5 Steps to Manage Scope Creep in Projects, especially SharePoint Projects

While defining requirements for any project, you will run into scope creep. You get talked into adding little bits of functionality because “It shouldn’t take anytime.” Then you end up with an additional 900 requirements that “shouldn’t take anytime.” This happens A LOT in SharePoint projects, because SharePoint is so easy (according to some). If you don’t get a grip on this early in the process, you will run into this….

SCOPE

You are hired to build this within a specific timeline and budget

SCOPE CREEP

While defining requirements, the project morphs into this, but has the same timeline and budget

SCOPE SPRAWL

As you build, the requirements keep rolling in. Now people want this within the same timeline and budget

Here are 5 steps to manage scope creep before it becomes scope sprawl…

1.  Figure out what you want to accomplish

  • Clearly define what you want to see at the end of the project
  • If you want to save time or money, figure out how much time and money you are spending now
  • How much do you want to save? Pick a number or percentage. Example: We want to save 30 minutes per transaction. We want to reduce repair costs by 3%.
  • If this is a new process or solution, figure out what the CEO wants to see
  • All requirements need to map back to these decisions

2.  Rate requirements

  • All requirements should map back to what you want to see at the end of the project
  • Rate requirements on three things:
  1. Relevance to project end state – Is this requirement needed to reach the end state? Would this requirement make the end state better? Would this requirement make the end state perfect?
  2. Effort – How much time and money with this take? Which resources do we need to complete this requirement?
  3. Other Systems – Will meeting this requirement make changes to systems not currently involved in the project? The more systems we touch the more challenging it will be to meet the requirement. Was changing these systems part of the original scope?

3.  Next Version

  • If a requirement is not integral to the end state, the effort would be too great, or would touch too many systems, consider making it part of the next version or update to the end state

4.  Sign Off

  • Get sign off from the sponsor before the build. Very surprised at how often this doesn’t happen in SharePoint projects
  • Understand that even though you have sign off, there will be changes

5. Share

  • When there are changes requested, share with the rest of the team
  • Run the request by the sponsor after clearly defining relevance, effort and effect on other systems

What steps do you use to manage scope creep? Add them to the comments below.


Peek a Boo Where is My View in SharePoint 2013

It should come as no surprise to anyone that how we switch views in SharePoint 2013 lists and libraries has changes.

To make it easier to spot the differences between 2010 and 2013 let’s do a side by side comparison.

2013

2010

Document Library
In 2013 the Add New Document option is at the top of the library. In 2010 the link is at the bottom.

What to click on to change views
The Library tab is available in both 2013 and 2010.
Notice in 2013 all views are listed. In 2010 you need the dropdown in the breadcrumb

Make the View Menu appear
In 2013 click the ellipse. In 2010 click the dropdown in the breadcrumb.

View Menu from Library tab
Icons in 2013 look cleaner, but basically remained the same.

With another web part on the page
In both 2013 and 2010 adding another web part to the page makes the Ribbon disappear.
Users must select the web part they want to work with before the contextual Ribbon re-appears.
In 2013 the views remain listed. In 2010 the dropdown in the breadcrumb disappears.

Please let me know if I should add something to this side by side comparison for Views.


Your SharePoint User Is Not Stupid

That’s right!

Your user isn’t stupid; SharePoint is stupid.

There I’ve said it.

Let the skies open up and lightning strike me dead.

  • SharePoint is a tool.
  • Tools don’t do anything. They are stupid.
  • People use tools to build things.
    • The tool appears brilliant, but really it’s the builder, or the business analyst, or that team that knows the process/issue.
  • Teach people to use what was built.
    • Remember how intimidating and exciting it was to drive a car or ride a bike for the first time?
    • Did you try to do it on your own the first time?
    • Did you have help?

If you don’t teach your user how to use what was built, you will need to point that stupid finger at yourself, not your user.

You were hired for your job, solving issues with SharePoint (if you are lucky). The sales team you are building a solution for was hired for sales jobs. They are not stupid because they don’t know SharePoint. You are not stupid because you don’t know sales. SharePoint isn’t stupid because tools can’t be stupid they are inanimate (unless you have enchanted tools).

Consider this the next time you want to call a user stupid because they don’t know SharePoint.


Top 5 Reasons to Record SharePoint Demos

FilmStripNumbers

1)  Demo multiple environments

  • During your demo, switch between a recorded demo in SharePoint 2010 AND SharePoint 2013. You don’t need to run multiple environments on your laptop.
  • Don’t waste presentation time switching between applications. Edit out the time it takes to switch.

