Blog

27 jun

#SharePoint Custom Help

SharePoint One Response

I recently did a project for a customer, who actually uses a Dutch SharePoint. Since I didn’t know the Dutch words for all of the SharePoint functionalities, I really had to read where I was clicking.

This made me find a -for me new- feature in the list of Site Collection Features: “Custom Site Collection Help”.

I didn’t know what it was supposed to do, so I did some research… and now I’m thinking to myself, how could I not have known about this earlier: this Feature creates a new Library at Site Collection level, which is used for creating you own Custom Help within the SharePoint Help System.

This was also the moment when I realized that I had never clicked the SharePoint Help Icon before.

So I thought I take the time to figure out how the SharePoint Help works.

Well to start with, you have different Help Collections. By default you have a Help Collection for Foundation / SharePoint Server 2010 and for the different Office Web Apps. If you use Nintex Functionalities, they also introduce their own custom Help… and so on…

In your Site Collection Settings -> Help Settings, you can select which of these Help Collections are available for users.

Within each Help Collection, you have Help Categories. A Help Category has a language code assigned to it, so you can display the Help in the Language of the current user.

Within the Help Categories you have your Help Topics which are supported by Help Media Files.

This is the same way that your Site Collection Help Library is structured.
Help Collection -> Help Category -> Help Topic (with Help Media Files).

 

Now let’s get from theory to practice:

(1) Lets start by creating a new Help Collection

image

A Help Collection has a Name, a Title, a Local ID and a Product (I will explain the Product later).

(2) Within our Help Collection we will create a Help Category.

image

A Help Category also has a Name and a Title, and additionally a Context Key (I will also explain the Context Key later)

(3) If you want to use media files, like images in your Help Content, you first have to upload these to your SharePoint Help Library

image

(4) Now we have to write our first Help Topic. We can do this in Word. Just created a new Word Document and write your Help content in there. In order to add the image from the Help Library into your Document, you have to go to Insert –> Picture –> paste the url from the file in SharePoint –> and select Insert Link to File

image

Before you save the file, you have to configure Word to save it in utf-8 via File –> Options –> Advanced –> (at the bottom) Web Options –> Encoding

image

Now you can save your file as a Web Page (.htm; *.html).

(5) Back in SharePoint you can upload the html file that you’ve just created as a new Help Topic into your Help Category.

image

(6) The last step is the activation of the Help Collection. Therefor you have to go to Site Actions –> Site Settings –> Site Collection Administration –> Help Settings –> and select the checkbox for the Help Collection that you want to show.

(The Result)

My Help Collection now appears in the Help System.

image

a click on the Help Collection brings my Help Category.

image

a click on the Category brings the Help Topic.

image

and as last, a click on the Help Topic, brings up the Help Content (with the image inside)

image


What I didn’t explain so far is that you can also connect a Help Collection to a Product and a Help Category or Topic to a Context within a Product. Combined you can influence which Help Category is opened by default depending where are user is in the system.

In order to do this you have to add some javascript to the MasterPage, the Page Layout or directly into the Pages (using Content Editor WebPart) that you want to use it for.

navBarHelpOverrideKey = "[Product]_[ContextKey]"; 
or 
navBarHelpOverrideKey = "[Product]"; 

.csharpcode, .csharpcode pre
{
font-size: small;
color: black;
font-family: consolas, “Courier New”, courier, monospace;
background-color: #ffffff;
/*white-space: pre;*/
}
.csharpcode pre { margin: 0em; }
.csharpcode .rem { color: #008000; }
.csharpcode .kwrd { color: #0000ff; }
.csharpcode .str { color: #006080; }
.csharpcode .op { color: #0000c0; }
.csharpcode .preproc { color: #cc6633; }
.csharpcode .asp { background-color: #ffff00; }
.csharpcode .html { color: #800000; }
.csharpcode .attr { color: #ff0000; }
.csharpcode .alt
{
background-color: #f4f4f4;
width: 100%;
margin: 0em;
}
.csharpcode .lnum { color: #606060; }

The [Product] part of the key determines which Help Collection to show. The [ContextKey] part determines which Help Topic or Help Category within that Help Collection to point to.

In our Example this would look like this:

navBarHelpOverrideKey = "Kates Help Collection_Kates Category";
or
navBarHelpOverrideKey = "Kates Help Collection"; 

I think I’m going to use this functionality more often now… it is quite useful.

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27 jun

Soft Skills: Feedback

Soft Skills

About a month ago Portiva started a two year Program called “Portiva Samen Groeien” (Portiva growing together”). Therefore we started a partnership with Pam and Bernard from Carv Company. They are going to teach us Soft Skills related to the topics “Me”, “The Team” and “The Customer”.

