Speaking at SPTechCon: Why is SharePoint Development So Damn Hard?

I’ll be speaking at SPTechCon in June (June 3rd, at way too early in the morning, aka 8:15 AM). Now you know, so you have yet another reason to attend, or stay away, depending on your attitude :-)

What is probably going to be a bit more interesting is the topic, and I’d like to prepare everyone for what you’ll learn if you decide to join me there. And, after all, you’ll only miss Joel Oleson ranting about upgrading to SP2010, and who cares about that or even him, right? We’re developers! We build stuff, not make it stick around forever.

No, let me clarify this, because the session is tagged as Intermediate Developers, although I’m not certain that would be entirely accurate.

If you join me, you’ll learn why you are so absolutely brilliant, provided you are a SharePoint developer of course. That applies to all level of developers.

If you are not a SharePoint developer, for example if you are a business user or a manager of development teams, I’ll tell you how amazingly good your people are and thus how great you must be to be able to keep those people in your team.

Oh, and if you are an aspiring developer, I’ll tell you how you are certifiably mad to even consider embarking on such a journey.

You’ll learn about some of the misconceptions about SharePoint development, about the various tiers of SharePoint development (including why many SharePoint developers don’t even know they are developers), and about the sometimes insane amount of different technologies that SharePoint developers need to master.

Oh, and you’ll learn about why a developer’s job is like shooting blindfolded at a moving target.

If you’re there, but can’t attend my sessions, for example if you think that Joel is just that cool and you need to be in his presence, then at least take the chance to say “Hi!” and let me know who you are. Who knows, perhaps I have a few swags for you?


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Learning SharePoint at USPJA. Part 3: Our Philosophy

I was going through the USPJA web pages and noticed that we hadn’t really focused enough on what our ideas are. As such, I wrote a new page containing an overview of our ideas, and thought it would make sense to post those ideas here as well.

As I have mentioned previously in this series, I’m not saying that class room training is a bad idea, but I think the ideas we have solves some of the problems of traditional class room training. For some, class room training is the only thing that works, and of course, having something else then is not going to give you anything.

However, I am a huge lover of freedom and I have a tendency to do things my way. If you are anything like me in that respect, you may value the freedom that USPJA provides too.

Here’s what I posted on the new page:

We know that you are extremely busy. If you are in the SharePoint industry already, your days are probably already filled with plenty of work.

On the other hand, you also need to stay up-to-date on new technologies and methods. That takes time, a commodity that is too scarce already.

Traditional SharePoint training happens in class rooms, in which an instructor leads a number of participants through a pre-determined curriculum. However, there are massive drawbacks to this approach:

  • You need to take time off your already busy schedule, usually the entire day or days, while the training lasts.
  • You need to attend at fixed dates and must find someone to replace you or postpone your regular projects.
  • You need to travel to a training location or at the very least have a trainer come to you and provide location and equipment for training yourself.
  • You get a fixed curriculum only – if you are a visual learner but the course only provides text content, your efficiency will drop.
  • If you want to stop a class to explore something else, you need to pay for and attend a different class.
  • If you find that the class isn’t right for you, you still have to pay and you have to pay again to take another class.
  • If you have a bad day and can’t concentrate, or become ill and have to stay home, you still have to pay, even if you don’t get any training value.
  • You learn everything within a short timespan and are expected to retain all knowledge – if you forget something, you need to pay for and retake the class.
  • After a training course is done, you’re on your own and have little or no support from the instructor or from your fellow students.

In short, the training provider determines when you learn, where you learn, what you learn, and how you learn.

Our philosophy is all about providing training on your terms. We want you to study what you want, when you want, where you want, and as much or as little as you want, without being financially punished for making these choices.

Studying at USPJA means:

  • You can study while you work and don’t need to take time off your regular responsibilities.
  • You can study whenever you want, both during the day, but also during the week. We have few real-time lectures or events, and those few we have are always recorded and made available.
  • You can study wherever you want – all our training happens online, and as long as you’re connected to the internet, you have full access to everything you need.
  • We provide multiple forms of content and you pick how you best learn, whether that is video lectures, text content, hands-on exercises, or guided assignments.
  • You can study any topic you want – all our training content is always available, 24/7/365.
  • If you want to stop a course and learn something different, it’s as easy as clicking a button.
  • You can spend as much or as little time as you want to learn and because the content remains available, you can revisit it at any time.
  • You pay only your tuition, regardless of how much you study, how many classes you take, whether you abort a class, or whether you study one hour a day or all day.
  • After you complete any of your training efforts, you are still part of the community, the faculty is still here to help you, and you’ll meet your fellow students the next day.

In short, our ideas mean that you, as a student, are in control of how you want to learn, what, when, and where you want to learn, without being penalized for having that freedom.

You can safely explore different methods of learning, whether that is taking classes, doing self-paced courses, exploring content in the library, trying out your ideas in our labs, or any of the other options we provide.

Because you pay a fixed tuition per month, you can do all of this without being afraid of losing money if what you try doesn’t work for you.

You choice is really whether you want freedom or just want to tag along with what someone else has chosen for you.


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SharePoint is Like Sex – The Top 11 Reasons

Here’s why:

    1. You do it best with someone you trust and know intimately, but it can ruin a good friendship if the result is bad.
    2. The more experience you get, the better the result becomes.
    3. You can hire a professional do to it with you, but it’s usually very expensive and less than satisfactory.
    4. If you do it alone, you’re missing out on a huge part of the collaborative experience.
    5. The first time you do it, you want to go slow and don’t try anything too advanced. It’s a good idea to listen to or bring along someone with more experience.
    6. It’s often a bad idea to do it in public and should at least be done with extreme caution.
    7. It can be really exhausting, but if done right, the rewards can bring you just a bit closer to heaven.
    8. It’s not about getting it done quickly, it’s about getting the best end result. However…
    9. It’s not always about the end result, it’s quite often just as much about the process of getting there.
    10. You’re never ‘done’ even after you ‘deploy’ your ‘solution’ – it’s always going to be more of the same later.
    11. If it’s a pain in the ass, you’re doing something wrong.



Yeah, I know, many of these things apply outside SharePoint too, but hey, I’m a SharePoint guy, what can I say..?


PS: Feel free to suggest other reasons. Comment below :-)

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