Dialogue Mapping: The Ying to SharePoint Yang

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I don’t know about you, but as a SharePoint practitioner, I love the fact that I do not do SharePoint full-time anymore. I’d like to take some time to explain why this is the case, and how my non IT work helps me be a better SharePoint practitioner. To do so, I will talk about a recent non IT project I worked on. Who knows? This may give you some insights into how you view and approach collaborative work.

Western Australia is BIG

File:Kimberley region of western australia.JPGIn case you don’t know already, I live in Perth, Western Australia. You can see Perth if you squint at the map on your left and look to the south west area.

Western Australia is a bloody big land area and extremely isolated. One claim to fame about living in Perth is its distinction for being one of the most isolated cities in the world. In fact we has a population density is on par with Mongolia (this is dead-set true – I researched this fact). Of the 2.2 million people that live in the state, 1.8 million live in the Perth metropolitan area and the rest are scattered far and wide. In terms of distribution, there are no other major cities in Western Australia. The next most populated town outside of Perth is Mandurah with some 83,000 people. 

In the north of Western Australia, these towns are often separated by anywhere from a couple hundred to more than a thousand kilometres. The weather is very hot, the landscape is breathtakingly beautiful and the isolation here is hard to comprehend without visiting. The wealth of Western Australia (“GFC? What GFC?”) comes from the north of this vast state, via huge mineral deposits that China seems happy to buy from us, which in turn keep me and my colleagues busy putting in SharePoint around the place.

Now if you think Western Australia is big, get this: The Kimberley region of Western Australia (the top section marked in red) is almost as big as the entire country of Germany. For American readers, it alone is three fifths the size of Texas. For all that space, only around 45000-50000 people live there.

These wide distances create all sorts of challenges. At a most basic level, think about the cost of basic services to such a remote location with such a small population density. Cost of living is high and services like health care are always stretched and people living here have to accept that they will never be able to enjoy the same level of service enjoyed by their city slicker cousins.

Now that I have painted that picture in your mind, let me intersect that with one of Australia’s biggest wicked problems. The indigenous people’s of Australia have many social and health issues that have had a massive human cost to them. We are talking chronic alcoholism, physical and sexual abuse, depression, suicide and the whole range of mental illnesses. Families and communities tear themselves apart in a seemingly an endless negatively reinforcing cycle. Like many indigenous groups around the world, intervention approaches from earlier periods have had catastrophic long term consequences that were never considered at the time (a classic wicked problem characteristic). When you read the stories about the stolen generations, you cannot help but be deeply moved by the long term effects, the damage done and the sad legacy left behind.

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SharePoint Saturday Perth Wrap and SP2010 BOOTCAMPS!

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Well, the event that I never thought would ever happen in Perth happened, and not only did it happen, it had more interest than expected and some people unfortunately missed out. Jeremy, as a result, had to take many upset phone calls. It seems that for Perth, once a few people got wind of SharePoint Saturday, everyone wanted in.

There were great sessions, great giveaways and I think overall, tremendous value for this free event. Seven Sigma sponsored the showbags, which we managed to fill with some awesome goodies, thanks to the generosity of Brett Lonsdale at Lightningtools, Michael Sampson, Bjoern Furuknap, Dux Sy, Combined Knowledge and the good folks at Colligo. If you attended the event, please show your support to these guys – they really went above and beyond. Mrs Cleverworkarounds, on the other hand, never wants to see or hear the word “showbag” ever again! 

For me personally, I enjoyed meeting Michael Noel. I think he and I were the only non devs at SharePint (okay well maybe Joshua Haebets too 🙂 ). Speaking of which, Joshua and Milan Goss were also great to meet too, and I’m sure that there might be projects in the future we will see each other on.

Seven Sigma also donated a seat on the first SharePoint 2010 week-long bootcamp to be held in Perth. As a background: I met Steve Smith in New Zealand last year and we got on very well. Recently, we asked him if he would consider Perth to run his 2010 bootcamps and he has agreed! This is a great outcome for Perth, having beat out Sydney and Melbourne for being the first to run them as this will be the first time the courses have been offered to the general public in Australia.

Steve Smith and Gary Yeoman will be flying in from the UK especially for this event, so it is not to be missed. Both Steve and Gary are internationally renowned for the quality of their training and the courseware itself is the very same material that Microsoft itself uses to train their own staff on SharePoint 2010. All you eastern states people reading this?  It’s about time you went west anyway, so come and check out Perth’s beer while you are here!

SharePoint 2010 Beta Developer Track     4 days

  • Delivered by Gary Yeoman
  • Date:  27th April  -  30th April 2010
  • Cost: $3000 (+GST)

This course guides you through essential 2010 elements, from pre-requisites to system integration, giving you the skills to work confidently and leverage full value from new technology.

Please note: Due to our ANZAC public holiday this course is a 4 day course from 08:30 – 6:00pm. One additional session is added per day to make up for the Monday public holiday.

SharePoint 2010 Beta Administrator Track    5 days

  • Delivered by Steve Smith – MVP
  • Date: 10th May – 14th May 2010
  • Cost: $3000 (+GST)

Step-by -step understanding is the key to successful implementation and deployment of SharePoint 2010. This 15-module course will guide you through each critical stage, giving you exactly the skills you need to leverage full value from the latest SharePoint technology.

Book now at Seven Sigma’s website:


For more info visit: www.combined-knowledge.com.au

or contact: training@sevensigma.com.au

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Free open source WCM for WSS

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I have to say, Perth is home to some great SharePoint Talent. MVP Sezai is one prime example and Jeremy Thake is another.

But there is also another colleague of mine who you may or may not know – Tommy Segoro, who is one of those mild-mannered guys who simply gets down to it and produces great things.

Tommy has released a free, open source CMS that sits on top of WSS. Publishing pages, page layouts, the page editing toolbar, all on WSS, without having to upgrade to MOSS at great expense to get the publishing feature.



check it out for yourself!

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