It all started with us filling in a personality test of about 150 questions. During a 1-on-1 with Pam, we would talk about our results and think about our personal goals for these two years.

Next to these 1-on1 sessions we also have group sessions. The first group sessions was about the topic “Feedback” and here I would like to post what I learned about “Feedback”.

Let’s start with some definitions.
A compliment is an expression of praise. Just like saying “I like your hair”.
Criticism is the practice of judging something or the behaviour of someone according to standards/criteria. e.g. “The dutch soccer team did not play very well this year during European Championship”
Feedback ‘is a process in which information about the past or the present influences the same phenomenon in the present or future.’ (Wikipedia). Which means you give feedback about something in order to influence the future. For our context it is important that feedback should always be about behaviour. Feedback can be positive, if you want the same behaviour to happen again; or negative, if you want to change the behaviour.

During the sessions we learned some steps, in order to give feedback in a proper way:
If you follow these steps, you have a good chance of being heard, accepted and achieve your goal:

  1. Describe the behaviour you have seen in the other person. Describe it from an “I have seen” perspective.
  2. Ask the other person if she has also noticed this behaviour in herself, if she can recognize herself in your words. In the case that you do not find agreement at this step, then there is no point to continue.
  3. Describe how this behaviour affects you… which feelings you get from the other persons behaviour.
  4. Together, try to interpretate the situation and why you got there.
  5. Together, try to find a solution.

We got the assignment to give and ask for feedback from different people using these guidelines.

During this assignment I actually learned the most, about why the rules are important.
(1) Because you are describing in the “I have seen” perspective, the other person cannot argue with you. You have seen what you have seen.
(2) If you then ask the other person tell you if she recognices this behaviour in herself, this is the point where the other person hardly can say no. Even if she was not aware of this behaviour so far, but she will think about what you have seen, she will likely become aware of her behaviour. (of course with the assumption that the behaviour is really taking place)
(3) If you the explain which feelings you get from this behaviour (irritation, anger, happiness) you will make it personal on your side. This will be the moment why the other person will understand why you want to give the feedback and why it is so important for you to get this out.
(4-5) Trying to interpretate and finding reasons for the behaviour at this late stage in the conversation, makes the most sense. You both already agreed the the behaviour is taking place, and you have already made it personal and important. So both of you are neutral and will be open for the interpretation and solution.

So as a little summary:
give feedback on the behaviour of someone else, if it triggers strong feelings in you, and you want to influence the behaviour in the future.
follow the rules of giving feedback for it to be the most successful

One of the most important things I’ve learned, is to be open when you go into a feedback conversation. Do not try to figure out why the other person is behaving in a certain way, before the conversation. You will have time and space in your conversation for doing so together.

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18 jun

Portiva zoekt kandidaten! Interessante rol als SharePoint Business Consultant bij dè 100% SharePoint club van NL

Portiva No Response

 

Click hier voor meer informatie: http://t.co/mrfBryJ6

Als SharePoint Business Consultant opereer je tussen Business en IT. Je adviseert klanten over de inzet van Microsoft SharePoint voor thema’s als ECM, collaboration, BPM, portals of search. Business cases werk je verder uit in functionele ontwerpen en advies rapportages.

 
Binnen het projectteam vertaal je het ontwerp naar een concrete SharePoint oplossing waarbij je gebruik maakt van diepgaande technische kennis van collega’s waar nodig. Je opereert nadrukkelijk aan de klantkant en bewaakt de functionele wensen en eisen van de klant gedurende de realisatie. Je overtuigd op kennis en ervaring m.b.t. SharePoint maar ook op bedrijfskundig niveau. Je zit aan de voorkant van projecten en afhankelijk van je achtergrond en ambitie vervul je de rol van lead SharePoint consultant of Projectleider.

Je bent ondernemend en naast billable werkzaamheden ondersteun je het management op het gebied van de ontwikkeling en positionering van Portiva. Bijvoorbeeld door het verder ontwikkelen van de Portiva eigen project en consultancy methodologie; genaamd Portiplan.

Click hier voor meer informatie: http://t.co/mrfBryJ6

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08 mei

Portiva #SharePoint Seminar Serie Mei 2012 #MicrosoftNL

Portiva, SharePoint 2010 No Response

Schrijf nu in op de eerste 4 inspirerende thema’s op http://portiva.nl/Events.aspx

Portiva organiseert samen met Microsoft en enkele partners een aantal boeiende SharePoint seminars. De seminars zijn bedoeld voor directie,IT Management (CIO, CFO, CTO)  Controllers en Business Managers. Met name de business aspecten en organisatorische voordelen bij de invoering van Portal oplossingen komen aan bod.

De seminars zijn bij uitstek geschikt voor organisaties die de implementatie van SharePoint op korte termijn overwegen, of al SharePoint hebben en hiermee verder willen optimaliseren.

