SharePoint Governance and Information Architecture Master Class, Why You May be Stupid, and How to Fix That!

If you are in the UK on November 22-23, 2010, or even if you are elsewhere, and you want to understand governance and information architecture in SharePoint, you may be about to be insulted. Chances are I am about to call you stupid, but the as the loving and gentle soul I am, I will also tell you how to rectify that situation.

My buddy Paul Culmsee is holding an information architecture master class in the UK in a couple of weeks. Paul has asked me to help promote the event, and that’s what I’m about to do. So, without further delay, let me tell you a bit about Paul and why you should attend his class.

Let’s do the brief version first, in case you’re in a hurry. If you’re in the UK at the time, or even if you are elsewhere, and have even the slightest interest in learning governance and information architecture in SharePoint, and you are not attending that event, you are stupid. Plain and simple.

To not be stupid, hurry along and book your seat, it only takes a couple of minutes.

To those who are still here, I’ll tell you why that first batch of people are stupid if they do not attend.

A few years back when I started our with SharePoint for real, I wanted to accomplish what every other SharePoint professional wants to learn, namely how to make SharePoint not look like SharePoint.

I’m likely just like you, so I went to the best friend I have for solving these difficult tasks, namely Google. Paul’s site came up, and from that point on, I knew I had found gold, both in Paul and in SharePoint.

Little known fact: A major reason why I started writing about SharePoint is that I was so inspired by Paul’s writing.

Paul is a funny guy and highly intelligent. He possesses both the technical skills (he’s a bit rusty, but don’t hold that against him) and the business understanding that makes him able to work in an area that is absolutely vital to SharePoint success. The combination of humor and intelligence is also very important in accomplishing what I find is extremely difficult; that of writing and explaining advanced topics in a way that makes it easy for others to understand.

Throughout the years, I’ve been fortunate to talk a lot with Paul, and we’ve had some pretty interesting discussions about all sorts of topics. I still find reading his blog to be one of my favorite chores, and I look forward to reading and learning from him, simply because of his clear and understandable way of explaining.

I still remember fondly when we discussed for hours what governance is and we sort of arrived at a conclusion that is is whatever you decide it to be, as long as everyone understands the same thing. How cool is that? Governance is whatever you want it to be. This is a perfect example of the simple but powerful truths that I find extremely fascinating.

Enough about Paul and me, let’s talk about this event of his. A while back, must be closer to a year ago now, Paul came to me with his f-laws idea. I won’t even begin to explain all of the details here, but I’d venture as far as saying that this is the gold standard for governance in SharePoint. He wanted my feedback which I gladly supplied, and since then, Paul has kept me up-to-date on the progress. I’ve seen some pretty raving reviews of his classes already, and I’m far from surprised.

Sadly, this isn’t a topic that I’m dealing with on a regular basis, so I’m not going myself. However, if I had not been a die-hard developer, working primarily on delivering the systems that people like Paul governs, then I’d sell vital parts of my anatomy to be able to go.

You can though! And you should. In fact, you’d be pretty daft to miss this opportunity. Paul is coming to Europe to hold a master class in SharePoint governance and information architecture. I wish that I had some way of magically transmitting my confidence in the value of this class to you, because I know this will be one of those events that will drastically change your views of those topics.

The event page really explains the details of the event, so let me just do what I am supposed to do, and highly, highly recommend that you take whatever measures you need to attend that class.

You won’t regret it.


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SPTechCon Report: Post-Event Thoughts and Thanks

I’ve made it safely and soundly back from SPTechCon in San Francisco and let me tell you right away: I had an absolutely great time.

The strength of the conference, as I’ve said many times before, is that it is large enough to attract some brilliant speakers but also small enough to maintain an atmosphere of intimacy. You get to spend time talking to people rather than running around and hoping to strike gold if you’re able, for a brief second, to make eye contact with Joel Oleson or Mark Miller.

