Also why I’ve been quiet…

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I’m in an airport (again), typing this on my way back from my latest trip to New Zealand – a country I am loving more and more each time I go there. (Anywhere that I can go that uses the same power plugs as back home is a great place in my book).


A while back I posted about the book I am writing with Kailash Awati (Beyond Best Practices). If that project wasn’t taking enough time, dedication and brain cells, I have just finished an undertaking that has essentially consumed me for four months (some 450 man hours). This week it was delivered and the student responses far surpassed my expectations and made it all worthwhile.

I created a 4 day SharePoint 2010 Governance and Information Architecture training course as part of Microsoft New Zealand’s Elite initiative. (760 pages of SharePoint governance and IA goodness!) If you are not aware of the Elite initiative, it is a novel initiative by Microsoft in New Zealand to improve the quality of SharePoint practitioners in the Microsoft partner ecosystem. Now I tell you – Darryl Burling and his team down there at Microsoft have their ear to the ground – and really do listen to their customers. They initiated this program to allow local solution providers to take the next step beyond technical knowhow and turn it into deeper proficiency.

The SharePoint Elite Partner Initiative is designed to recognise those New Zealand Partners who have built skills excellence and a track record for success with SharePoint into their business. When it comes to SharePoint, these are the elite – the best of the best. If you are looking for a partner who can help you plan and deploy your SharePoint implementation, these are the best in the business.

This Elite program is unique in its focus and via the insight of those who conceived it, allowed me the flexibility to create a course that was a balance of technical labs, sensemaking, governance, critical thinking and user engagement. I was going through the course feedback just now and the key trend from it all was that the students really enjoyed the softer stuff that I teach, more so than the “here is a SharePoint feature and look at what it can do!” type material (they can get that sort of material anywhere).

So all in all it was a great week, which made all the effort, sweat and tears leading up to it worth it.

So thanks attendees, it was a great 4 days. For other readers, hopefully the course might come to a city near you in the not too distant future.


Thanks for reading

Paul Culmsee

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7 Responses to Also why I’ve been quiet…

  1. Rene says:

    Hi Paul,

    In my opinion it’s great that Microsoft is taking that step – now it’ll be a lot easier for customers to see which partners do not just have the technical knowledge, but also the (in my opinion even more important) knowledge about those (as MS categorizes them) “Business disciplines”. In my daily work, I’ve found these two be more relevant than the technical knowledge (at least for my role).

    I suppose there’s no other way to acquire the “760 pages of SharePoint governance and IA goodness” other than working for a MS partner and participating in such a workshop?
    And any updates on your Beyond Best Practices book? I’m also quite interested in that, and wonder when it’ll be released.


  2. admin says:

    Hi Rene

    Watch this space. Although it was the vision of Darryl and his MS NZ colleagues that made it happen (ie gave me the confidence to write a course like this), I’m free to take the course anywhere and everywhere, so lets see whether training providers see the same gap that you and I see. After the BBP book is releeased, I may turn this course into a book, which would probably end up looking like the SharePoint oriented field guide of BBP.

    I’m pretty open to suggestions re leveraging it so ping me directly.

    (Kailash will be happy now – I had to stop writing BBP since late June to get this done).



  3. Mike Bunyan says:

    Judging from your outline I would welcome seeing a book and/or more detail of the content in the public Microsoft material or public domain, not just for partners. As much as I admire many Microsoft partners not all share thier knowledge and insight with those they are contracted with, and leave the owners with big gaps to fill when maintianing and growing a system, sharepoint or other.

  4. admin says:

    Hi Mike

    Any MS Partner that doesn’t share their knowledge with their client will find that their client will find someone who will in the longer term. In fact one facet of the secret sauce of a good SharePoint deployment is building capabity in the client.



  5. Anders Rask says:

    WTG Paul! Glad you pulled through. And best of luck with the book!

  6. Yup, I’m happy. Back to work on BBP 🙂

    Seriously, though, the IA course was a major undertaking. Echoing Anders, I’m glad you pulled through too.

    Very well done mate!


  7. Paul G. says:

    Hi Paul,

    I discovered Horst Rittel’s works and Jeff Conklin’s follow up almost ten years ago, and it kind of changed the way I see my engineering’s job. And then came SharePoint and the “social fragmentation / complex problems” it triggers.

    Your blog talks loud to me and I would welcome the possibility to buy your “760 pages of SharePoint governance and IA goodness” if you ever plan to turn it into a book or, at least, e-book.

    Best regards,

    Paul G.

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