Why do SharePoint Projects Fail – Part 3

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This third post in the “Who do SharePoint Projects Fail” series has been hard to write, not because I am struggling with ideas, but because I have too many! It is hard to put all the reasons why SharePoint projects go wrong into a coherent chain of logic.

In the first two posts in this series, we did a basic examination of wicked problem theory.

Part 1 introduced you to tequila slammers, as well as the pioneering work by Horst Rittel and the concept of wicked problems.

Part 2 also delved into the murky depths of academic history to demonstrate that even back in the seventies when ABBA stole the hearts and minds of teenyboppers around the world, at least some people had time to look at wicked problems in relation to building IT systems.

If you take away anything from part 1 and 2, it is this.

  • Too many tequila slammers hurt
  • Before you blame the product, the project manager, the stakeholders, the nerds, the methodology or anything else in vicinity, go back to the problem you are solving and determine its ‘wickedness’

Now we will finally look at this large, complex, scary beast known as SharePoint. I have no means to quantify how much of a percentage of project problems arise from issues related to “the product”, but it definitely happens. Unsurprisingly enough, it is easy to argue that some of the areas that I highlight below are people issues, but we still get to indulge in Microsoft bashing – and who doesn’t enjoy a bit of that eh?

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SharePoint for Cisco FanBoys (final housekeeping) – Part 6

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Hey there!

Sorry it has taken me a while to get back to the Cisco articles. The “choose your own adventure” post took longer than I thought it would and I also was side tracked blogging about annoying programming issues with XML and Javascript.

This is the last of the Cisco fanboy series of articles and really its more a tidying up of loose ends. To call this last article a Cisco fanboy article is a bit of a stretch actually, since we are now moving to a broader level of governance and accountability, and is therefore not really about Cisco, so I’ll start a new series more appropriately titled and continue from where this article leaves off. 

I started the series with the intent of starting with a seemingly innocuous scenario (Cisco TFTP backups), demonstrating how SharePoint can be leveraged as an okay point solution. I then tried to slowly expand the scope to the broader issues of complex infrastructure management management, while sticking to a Cisco/IP network oriented theme in an attempt to get technical thinkers (like Cisco guys) to think beyond nuts and bolts. This also demonstrated how thinking past ‘the point solution’ can being more substantive benefits. 

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Sharepoint for Cisco Fanboys (beyond TFTP) – Part 5

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Greetings SharePoint fans and Cisco people who are soon to be SharePoint fans! I’m back with part 5 of this series on leveraging features of MOSS 2007 and WSS 3.0 to help manage Cisco infrastructure.

For those of you who hate programming topics and have no interest in TFTP issues, we may well have finally gotten to a topic that you are interested in! For the rest of you, who have read the first four articles, we now shift our focus from getting Cisco configurations into SharePoint, to doing something useful with them once we have done so.

In this post, we will examine the out of the box capabilities of workflow in SharePoint and delve a little deeper into document libraries and content management. So this is more aimed at Cisco people than it is at SharePoint Pros. SharePoint people, much of the topics I cover in this article you may have seen before.

I personally don’t think this post has a high coffee requirement rating in terms of complexity of concepts, compared to the last two anyhow. However be prepared: it is a long read.

CleverWorkArounds Coffee requirement rating: imageimage

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SharePoint for Cisco Fanboys (and more developers) – Part 4

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Welcome to part 4 of my series on demonstrating SharePoint’s usefulness for storing Cisco configuration backups. What a hard slog it’s been! The last article (part 3) of this series focused on how to modify an open source C# TFTP server to upload files into a SharePoint document library using the SharePoint SDK.

Here is the quick recap on what we have covered so far

  • Part 1 illustrated how it it possible to use SNMP to tell a Cisco IOS device to dump its configuration to TFTP. We talked about the version control feature of SharePoint and why it makes sense to TFTP your configs to a SharePoint document library. We covered the WEBDAV network provider supplied with XP and Win2003 and finished off with a basic example using the TFTP server TFTPD32.
  • Part 2 went into more detail about the issues you can face when using the WEBDAV network provider. It also went into more detail on 3 TFTP server products (WinAgents TFTP, SolarWinds TFTP Server and TFTPD32 and why TFTPD32 ended up being the best choice for this purpose.
  • Part 3 then looked at a wonderful open source TFTP server written in C# called TFTPUtil. We modified the source code of this TFTP server to use the SharePoint SDK and upload files to a SharePoint document library.

Now both the WEBDAV and SDK methods had some issues. The WEBDAV method was obviously easy to set up because pretty much any application (theoretically anyway) can be made to work with it. I, however, had reliability issues with this method as part 2 detailed. The SDK method was much more reliable, but had its own problems. Many people would be uncomfortable with having to perform custom modification of an existing open source TFTP server, but more importantly, there are security implications with this method too.

