Filling in the business side of the puzzle

SharePoint Best Practices Conference

September 24, 2008 by Ruven Gotz

Last week I attended the SharePoint Best Practices conference in Washington DC. I learned a lot and I had a great time. This was the first Best Practices (BP) conference put on by Bill English and Ben Curry of MindSharp. The BP conference was a great follow on to their recently published book: SharePoint Best Practices. I found the conference to be well organized and well run. I heard that there were a couple of glitches, but none were obvious to me. If you can get yourself down to the next one in California (in February, I think), I would highly recommend it.

The 350 attendees were a mixed group, without about 2/3 being “technical” and 1/3 being in the “CIO/Information Architect/Project Manager/Director” category (if you can call that group a category).

I found value in all the sessions that I attended, but my favourites were from Paul Galvin, Ed Hild, Mark Ferraz and Vanessa Williams.

I also presented a session on “Mind Mapping for the Information Architect”. I felt that the presentation went really well: I had some great discussions with many attendees afterwards. I promised the attendees that I would make my material available after the conference. I am currently working on that; look for a new post soon.

During the keynote, Tom Rizzo, Director of the SharePoint group at Microsoft was describing how difficult it is describe SharePoint concisely. When you point to “Exchange Server”, you can say “that’s an e-mail server” and when you point to “SQL Server”, you can say “that’s a database server”. But what can you say when you point to a SharePoint Server? I know that we’ve all had this problem…  So, here was my single favourite line from the conference: According to Tom, the reason that it’s so hard is because “SharePoint is a floor wax AND a dessert topping”. Ok, you may not find that funny, but I thought it was hilarious.

Written by Ruven Gotz

Ruven Gotz is a Director with Avanade, Microsoft’s Global Partner. As a Microsoft SharePoint MVP with over 20 years of IT industry experience, Ruven has spent the past nine years delivering award-winning SharePoint solutions for a wide range of clients. Working as a Business Analyst and Information Architect, Ruven is able to apply his eclectic education and varied experience in Psychology, Computer Science, Economics, Software Development and Training to get to the heart of complex problems. Ruven is a great communicator who is able to discuss technology concepts in language that is relevant to his audience, whether they are from IT or business. He has become a leader in the use of visual tools to help his clients and team members achieve shared understanding of problems and goals and shared commitment towards implementing a successful solution.

Ruven recently authored “Practical SharePoint 2010 Information Architecture” (Apress).

Ruven lives in Toronto, Canada. On Tuesday nights in the summer, you’ll find him racing his 24’ sailboat ‘In the Groove’.

(NOTE: Ideas and opinions on this blog are my own: I am not representing my employer.)

You should follow Ruven on Twitter