I know that David, Ted, Kathy, and all the other people from BZ Media wants to have the biggest event possible, but frankly, big isn’t always beautiful. Keep the size that the conference is now and I think you’ll have happier and more loyal customers rather than a bunch of people who feel they’re losing out on something.

Oh, and of course, if you haven’t been to SPTechCon, you definitely should try it.

The bad thing this year was the location. Compared to last year, the hotel seemed like it had taken the blunt of the financial crisis. When you realize that all the restaurants are closed and your only option for getting lunch or dinner is a 15 minute walk from the hotel, well, it’s not really a good sign of the times. I hope that next year, the conference people finds a better location.

I would also like to say thanks to all the brilliant speakers who was there, and perhaps even an extra toast to Dux and Fabian who fought bravely to make an appearance despite the weather working against them. As Marc, I wont mention names (sorry Mark Miller, Joel Oleson, Mike Watson, Dux, Mike Fitz, Mark Rackley, Laura Rogers, and all the other people I met) because I’m bound to forget someone and they might take offence.

Well, honestly, it would only prove my bad memory; I don’t really care about offending anyone…

One person I want to mention specifically, though, is Danny Chin. Danny won the testimonial competition I ran this winter and got a free ticket to the conference, hotel stay, personal training and guidance, and, not least, got to personally meet some of the brightest minds of the SharePoint world and shake their hands. I know Danny appreciated meeting all of you and I’m certain that he came away from the conference knowing far more about SharePoint than he ever knew was possible.

The reason why I wanted to mention Danny in particular is because of his incredible stamina. He never got a break, we were either attending conferences, meeting people, or doing personal training at least 12 hours every day. I know how tiresome it can be to learn so much new stuff over many days, but Danny took it like a man, while maintaining his wonderful sense of humor and never complaining for a second about being tired or worn out.

Kudos to you, my friend!

I hope that you all have the chance to attend next year’s conference as I’ll definitely be back then. If you want to attend the conference in the meantime, there’s one in Boston this summer as well.


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SPTechCon Report: Pre-Event Meetings

I’m in San Francisco for the SharePoint Technology Conference, my favorite SharePoint conference among all.

I came to San Francisco on Sunday after a rather long flight for Dubai where I met with some very interesting people who will work on the USPJ Academy. The flight got delayed due to a nose-wheel problem, but it gave me a lot more time to think and learn. Monday was uneventful; say what you want about SPTechCon, it it’s not exactly located in the center of otherwise exciting SF.

Yesterday, which was Tuesday, people started arriving and I met with some great people I’ve only spoken to over the phone or Twitter earlier. I even got to hang out with Mike Fitzmaurice, one of my biggest heroes since I started in the SharePoint business. We hung out at the hotel bar with Mike’s wonderful and sweet wife and met up with several other nice people.

As you may or may not know, one important reason why I’m here this year is to meet Danny Chin, the winner of the testimonial competition I ran earlier this year. Danny won a free ticket, hotel stay, and personal training from me, and during the last couple of weeks, we’ve been talking back and forth to ensure Danny gets the most out of his stay here.

I also met with Danny yesterday and we spent some time getting up to speed on his progress. Danny has definitely been doing his homework, reading up on multiple journal issues and asking a whole range of ‘right’ questions. That shows great promise; it’s easy to ask any question, but asking the questions that makes sense and gives you important information requires skill.

I’m also saddened to hear that at least two speakers have trouble getting to San Francisco due to the weather. Fabian Williams and Dux are stuck on the east coast of USA, hoping for better weather. If they are unable to get here, at least I hope they will be able to do remote presentations.

I also had to go to bed early last night, since I’m still slightly in a European time zone. That’s why I didn’t get to join in on all the fun at the Tweetup last night, but I promise to be there for SharePint at the Elephant bar around 8 pm.

Talk to you then if you’re there, and if not, you’re really missing out!


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