

SAP technical upgrade

Three weeks of fun working on a proposal for an assessment.

The work to be done was just to estimate how to assess a SAP instance for being upgraded from a very old version to ECC.6

There is people who do this job everyday but it is not my case.

So I’m happy to have learnt so many organizational aspects needed to have an upgrade done, how the functional test should be organized, how the test cases should be prioritized.

The way that these upgrades are done is so industrialized and the people who where defining all the activities were just identifying particular facts on the existing environment, that is where you can have the future bad news.

There is so much stuff around technology too, for sure, that taking into account that I don’t know nothing about that, it was good to have a picture in my mind.

Other interesting point has been to work with automation tools that provides a lot of information for these assessment exercises. We have studied 2 tools where 2 specialist from the company helped us to understand the real added value behind the white papers, and the cost, always the cost of using them.

The proposal is sent and now, for some hours I’m a happy, tired person.