2)  Post recording

  • You post your slides, but no one sees the live demo. Post the recorded demo to YouTube and add the link to your posted deck.
  • Post the demo to your blog. It can make a complicated subject easier to understand. If a picture is worth a thousand words, is the video worth a million?

3)  Backup for live demo

  • Ever been to a session and the poor speaker can’t connect to the internet to demo the topic? Don’t be that person. Keep the recorded demo as a backup.
  • Something could go wrong with your virtual environment the morning of your presentation. Think automatic updates. Don’t laugh. I’ve seen this happen.

4)  Stay in PowerPoint

  • Switching in and out of PowerPoint or other presentation software interrupts the flow of the presentation. Embed the recorded demo in the slides. Warning – This will make your presentation HUGE and could be a problem if you try to email the deck.
  • Set up the video slide to play automatically. Use your clicker/slide advancer and never have to stand behind the podium.

5)  Amaze your audience with voice activated demo

  • Explain what is happening in the demo without splitting your focus. Sometimes it is hard to talk and click at the same time.
  • After the presentation several people have asked me, “What tool did you use to create that voice activated demo?” It makes me happy.

Use whatever video capture software works for you. I use Camtasia Studio 8. It costs money, but it will save your video in multiple formats, the editing tools are easy to use, and you can speed up or slow down the recording.

Do you record your demos? What software do you use and why?


Looking Forward to SharePoint Saturday in Austin Texas

If you are looking for SharePoint training or just want to find out what this “SharePoint Thing” is, join us on March 2nd, 2013 in Austin Texas for SharePoint Saturday.

Over 40 hours of sessions are scheduled through the course of the day. Sessions include everything from PowerShell to Yammer, Governance to jQuery, intro sessions to deep dives, and much more. Presented by some of the best SharePoint people from across the country and around the globe, these people deliver some top rate content. There is free food, prizes AND SharePoint.

Did I mention this all day event is FREE?

Sorry for shouting.

Of course none of this would be possible without the fabulous support of all of the SharePoint Saturday Austin Sponsors. Make sure to stop by their booths to say thanks for such a great event. If you use their products/services tell them what you like about them or features you’d like to see. Remember, without the support of the sponsors we’d be hanging out in someone’s basement all huddled around a laptop eating whatever we brought and drinking tap water.

Special thanks to the Organizers for donating all of your already sparse free time to arranging the whole shebang. Check out their mug shots on the #SPSATX site and thank them the day of the event. Special shout out to Richard Calderon for great organization of information sent to the speakers. I think #SPSTC will be stealing/borrowing some of your style because it ROCKS!

I am having a hard time waiting until Friday to hop on the plane and head down to Austin.

Don’t miss out on this great FREE event. At last count (1:10pm on 2/25) there were only 58 seats left. Register NOW at http://spsatx2013.eventbrite.com/#

Check out all of the sessions here.

Here are just some of the sessions I plan on attending:

9:30 am

SharePoint Branding 101: Concept to Production with D’arce Hess
When looking through the internet, it is easy to see a great website and think “I want that” or “How did they do that?” You go to your office and start digging in with concepts and a grand vision of what your company’s new site will look like when completed. While you have an idea of what your site will look like finished, there are many steps that will happen long before you see the finished product. In this session, we will go through the vital steps you should take starting with the creation of the initial wireframes and mock-ups on to the creation of page layouts and master pages. You will learn what design features to take into account when creating a Publishing Site versus a Non-Publishing site and the planning process for both.

OR

Getting It Right the first Time: Project management as the Key to Successful User Adoption with Leanne Bateman
User adoption is the most critical success factor in any SharePoint implementation. User adoption needs to be planned for from the beginning of the project, using a project management approach that integrates a strategy for user adoption best practices. These best practices ensure that the customer is involved in the process from start to finish, in a managed way, while allowing IT to focus on what they do best: design and deliver the technology. This session is for anyone involved in the planning of SharePoint projects.

10:40 pm

Content Types: Easier Than the Theory of Relativity with Tamara Bredemus ßThat’s me.
Everyone talks about them, but what the heck are they and how can I use them? We’ll start with some demos of how to use custom content types, then on to what the heck are content types anyway and we’ll end with another demo to build content types in the browser. Although the demos will be in SharePoint Server 2010, the steps to create content types are basically the same for 2007 & 2013.

