Monday, 24 May 2010

Pick Your SharePoint Team

Apologies for recycling an old blog topic, but Office Talk frequently get asked about who should be in the SharePoint Project Team. So especially with many people now considering SharePoint 2010 I feel it is a good time to revisit ‘what makes a successful SharePoint Project Team?’

As the World Cup countdown continues the 32 national managers have the task of whittling down their final squads to just 23 names. If you have already claimed your Free World Cup 2010 SharePoint Template you will be able to see who all these managers are. Each manager will have different ways of selecting their 23 but they will all make sure they have enough capable goalkeepers, fit defenders, midfield alternatives and forwards capable of scoring goals when they submit their final squads to FIFA. Their aim, like when putting together a SharePoint Project Team, is to try and get the best results possible given the resources they have.

A SharePoint Project is no different to picking your World Cup squad. Without the right players it can flop and you cannot even get past the first stage. But what are the 'right players' and where do you start selecting them?

The 'Well Built' SharePoint Project Team needs to include the following key players;

1. Project Owner - This must a member of the Senior Managers, or even the Managing Director, somebody who will push SharePoint out to all areas of the business

2. Project Manager - This person is in charge of the whole Project and they should have a good knowledge of the whole business. . I know it is tempting, but try to keep this away from the IT Manager. Choosing the IT Manager is like making a goalkeeper captain it never seems to work. Although, Dino Zoff was a famous exception to this rule.

3. Technical Leads - Now IT can get involved and it is also advisable to call on the expert advice of a SharePoint Consultant (I can recommend Office Talk in the UK). The SharePoint Consultant has done it before and knows the pitfalls. It is like adding some experience to your squad.

4. Project Team Members - These are key people from each part of the business where SharePoint will be used. These Project Members can also become Super Users after Go-Live so treat them well and get them some SharePoint training. It is important to make these Project Team Members fans of SharePoint as they will be the ones promoting it back to their area, or Department. The number of Project Team Members depends on how many Sites you think you will require although the best number is 6 to 10. These players need to know how the business works and yet also be keen on change.

So now the Project Team is in place and you are ready to kickoff your SharePoint with the first Project Team Meeting. The offer of a buffet lunch normally clears a few diaries and helps build morale ready for the campaign ahead.

Good luck to everybody who is considering a SharePoint project and good luck to all 32 countries competing in the World Cup (except the ones in England’s group or anyone England might face in the knock out stages).
If you haven’t got your World Cup SharePoint Template yet please Click Here

Come on England !!!

* Don't Miss Dan Holme's SharePoint 2010 Masterclass 29th June. Click Here for details.

Monday, 17 May 2010

SharePoint World Cup 2010 Template

Yesterday England completed their first World Cup triumph of the summer with their superb Twenty Twenty Cricket success. Now it’s time for the football team to follow their example and win the FIFA World Cup 2010. SharePoint Specialists Office Talk are supporting the three lions all the way and using the very latest technology SharePoint Server 2010 to do so.

In World Cups gone by I would eagerly blue-tak my World Cup Wallchart up by my desk and carefully write in every result until England were cheated out or lost on penalties. This year it will be different because I will be updating all the results on my exciting FIFA World Cup 2010 SharePoint Template. Yes, to show some of the great new features of SharePoint 2010 including the Uniqueness field, easier way to edit pages and simplified way to change colours on themes Office Talk are giving away an impressive World Cup site Template. Although, on SharePoint 2010 (both Foundation and Server) it is called ‘A Solution’ not a Site Template and instead of a .STP file it becomes a .WSP file (at least you won’t get confused with which version it is for) *.

So please claim your FREE Site Template Solution to let you have lots of fun during the World Cup. You can see all the fixtures, update live group tables, have online chats about World Cup, hold a World Cup Sweepstake for your employees, see who all the star players are, plan your TV viewing and look back at past winners. You can even customise it to order the half-time pizza. All you have to do to get this FREE template is simply send an email to with the subject being “World Cup Template”. Even though we are backing England at Office Talk this template can be used by any of the 32 countries. The challenge for Office Talk is to make sure at least one is requested in each country. So if you are in USA, Paraguay, Australia, Mexico or anywhere else please let us know.

