SharePoint 2016, Like It Always Was

I’m not following SharePoint, no, but you have to be blind not to have noticed there is a new version coming out. Like I said two years ago and started describing three years ago.

Doesn’t matter. What matters is how it’s done.

Let me point out a few of Microsoft’s “here’s what’s coming” projects.

.NET Open Source

During Connect, Microsoft announced they were open-sourcing .NET and porting it to Linux and Mac. Here’s more or less how that happened.

“Hey, we’re open-sourcing .NET. It should be on Github in a few moments. Whoops, there’s the first public pull request, I was hoping to do that myself.”

In other words: here’s what we’re going to do and here it is, as ready as it is, probably full of problems, but we could really use your help in making this better. Thanks a bunch, you’re awesome!

Windows 10

A bit earlier than connect, Microsoft also announced that Windows 9 would never be, but instead would be a brave attempt at unifying all current and some future device platforms into one OS. Here’s more or less how that announcement happened:

“Hey, we’re betting the barn on this new version of Windows. It should be on in about 24 hours. It will probably break and frustrate the crap out of you, but we really could use your help in making this better. Thanks a bunch, you’re awesome!”

A bit later, they even made a video to thank those of us that have tried Windows 10:

This is Microsoft’s flagship by far; the most important piece of software, perhaps on the planet. It works great and they’ve made important changes based on the feedback from users.

SharePoint 2016

So, how is the announcement of SharePoint 2016 going? Following the same pattern? Will they look at the launches of the open early access programs for Windows 10 and .NET and learn from it? Will they finally hear what people have been saying for years?


Like earlier versions, there’s possibly something coming at some time later, maybe this year if everything goes according to plan. Want to help Microsoft make it better?


That’s right, rather than reaping the insane value of open early access programs like Microsoft does with .NET and Windows, the SharePoint team continues to play its secrecy game that has hurt their partners and the industry over the previous years.

You have to prove to Microsoft that you are worthy to be part of the early access group. I guess that’s slightly different from earlier versions, where only MVPs and a few secrecy-clad clients were allowed to “help out” (although in reality, it was all set in stone before anyone outside of Redmond got a say).

Will You Help?

For SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013, I spent considerable time and resources to disclose information about the upcoming versions. This time, I won’t.

The SharePoint ship is sinking, and although some people claim that is a crystal ball prediction, I don’t want to be part of it.


The massive success of the strategy I have proposed for six years is now proven, on scales the size of which would make the SharePoint team jizz in their collective pants. The massive failure of the app model in SharePoint 2013 could have been avoided had they told the world what lunacy they were planning. It could have saved SharePoint 2013.

Rather than listen, however, the crew of the ship, namely the SharePoint team, will go down with their decision to go against virtually the entire community and even now the evidence from their own company.

Feel free to ask me again why I think it’s a stupid idea to be in SharePoint. There was hope until early 2012. Now, all there is are far too few life rafts and a stubborn group playing violins.


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Why SharePoint Recruiters Are So Bad

From time to time, I’m approached by a SharePoint recruiter looking to get my help in hiring the perfect candidate for a position. You may be surprised to hear this, but finding and hiring the right candidate isn’t all that hard if you know what you’re doing.

If you’re such a recruiter however, chances are high that you have no idea what you’re doing, so I’m going to point out some of the mistakes you make so you can fix them.

It’s Not Low Hanging Fruit

One reason why the market to recruit SharePoint people is hot is that SharePoint people are generally paid very well. Recruiters work on commission, usually a percentage of the salary the employee gets.

That’s why it is very tempting to hire a $100K a year employee rather than an average support chump who is more than satisfied making $30K a year.

It’s human nature to seek the highest reward for the least amount of effort, but whereas understanding the reward is easy, many recruiters are incapable of understanding the effort.

It’s SharePoint, right? How hard can it be?

As common as it is to see a high reward as a tempting target, it is equally common to ignore some very basic logic. If it was easy to make three times the reward, you’re not the only one who realizes this. If people are still not hired, it’s probably because there’s more to the story than you think initially.