Key Take Aways

  1. When to use Content Types
  2. How to plan Content Types
  3. How to create Content Types

11:50 am – Lunch

Women in Technology (Panel Discussion)

1:00pm

The New Design Manager in 2013 – What Does It Mean for You? With Benjamin Niaulin
One of the biggest changes coming in SharePoint 2013 is the new Design Manager. This session will look at every added feature and the different approaches to use them. How do other Web Parts leverage this new feature? Get to know the impacts this will have on your current and future projects.

OR

Practical SharePoint Information Architecture with Ruven Gotz (Also recommend Ruven’s book Practical SharePoint 2010 Information Architecture)
This high-level overview touches on the tools and techniques that have made me a successful SharePoint Information Architect and Business Analyst.

SharePoint 2010 can be dangerous to your career: Expectations are often set very high, and not enough time is invested in understanding how those expectations can be met. Many SharePoint 2010 projects fail to meet their initial goals. Practical SharePoint Information Architecture arms you with proven tools that will help you to ensure that there is an agreement on the goals and scope, and how to then efficiently design your taxonomies. You will learn how to educate your users on what metadata is and why it is important so that you can build SharePoint 2010 solutions that exceed the expectations of your users.

You will see demonstrations of the tools that I use for planning and documenting the scope, navigational taxonomy, document taxonomy, metadata, page layouts and workflows for a successful SharePoint 2010 project. If you have been tasked with delivering an intranet for collaboration, document management or as a corporate portal, your only chance for success is to get all of these elements right, and then to make sure that you and your stakeholders are all on the same page.

2:10 pm (Serious problem with this time slot. I want to see all of the sessions at this time.)

Managed Metadata A to Z – Plan, Implement, Make it a Success! with Stacy Deere-Strole and Stephanie Donahue
Despite the hype, there is still a lot of confusion and misunderstanding surrounding metadata in SharePoint Server 2010. We cover Managed Metadata starting with the planning phase through implementation, and provide tips on how to make it successful in your organization. We will also discuss the direction of managed metadata in the near future.

  • Planning – where to start, who to talk to, planning guides
  • Creating Metadata/how-to
  • Explanation of the parts; Defining and comparing keywords, content types, tagging, and metadata and when to use each
  • Different ways to use Metadata in your site
  • How it drives search results
  • How metadata is utilized in User Profiles
  • Tips and Tricks

OR

What Governance Looks Like in the Cloud with Christian Buckley
This session reviews the changes coming to SharePoint due to Microsoft’s plans for the Cloud, helping attendees to better understand the impact of the Cloud to their business. We’ll discuss the rise of the hybrid SharePoint environment, and whether this model makes sense for your business, as well as how moving to the Cloud will impact your SharePoint planning, and your ability to manage SharePoint across the enterprise.

3:20 pm

CSS Tips and Tricks from the Trenches with Cathy Dew
When making SharePoint not look like SharePoint there are many challenges that you face. Many of these issues can be addressed through CSS alone. In this session we will cover a wide variety of issues that you can make an impact on a SharePoint UX design with simply CSS.

4:30 pm

Closing Session/Raffle

Comment and tell us what sessions you plan to attend.


SharePoint Permissions Active Directory vs SharePoint Groups

What should we use to manage SharePoint Permissions: Secure Active Directory (AD) Groups or SharePoint Groups?

As with everything in SharePoint the answer is, “It depends.” Most people end up using both AD Groups and SharePoint Groups to manage permisisons.

Before we discuss the pros and cons of both AD groups and SharePoint groups, there are a couple things we need to keep in mind.

Keep in Mind

  • A distribution list is NOT an AD Group
  • An AD Group MAY have a distribution list
  • Only Secure AD Groups can be used

Active Directory Groups

Pros

Cons

Managed by IT
The IT Department creates and manages the groups. The Site Collection Administrator and/or Site Owner do not need to add and remove users from AD Groups.
Can’t see users
SharePoint can’t open AD Groups. This makes troubleshooting permission issues a challenge. If the AD Group has a distribution list, put the distribution list in the To: line of an email and expand to see the users.
May contain multiple groups (nested)
If a department is made up of several teams, the department AD Group usually contains the team AD Groups. This makes managing users easier.
Can’t use with Person/Group column
SharePoint can’t open AD Groups. When using a Person/Group column, under Additional Column Settings we can allow people to select from all users or only users in a selected Group.
Great for large groups
Adding smaller AD Groups to create a large AD Group makes managing users easier.
Sometimes not kept up to date
IT manages Active Directory. Sometimes there is a delay in communicating changes to IT. Active Directory usually syncs with SharePoint overnight.