So we have one remaining method that we can explore. This method is still based around modifications to the TFTPUtil source code but instead of using the SharePoint SDK, we instead use the SharePoint web services.

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SharePoint for Cisco Fanboys (and developers) -Part 3

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As I write this series, it is getting less and less about Cisco and more and more about SharePoint. This article is definitely developer centric, but since Cisco guys tend to be interested in the guts of the detail, I decided to keep going :-).

If you read my articles I tend to take the piss out of IT role stereotypes just to make it more entertaining reading. Sales guys and IT Managers tend to cop it the most, but I also like to have a dig at the expense of the nerds too. Cisco nerds on the whole are a great bunch, but I have to say, the scariest nerd I have ever met drank Cisco kool-aid in jumbo size!

If you have gotten to this article after reading the first two and you are scoffing at my audacity to suggest you TFTP your configs into SharePoint, chances are most people think you’re scary! If you are hitting this series of articles for the first time, go back and read part 1 and part 2 before being scary!

Seriously now, I thought that this would be a 2 part set of articles, but I got all bogged down in the methods of getting files into SharePoint. The WEBDAV based methods described in the previous article is easy to do, but ultimately is not the recommended method. So now, we will look at the ‘proper’ ways to do it and see if they are worth the effort. They work okay, but are more complex and I’m not convinced that the governance issues are necessarily worth it for many readers.

Degree of difficulty for this article is varied.

CleverWorkArounds Coffee requirement rating (for an application developer): image 

CleverWorkArounds Coffee requirement rating (for a non developer): image  image image image

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SharePoint for Cisco Fanboys (darn WEBDAV) – Part 2

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imageHere I am back again, illustrating some of the interesting possibilities that SharePoint offers for Cisco people.

To recap my last post, I showed you a little perl script I wrote to get an IOS router or switch to dump its current configuration to a TFTP server. I then used one of several freeware TFTP servers to show how you can have a TFTP server save the captured file into a version enabled document library.

I then hit a snag in relation to using a Windows Service to do this task. In this article we will delve into this issue in more detail. In addition, I ended up delving much deeper than I intended. So, like my branding series, this is going to turn into a multi-part series too, covering some application development, configuration, security and governance issues. How many parts it will end up being is anybody’s guess!

This is a technically oriented series of articles for the most part, so for you people who like the governance and finance stuff, you may not get too much out of this one. Although this article (part 2) focuses on my issues and observations with the Windows WEBDAV client, if you are one of these people who have ‘special’ feelings when you see those pretty blue Cisco boxes like the image above, then you may find some useful content here. 🙂

SharePoint developers and architects may also find this of interest.

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SharePoint for Cisco Fanboys – Part 1

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Cisco nerds! This series is just for you! I know that you think you’re way too cool for collaborative portals, especially a Microsoft one at that. Instead you are more interested in delving into the IOS command line, to perform arcane arts such as debugging that OSPF route redistribution into BGP or getting off on planning and implementing a large scale DMVPN solution. Maybe you’re into QOS and VOIP and simply dig all of those DSCP-COS mappings, class and policy maps and the like.

Although packets, cells and frames are your world, *nix is cool, Nagios is your idea of a portal and anything remotely connected to Microsoft fills you with contempt and is beneath you right? 🙂

Well if this is you, I do understand your point of view because I was you once, but after some therapy, I’m now out of rehab and doing just fine!

Having Cisco/general networking expertise will help you with this article, so depending on who you are, the amount of caffeine required to follow this will vary:

CleverWorkArounds Coffee requirement rating (for a CCNP or CCIE): image 

CleverWorkArounds Coffee requirement rating (for a non Cisco person or CCNA 🙂 ): image  image image

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WIFI Security: Background, Risks and Mitigation Part 2

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Like my posts on IT governance standards, I produced this training material some time back when I was doing a lot of IT security work. I’ve since moved onto other IT disciplines, but I hope that this article is of some use to those looking for an introduction to WIFI security. I have divided the material into two parts. The first half is background and theory, and this post illustrates a practical example.

First up, let’s finish off a little theory to go with the first post.

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WIFI Security: Background, Risks and Mitigation Part 1

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Like my posts on IT governance standards, I produced this training material some time back when I was doing a lot of IT security work. I’ve since moved onto other IT disciplines, but I hope that this article is of some use to those looking for an introduction to WIFI security. I have divided the material into two parts. The first half is background and theory, and the second half of a practical example.

I remember when writing it, my audience, although technically savvy did not a have a strong background in cryptography or security. So I tried to make it easy to read, rather than too technical. Not sure if I succeeded! 🙂

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An annotated IPSEC example

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IPSEC.. WTF? Isn’t this supposed to by SharePoint?

Well, yeah you got me.. but a few years back I was a Cisco nerd in the ISP industry and got pretty handy at it. I wrote this article 3 years ago but then forgot about it until recently.. so it may as well see the light of day because at the time I wrote it, there was very little info out there on this subject.

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