Sunday, 28 February 2016

What makes Successful SharePoint projects

Overview:  There tend to be characteristics of successful SharePoint projects and if the majority of these are in place for SharePoint or any IT  project for that matter, the project tends to be successful.

High Level:

  1. The project has a clear vision that engages and inspires everyone.  Do we know what we are building and why.  Do some or most team members have a strong feeling of ownership. Strong decision makers or a product owner is SCRUM parlance is essential.  This crazy idea of all inclusive decisions and management by committee (“I was elected to lead not read”, Simpson movie) wastes time, leads to an incomplete vision and often worse decisions are made.  The business must pick a leader or 2 and let them get on with it.  Rather get a product owner that makes decisions and is periodically wrong, these changes can be fixed easily when it becomes clear they are wrong.  Only decisions that are not easy to change should go to review and generally there are not many of these.
  2. People - The team members select is the most important factor in successful projects.  Encourage an open respectful collaborative team with mixed talents and strong skills at the right time.   Note: Leave you ego at the door.  There will and should be arguments.  Don't let the arguments become personal in nature and find people that will get over minor squabble.
  3. Delivery Focused.  Each team member needs to know his/her deliverables are.  Methodologies like SCRUM are useful to make this happen.  Build a product backlog and prioritize, but fundamentally it’s building the right piece at the right time.  High standards must be set (review broken window principle), each member of the team must be professional and deliver quality.
Team Structures:
My preference on complex projects is a small teams of hard working problem solving individuals that take pride in their work and have a history of delivering successful projects.   In short, there are a lot of people that talk the talk but don't walk the walk (aka they are lousy) in IT projects.  Someone who is referred to you by someone I trust as a general rule works out brilliantly, people I have worked with in successful projects are the 1st people i look for.  You can't always get who you want but you sure can try aim for the stars and get a great team together.  The difference between the best and worst developer on my teams tends to be a factor of 8 so I recon the most productive person delivers 8 times the value of the least productive.  Try skip the bottom folks, the top folks don't get paid 8 times as much....

The formula to High performing teams is a varied group of committed zealous people, collective in a shared idea.  I’m looking for people that want to be successful, others in our team to be successful and people like.  Team members must have strong skills, the ability to listen and stand-up for what they believe and play well in a group.  I try exceed my clients expectations continuously and if I can get a critical mass on my team that do the same….  Actually the word "formula " is misleading as is too strong a word, it's simple: get smart, hard working, experience people that are nice.

Fundamentally, the goal is to build a cohesive team, it's also worth reading Patrick Lencioni's book "The Advantage" and in "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team", the 5 factors to a successful teams are listed as:

  1. Trust one another and be prepared to show your vulnerability/lack of expertise/be prepared to apologies if you get something wrong.
  2. Conflict is good and productive, argument is needed to get the best solution
  3. Commit to getting the project right/take ownership and agree to decisions collectively
  4. Accept accountability/take ownership/each team member should try exceed client expectations continuously
  5. Focus on results - as a team what we deliver needs to work and be a success.
All pretty obvious but the number of teams and projects that fail and don't follow these basic guiding principles is staggering.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Notes on Compliance in Office365 & SharePoint

Also see: Data Protection Using SharePoint

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
Historically used for email to identify, monitor and protect data.  This is the next step on from email policies/IT Policies where sent around and signed with the hope users would behave and only send appropriate information along.   DLP ensure that sensitive information such as patents, financial information, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) , personally identifiable information (PII), or intellectual property (IP) are accidentally shared with external parties.  DLP can inform users before they send email or open access to OneDrive or SharePoint document libraries that the information being shared violates company policy (as configured in the DLP template).

Information Rights Management (IRM)
IRM-Protect document libraries prevents sensitive information being copied, forwarded, printed

Find related content with SharePoint, Exchange & files shares to assit with litigation and determining info on a topic ata point in time.

Records Management
Manage a documents life-cycle, stop key docs being amended or edited.

Information management policies
Enforce compliance such as expired content, usage auditing & retention policies

Office 365
All data is encrypted on the servers (encryption at rest) and TLS/SSL on all communications.

DocAve can enhance IRM and archieving & they have a SharePoint Monitoring and Policy Enforcement module.