Many of the readers though might have spotted a slight problem in this great offer though. Yes, you need to have SharePoint Server 2010, or SharePoint Foundation 2010 installed and very few people have as it has been out less than a week (see Stop Press *). Well, there is one hidden gem with 2010 that could be very useful to a lot of IT Managers and SharePoint Administrators. It will now run on a Windows client. There are requirements though so before you get too excited. It needs to be Window 7 Enterprise Edition or higher. Oh, and running 64-bit. If you have Windows Home Premium it won’t work because you need to have Windows Authentication, but providing you have the correct licence you can add Windows 7 Enterprise Edition on a separate partition (quite easy using Disk Manager).

So when you have got Window 7 Enterprise you then follow the install process (to the letter) in

Then you can request your free World Cup Template/Solution from Office Talk. This will be the first of twelve 2010 Templates\Solutions that Office Talk will be releasing during May. For further information please contact

Don’t forget also Office Talk’s special World Cup Offer on SharePoint Training.

If enough people ask nicely we will release a SharePoint 2007 version of the world Cup Template as well.

Come on England !!!!

* STOP PRESS : Due to phenomenal demand a World Cup 2010 Template that works on WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 is now available. Please email with the subject "World Cup Template 2007 Edition".

* Don't Miss Dan Holme's SharePoint 2010 Masterclass 29th June. Click Here for details.

Friday, 7 May 2010

How To Pick A SharePoint Consultant

So we have a ‘Hung Parliament’ so we might be looking at a replay. In this week’s SharePoint Blog I am going to compare the process of selecting a SharePoint Consultancy with deciding who to vote for.

Yesterday for the first time when I went to vote I had to actually queue before I was able to place my cross in a box. As I queued I just kept thinking why is this process still so old-fashioned? Why aren’t I just at home logging on to a website or pressing the Red button on my television and entering a pin number to vote? I expect give it ten years and it will probably become ‘X-Factor’ style voting when you can vote MPs off live on a Saturday night. I also thought about how people decided who they voted for. As I stood in the queue I was still a floating voter undecided whether to vote for the local man, a party leader who was a Villa fan or who had looked best on telly.

In the end I voted for the only person who had bothered to push a leaflet through my letterbox to even say they are standing. The fact that the others failed to do this seemed a poor show especially as I had received over ten Pizza leaflets pushed through in the last week alone. People seem quite happy to discuss who they have voted for this time and the reasons for their vote. One lady said she got to the booth and then just chose the only candidate who lived anywhere near to the area. Another person said that if she didn’t vote conservative she would never be able to look her dad in the face again.

With any successful SharePoint project the help of a SharePoint Consultant is important. Having somebody who knows the SharePoint pitfalls and has the SharePoint knowledge will help the project run smoother. Problem is that if you Google ‘SharePoint Consultants’ you will receive a list of 100’s and it is very difficult to know where to start. So how do you decide which ones to consider?

Well, like when choosing your MP maybe a factor to consider for your SharePoint Consultant is location. You don’t want your SharePoint Consultant to come from a different country and if they are local it might mean they are able to quickly come to site if needed. Interestingly, we at Office Talk are based in the Birmingham area yet most our customers come from outside the Midlands. It would be nice to have more Birmingham based customers even if they were ‘Bluenoses’ (Birmingham City fans). Another selection criterion could be looking at consultancies that have experience in your specific area. If you are a school does there website mention any work with schools. Maybe try googling ‘SharePoint Schools’. Office Talk have worked closely with Fire Services, Colleges and Health organisations, but other Consultancies might have more experience of Police Services or Estate Agents. It is important to think of any systems you are going to link your SharePoint to as well. If you are linking it into SAP has the SharePoint Consultancy got the expertise and experience to do this?

There are many other factors to consider when selecting SharePoint Consultants including;

- Are they able to provide training as well?
- What support do they offer after the project go live?
- Do they have good reference sites or have you heard good things about them?
- Do they have good knowledge of SharePoint third-party applications?
- How approachable are they and are they easy to communicate with?
- And perhaps one of the most important factors in the current climate ‘price’.

There isn’t a set rule for selecting SharePoint Consultants and as with choosing which candidate to vote for it is very much down to personal taste.

So as the political parties in the UK try to come to a deal after slagging each other off for the past three weeks the SharePoint world is preparing itself for the launch of SharePoint 2010 on Wednesday 12th May. So what will come first the new SharePoint or a Villa supporting Prime Minister?

World Cup Latest : New amazing World Cup offer from Office Talk CLICK HERE