SharePoint reality TV?

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This is probably my last post for the year – winding down to the festive season 🙂 Thanks to all of you who’ve read my blog, it’s a good stress outlet for me and I hope that some of you have benefited.

So one final small post (by my standards) on whether there is truly such a role as a “SharePoint specialist“. To answer this, I propose we do this with an exciting new TV show called “So You Think You Can SharePoint?”.

What will happen is that all of us supposed “SharePoint specialists” will audition and be narrowed down to the final 10. Then each week, we demonstrate our SharePoint abilities in new and creative ways before a panel of expert judges who get to publicly humiliate us. Each week, one specialist gets voted off until we are left with our winner.

Original, huh?

So, why am on earth am I ‘borrowing’ from the TV show “so you think you can dance?”. Well, apparently, half the world thinks I look like Benji. (Seriously!)


No, not that Benji, this Benji!

He won season 2 of “So you think you can dance“. Unfortunately, that is where the similarities end. I can’t dance to save my life, but I’m willing to bet my long lost twin isn’t exactly a world authority on all things SharePoint 🙂

Moving from a ‘generalist’ to a ‘SharePoint specialist’

I was always a generalist in my career. I spent a lot of time with Microsoft gear of course, but I started in VMS and HP Unix. I coded in a number of languages and also had a bit of a Cisco/Linux fetish for a while there. I did networks and storage and then moved into security, but found it to be dead set boring – sorry security nazis, tech security work is fun, but I totally hated the compliance side of things 🙂

So using my Kung Fu metaphor, I had mastered a few moves 🙂

I first saw SharePoint Team Services years back and laughed at its crapness. Coming from implementing PCDOCS-Open (now Hummingbird) a few years before, I thought it was pretty terrible. The SharePoint 2003 product line was a big improvement and despite not coming anywhere near what PCDOCS did in 1998, I used it extensively and one company I worked for managed to completely abandon the file-system and became 100% WSS 2.0.

So when I saw MOSS07/WSS3 I knew pretty much instantly that it was going to be big because, firstly, it finally came close to PCDOCS and secondly, had the tools to effectively automate business process. I also knew I was finally going to become a product specialist and no longer be a generalist.

So with my background, do you think I would be able to audition for the inaugural season of “So you think you can SharePoint?”

Hell no, I’d never have made it past the pilot!

Study hard for season two!

After 18 months now, I am apparently a SharePoint specialist (well I’m getting paid for it! 🙂 ). But as I sit here writing this, I’ve just completed another brain draining day where I have basically been learning the pleasure and pain of SQL Reporting Services. At the same time I am reading a book on ISO9000 and learning the practice of BPMN. I’ve also learned to be a bit like Jerry Springer, trying to get my clients to both understand the product and understand their colleagues (like Springer it can sometimes get ugly!).

I’ve blogged on SharePoint branding, which requires me to know all about HTML and CSS, I’ve learnt how to code against SOAP web services, code workflows and event handlers in Visual Studio, perform governance planning, business analysis techniques and above all more documentation than I ever thought possible!.

(This is on top of all the ‘standard’ stuff like IIS, SQL, SAN’s, farm design, logical architecture and the like. )

Then the penny dropped. By becoming a SharePoint specialist, I’m now even more of a generalist than ever before!

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3 Responses to SharePoint reality TV?

  1. sezai says:

    Its true that you become both a Generalist AND a Specialist working with SharePoint.

    You “Specialise” in SharePoint but you still need to have general understanding and experience in so many varrying fields, what a paradox.

    Hey Paul, funny you mentioned it, you actually do look a lot like Benji ! But the question is, can you dance like him?

  2. Pingback: CleverWorkarounds » More SharePoint Branding - customisation using Javascript - Part 1

  3. susan says:

    wow. you just summed up the way i’ve felt ever since sharepoint walked into my life 9 months ago!!! it’s like a rocky relationship full of breakups, fights, compromise, and long talks. weeeeeee!

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