Recruiting people to SharePoint positions require a great deal of understanding. If you have that understanding and do the right things, you can find people that are suitable for a job fairly quickly and you reap the higher rewards.

If you don’t, you’ll make all the same mistakes that everyone else does and you’re wasting everyone’s time and money.

Your Ad And Why It Fails

Let me examine some of the mistakes I see in job ads and approaches to hiring SharePoint people.

“Great Salary!”

The worst possible line you can write in a job ad is that the position offers a great salary without any specifics.

First of all, if you don’t understand the business,  how can you evaluate the salary and call it great? Second, if you don’t know who you’re hiring, how do you know what they consider a great salary?

The problem is that when you say that there’s a great salary, or even a competitive one (which is even worse), you’re building expectations that you have no idea whether you’ll meet. I may think $200K is a great salary but you think that if you make $80K a year, you’d be set. Thus, when the time comes to negotiate a contract, I’ll be disappointed. That’s never a good way to recruit anyone.

If you know what the position pays, even if it’s just in a range, just tell me. You should know enough about the business to know what such positions pay.

No salary information is actually better than trying to tell me that I should be satisfied with what you think is great.

“Must Be Willing to Relocate”

I understand the value of team building. Having someone nearby to whom you can walk and ask questions, give tasks, or get feedback is awesome.

However, I’m already living in tropical paradise. I have the world’s biggest pool less than 30 feet from my door (it’s called “The Pacific Ocean”). I have wild macaws flying over my private rooftop terrace daily and monkeys call at me less than a mile from my living room. I love this place.

If you demand that I, or anyone, break up their current way of life, you need to offer something that is more valuable. I would consider moving from here for an additional $75-100K, which means that what you previously thought was “a great salary” is now up to $275-300K.

This tells you something important; I value my current way of life at a certain sum. Are you or your client willing to pay that sum or is the value too high for the convenience of having my stunning personality in your office?

Today, it’s easy, convenient, and moving towards completely normal to work in distributed teams. Perhaps it’s better to move with the times and see if there are cheaper and even better ways to accomplish what you want? Heck, it’s cheaper to fly someone across the country once a week than it is to relocate someone and pay them for the inconvenience.

“Here Are The Tools You Must Use”

If an evaluation of what you think is a great salary is the worst single line you can add to a job ad, the worst possible paragraph you can add is the tools you expect someone to use to solve your problems.

I’ve written about this extensively in the past, but as a recruiter, think how you’d react if your client comes to you and demands that you use only paper letters to contact potential candidates, or that you cannot use Google but must use Bing to search for resumes.

Would that make sense to you?

You’re given a task to do something which you possibly know very well how to do. You have your way of working, using tools you know very well, and processes that you’ve proven over years of experience.

Why would a client, who is not a professional, tell you how you should work and which tools solve the problem? If they know so well how to do your job, why aren’t they doing it themselves?

Now, take the previous two paragraphs and flip it on your potential candidate and see if it makes more sense. The correct answer, in case you cannot figure it out, is “no”.

So, stop telling people which tools to use. Instead, tell them what they need to do. “Build us an intranet that solves these problems” or “Replace this legacy database with something that adheres to these requirements” or “Reduce the time and overhead of managing projects by 25%”.

Note: Feel free to read up on Paul Culmsee’s article and especially the f-law #3 to understand more about how to set intelligent goals.

Understand the Business

The key thing you must do as a SharePoint recruiter, however, is to understand the SharePoint business. It’s hard work, I know, but without it, you won’t find the right people, and even if the right people are staring you in the face, you won’t know how to recognize them.

Understand what it means when you ask for a “SharePoint developer” or a “SharePoint administrator”. These terms do not mean what you think intuitively, and when you don’t understand them, you look for people that have the completely wrong set of skills.

Understand where the community is heading. Unless you interact with and understand at least the basics of how the SharePoint community works, you won’t be able to reach the right people. As an example of how effective this is, a recruiter who is well-known in the community recently sent out one single message to the right channel and landed resumes from highly qualified professionals within minutes.