SharePoint Groups

Pros

Cons

Use for Person/Group column
When using a Person/Group column, under Additional Column Settings we can allow people to select from all users or only users in a selected Group. If the SharePoint Group contains an AD Group, there will be no users from which to select.
Adding and removing users
The Site Collection Administrator and/or Site Owner to add and remove users from SharePoint Groups. When a user changes teams, departments, roles and/or companies the Site Collection Administrator and/or Site Owner must move the user to the appropriate SharePoint Group.
See users in group
Troubleshooting permissions issues is easier when you can see what users are in which groups. You can see individual users in SharePoint Groups, but you cannot see users in AD Groups within SharePoint.
Can’t nest SharePoint Groups
SharePoint does not allow us to add SharePoint Groups to a SharePoint Group. Example: We have a SharePoint Group for each department; IT, HR, ect. We want to create a SharePoint Group named All Departments. We would need to add individual users to the All Departments Group as we cannot add the IT SharePoint Group and HR SharePoint Group to the All Departments SharePoint Group.
More flexibility
The Site Collection Administrator and/or Site Owner to add and remove users from SharePoint Groups. This allows us to create groups to fit any need.

What other pros and cons have you run into? Leave a comment and they will be tested and added to the lists above.

If you need an overview of SharePoint Permisisons check out SharePoint Permissions So Easy Even a Caveman Can Do It.


Love My Traveling Secondary Monitor

I LOVE having two monitors while I am working. It makes it easier to compare documents, write step-by-step documentation, and keep an eye on TweetDeck.

My first travel monitor broke after a couple short months. Although it was very inexpensive I did not choose to purchase it a second time. If you’d like to see the first monitor, check out my old blog post Dual Monitors on the Road.

I decided, after much research, to kick in an extra $100 (total under $200) and go with the Lenovo ThinkVision.

  • Weighs about the same as my iPad (3) and the screen is just a little wider than my laptop screen.
  • No need for an extra outlet. This thing is powered through the USB (the only hook up) port on your laptop.
  • I’ve actually hooked up a VGA cable monitor and the ThinkVision; Hello three monitors without changing cards.
  • It comes with an easy to slide on cover to protect the screen. Wish the first one had that feature.
  • You can watch webinars and screen casts without pixilation or lag time. Don’t think I’d try video games.

This monitor has been in constant use since November 2010. I’m talking five to seven days a week. It ROCKS.

UPDATE 10/12/15 – Still using the monitor, though not as much as I used to since taking a full-time job. Still works. Still recommend it.


Upload Documents in SharePoint 2013

There are at least two ways to upload documents to a SharePoint 2013 library.

  1. Old School – Click on Documents tab and in the New Group, select Upload. Just like in 2007 and 2010.
  2. New School – Just drag and drop the document into the library. No need to open in Explorer View, get a cup of coffee while you wait for it to open, and then drag and drop files.

Click on the video below to check it out.


SharePoint Permissions So Easy a Caveman Can Do It

CavemanThese drawings, found in a cave in Redmond, WA, date back to early 2001. The pictographs have stumped archeologists throughout the ages, until now.

122812_2042_SharePointP1.png

Recent discoveries by a SharePoint addict reveal the true meaning of these images.

“It looks like the four building blocks of SharePoint permissions.” Take a look at the cave drawing again, this time with annotation.

122812_2042_SharePointP2.png

But how do SharePoint Permissions work?

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Add users to the SharePoint group
  2. Give the group a permission level
  3. Grant the group access to somewhere

12-17-2012 11-42-50 AM

Of course if you are not satisfied with the permission levels or SharePoint groups that are available, given the correct rights, you can create your own groups and permission levels.

Although it is not considered a Best Practice, you could also give permissions directly to a user.

  1. Give the user a permission level
  2. Grant the user access to somewhere

12-28-2012 2-53-34 PM

Some of the drawings show another figure. This additional figure depicts secure Active Directory (AD) groups.

  1. Add AD groups to the SharePoint group
  2. Give the group a permission level
  3. Grant the group access to somewhere

12-28-2012 2-03-46 PM

Further interpretation of the drawings revealed another option

  1. Give the AD group a permission level
  2. Grant the AD group access to somewhere

12-28-2012 2-09-29 PM

Some archeologists were stunned that there was no pictograph for audiences, but then someone pointed out that SharePoint audiences are not part of permissions or security. SharePoint audiences are just a way to reduce noise on a page.

In our next session we will discuss the pros and cons using AD Groups and Users to manage SharePoint Permissions.

12-28-2012 2-30-07 PM

View and download the entire deck here.