De seminars met verschillende thema’s worden bij Microsoft in Schiphol gehouden. U bent van harte welkom op onderstaande data:

  • Maandag 21 mei. ’12
    Ochtend:  Maak kennis met de veelzijdigheid van SharePoint 2010
    Middag: Een geïntegreerde CRM-toepassing met SharePoint 2010 als stevig fundament
  • Donderdag 24 mei. ’12
    Ochtend: Migreren naar SharePoint 2010. Welke migratie scenario’s zijn er + best practices
    Middag: De kracht van SAP met SharePoint 2010, business scenario’s met Duet Enterprise

Schrijf nu in op de eerste 4 inspirerende thema’s op http://portiva.nl/Events.aspx

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03 mei

Delivering Quality WebCasts using #Lync

Lync No Response

 

This is my summary of the Lync and Learn Session over the Web Meeting functionality of Lync 2010 (http://bit.ly/IEsIQt) by Brett Hill.

How to create a Meeting

Every Meeting in Lync has a unique Magic URL. You can initiate a new WebMeeting and get such a URL via

  • Lync 2010: Meet Now
  • Outlook – Calendar: New Online Meeting
  • Web: Lync Online Scheduler

!Be Aware, Lync Meetings have no Login or Authorization facility. You cannot control who enters a meeting. There is an option to place people in the Lobby and then give them admission to enter.

Meeting Configuration

  • Who is placed in the Lobby or admitted directly?
  • Who is the presenter?
  • Privileges? (who can view privately, who can make annotations)

Meeting Clients

When someone clicks on a Magic URL,

  • First – Lync 2010 is launched
  • else – Lync 2010 Attendee is launched
  • else – Lync Web App is presented + option to install Attendee (requires Silverlight, does not support audio, you need a conference bridge)

Functionality of Lync 2010 Meetings:

  • share Presentation within Lync
  • share Monitor
  • share Application
  • share Whiteboard
  • share (live) Poll, with live results
  • use annotation features to let users focus on parts of the presentation (write on screen, draw lines, mouse pointer)
  • paste image form clipboard
  • give control
  • presenter can mute people
  • live chat (use it to: paste urls, paste dial in information, starting time information, !get help because can be too much to talk and answer questions)
  • recording
  • add attachments

Tips & Tricks

  • Have a plan for audio and video (your own, of the audience)
  • Use a proper Microphone (Bing: Podcast Microphone)
  • Spend time setting up the environment (digital, physical – your room)
  • Rehearse task switching (between applications)
  • Control your environment
  • Bandwidth check – Lync Connectivity Testing System: http://trippsn2.online.lync.com
  • Make it interactive
  • Have Fun!
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27 apr

#ISCLondon – InfoPath Tips & Tricks

InfoPath No Response

1. InfoPath or Not?
– Browser vs Rich Client
Does the user need to work with the form if he is not connected to the Internet?
Yes: InfoPath is a good solution, it runs in the Client!
– Do not try to replace Excel with a form
– InfoPath is not a Data Reporting Solution
InfoPath is good for data input, but not good in performance with output of a lot of data
– Pixel Perfect Forms vs “Close Enough”
– Your SharePoint infrastructure will be impacted
especially with Browser Services

2. UI – Design UI wisely, keep Users Happy
– use Views
– build “tabs” to allow easy navigation
– use database and web service for data connections
– when roundtrips are necessary, let the user initiate the request via a button, so they expect to wait
– use rules to deliver the data your users expect

3. Views
Common Uses
– Tab Navigation
– Previous / Next Wizard
– Confirmation Page
– Separate Pages for Display and Print
– Pages targeted to different audiences

Whenever a user has to scroll, you should use a new view
Navigate to the View using a parameter in the URL: defaultview=[ViewName]
Navigate to the View with the ‘defaultView’ WebPart property
Use the OnLoad Rule to set view
Remember: Views are no security Mechanism

4. Logic
Types of Logic
1. Data Validation
2. Formatting (Colours, Show/Hide)
3. Actions (Buttons, Picture Buttons)
4. Default Values

Use Preview often
Copy/Paste rules to save time
Provide correctly formatted sample values
Utilize OnLoad and OnSubmit rules
Use Sandboxed Solution Code if rules are not enough

Forms Services Best Practices
Design for performance
– try to avoid postbacks
– think long and hard about using custom code
– be realistic about the size of the form and the number of controls
– limit the number of richtext and file attachment controls
– Monitor your environment, e.g. using Fiddler

What causes Postbacks
– conditional formatting
– Complex XPath
– Out of Context Binding
– View Switching
– Multiple Binding, Datafield bound to multiple controls
– unsupported functions (Translate, Position)

make nice pages for viewing forms
try not to get user into the form library

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24 apr

#ISCLondon – Case Study: From Excel Spread Sheets to Enterprise SharePoint BI

Business Intelligence, Geen onderdeel van een categorie No Response

Tips for BI Projects

#0. Data is King!