Understand where SharePoint is headed. SharePoint is changing, dramatically. You can’t recruit people for the tasks of yesterday and expect them to cope with the tasks of tomorrow unless you also expect to give them the proper training. Oh, and yes, you’ll be paying for that training, whether it is in having incompetent people a year from now or it’s actually giving the employees the resources they need.

Intelligent recruiters know how to work with the community. Some of them approach community members to learn, seeing that those that make it reap huge rewards.

Others think that they can just apply their skills at hiring burger flippers at Mickey D and get the best SharePoint professionals in the world.

It’s up to you, really.


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Why SharePoint Professionals Are So Bad

Someone asked on Facebook:

“SharePoint Peeps. (primarily consulting) I have been doing an increasing number of interactions with the trusted SharePoint admin at a variety of customers. Maybe I am just being negative but. I am seeing a disturbing trend of a lack of real “expertise” in this arena. Is this just me, or are you seeing the same thing? Are you out there with these customer SharePoint folks thinking wow these people have it together or are you walking away thinking “who ties these peoples shoelaces for them?” or somewhere in between?”

Here’s my response and rant.

I’m still not sure you’re really serious about your question, but in case you are, as someone who has been actively engaged in the training space of SharePoint for a number of years, including building a university solely dedicated to SharePoint with a bachelor level track in training SP admins, let me just say this in as plain text as possible:

The average SharePoint professional, whether developer or administrator, is so poor at their job that, if their skill levels were applied to other areas, such as hairdressing or fixing your car, you would run away and live like a hippie for the rest of your life.

“Screw the do, I’m walking home”

The fact that SharePoint even functions to some extent is a credit to Microsoft’s development skill, not those who run or build on it. Sure, it has issues with the code base, but it’s a very complex animal and even getting an animal to walk, much less do all the tricks that SharePoint can do, is incredibly difficult.

Sadly, Microsoft took that skill and hid it away in the latest versions so SharePoint hasn’t really evolved. Like a dog, they took SharePoint behind the shed and shot it. They then brought back the skin saying “Look, SharePoint isn’t dead, it has just evolved into this nice rug”. Then they claim that they did this because everyone wants rugs.

Back to your question, keeping up with SharePoint is a full-time job and then some. Paradoxically, that is because SharePoint was never allowed to mature before it was replaced with a new version and the marketing department (including its field operatives, the MVPs) started focusing solely on “the new way to pet Lassie”.

Of course, people need to eat, and as such, they tend to do what their bosses tell them to do. Those bosses are people too, and people have an innate tendency to believe everyone else knows more than they do. As such, when the marketing department says “Everyone needs rugs, we’re now a rug company” then those bosses dutifully tells their employees to start shooting every dog they see.

So, SharePoint admins and devs, who want to eat, start shooting dogs and turning them into rugs, which initially are really poor rugs because nobody has any idea what a dog rug should look like. Developers have to learn tanning, and admins have to turn from caring and nurturing dogs to being interior designers.

However, as they get a bit of experience and start creating beautiful rugs with nice tints of color and practical shapes, Microsoft brings out a new strategy. The trend now is hardwood floors and nobody wants rugs anymore. In fact, it was a really bad idea in the first place.

Now, this happens at such a pace that by the time everyone starts to learn how to shoot dogs and turn them into rugs, there’s a new fad coming. Because it requires extensive investments in learning, usually done at the employee’s private time or at the cost of quality of their work or life, the employees get increasingly de-motivated. “SharePoint is hard” and “SharePoint sucks”, not because it actually is hard or sucks (c’mon, you have to spend a couple of weeks training to get a job; how hard can that be?) but because they’re constantly told to retrain to cater to the latest and greatest flimsical fad.

So, yes, you’re right. SharePoint admins suck. SharePoint developers suck. I’ve even worked closely with those considered the best in the business for years, and you’d be scared shitless at how little many of them actually know outside a laser focused area.

It’s not their fault, though. It is a fundamental flaw in how SharePoint is sold and how Microsoft promotes its strategy, as if SharePoint is indeed the core business of all its users and thus warrants the massive investments in training that it requires.


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