Got Your SharePoint Feet Wet? What Next?

SharePoint Feet WetPeople new to a company are often shown where to upload things to SharePoint and how to capture tasks and timesheets, but not much else.  Some people however get bitten by the SharePoint bug quickly and want to learn more.  There aren’t always people around to teach them inhouse and not always budget allocated to send them to training.  So what do you do?  How do you go to the next level?

If you have some time on your hands and the basics under the belt like knowing how to navigate, add and edit items, create a list and a library, create some columns and views; the next thing to do is build something.  Look around the office and see what’s being done manually, or just ask someone in your team if there is something non mission critical that you could work on.

Once you have your project lined up, the next thing to do is to think about how that system works.  Let’s take an asset register as an example.  Say your company doesn’t have one, so you decide to build one for them.  Do some research on what asset registers are supposed to do, ask questions internally on what it should do in your company.  Think about what sort of data needs to be captured in an asset register and why.  What type of assets are there, do they have the same information attached to them?  How long are the assets supposed to last?  Where did they come from, how much did they cost? Are there serial numbers on them?  If not, should they?

The idea here is to learn to ask the right questions so you can build the right thing.  Because this is just a test project, it’s okay to make mistakes, that’s how you learn.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but just get it started.  Once you’re off the starting block, you’ll soon get input from others on information that needs to be in there.

Then  you need to decide what piece of functionality you are going to use to store the information you’ve gathered.  When in doubt, two things : ask what you need to report on because different apps give you different reporting capability.  If you’re still not sure, build one of each to see which one works better.

Keep in mind the core versus optimised version of things you build.  A core solution on the asset register would be to have a depreciation date on it with a view for items that are going to expire.  An optimised version of that would be to automate a task and approval system to the procurement people who need to order new ones.  Most large businesses have very low collaboration maturity with a lot of silo’d thinking, so you won’t necessarily get the whole picture of what has to happen with the data.  It’s very hard to change that.  If that is happening in your environment, a core solution is about as much as you’re going to get right.  And that’s okay.  Well done on wanting to learn more and expand your knowledge.  Keep up the good work.

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