#1. Dont under-estimate – it is very difficult to make an estimation for BI Projects!

Estimation Considerations

  • Domain Knowledge
  • Data Sources
  • Infrastructure
  • Scope
  • Users (Roles, Methods of working, IT Experience)
  • BI Tool Choices
  • Authentication

#2. Be Iterative – Deliver!

#3. Pick the Right Team – more than one person needed, more than “just” SharePoint People!

Skills needed in the Team

  • Data Expert
  • SQL Developer
  • OLAP Cupe Developer
  • SharePoint Developer
  • Dashboard Developer
  • SharePoint/Network Admin

#4. Use Excel as starting Point – creates User Adoption

Start with Pivot Tablets to design Data
then use “convert to formulas” to break it free from Pivot (Data Connection will stay) and finish it up with Excel functionality, like
– sums
– trendlines
– slicers
– charts
– …

#5. Things to avoid

  • Don’t let the team get too big
  • Don’t have more non-tech than tech positions
  • Don’t employ contractors for core roles (they miss the care for the business)
  • Don’t work remote for majority of the week
  • Don’t communicate solely on IM – Speak!
  • Don’t use cut-back agile methodologies

#6. Understand the BI Toolset

KPI’s
– Chart WebPart – no sum or rull up functionality, not really adviced
– Status Indicator Lists – simple to build, only flat data sources, limited options

Operational Tools
– Excel Services – popular, feature rich, lot of data sources, allows fine control over charts

Advanced Tools
– Performance Point – Best for OLAP Browsing, feature rich, interactive, limited customization possibilities, requires training, powerful dashboard capabilities
– Report Builder – Print Quality Reports, Unique Visualization, Geospatial Mapping, required training, can be used with SharePoint Foundation
– Power Pivot – multiple data sources, for Excel (Free), for SharePoint (requires additional licences), version 2012 comes with SSRS
– Analysis Services

#7. Know your Users!

  • Who are they?
  • What are their roles? (Analysists: browse data, Knowledge Workers: write queries, Consumers)
  • Where are they? (at home, in the office, mobile)
  • Security? Per user authentication on data?
  • Client Capabilities? (OS Bersion, .net, Browser Version, Silverlight, Excel Version)

#8. Plan Authentication upfront – Depends on Users!

#9. Collaborate on Dashboards – there are a lot of opinions!

Don’t rely on IT to design it.

#10. Don’t stand stil!

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24 apr

#ISCLondon – Building and Using SharePoint Friendly File Plans

Records Management No Response

Records Management

1. What is a File Plan?

  • Document Types (functional, less formal than Content Types)
  • Retention Periods
  • Retention Actions
  • Role Assignments

Can be a plain List in NotePad, Visio, Excel or InfoPath

Goals
#1 File Plan Goal: Retention
#2 File Plan Goal: Classification

Challenges
#1 File Plan Challenges: Size

2. Automation

  1. Build plan in InfoPath -> nice interface, DataSet in xml
  2. Store plan in SharePoint -> central location, versioning
  3. Use Workflows for approval -> automation

Provisioning
– automatically create Web Application
– automatically create Records Center Site(s)

Configuration
– automatically configure existing Records Center
– automatically create Content Types, Libraries and Folders

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24 apr

#ISCLondon – Governance 101

Governance No Response

Governance is never ending… a road… a path to follow that never ends

1. What is Governance?

A strategy for control
– what needs to change
– when and how do you change it

What is Governance… NOT?
a technology
a document
a team of people
a methodology
…but these are all parts of it

2. What does it mean, being on the road?

Optimal system optimation:
value exceeds costs
sum result: measurable satisfaction

3. Governance Timeline

Current System Status
– what needs to improve
– how is the system performing

Planned improvement
– how to improve
– set limits of change, improve within the scope

4. Why Governance?

  • Information Governance – we know what information we have, where it is and how to find it
  • Project Governance
  • IT Assurance – compliance, security, …
  • Business Technology Alignment – mapping between business requirements and technical scope
  • Continuous Improvement – what, how and when can be identified

…all of this leads to measureable satisfaction

5. How to measure satisfaction?

2 groups involved:
– the organization -> satisfied when there is a net positive
– the users -> satisfied when they see their service levels met or improved upon

6. You need it early because…

Achieving Governance will affect your SharePoint system Design and Implementation

7. How to get Governance?

Governance Matrix = alignment: Definitions and Plans
Governance Team: cross-siloed, multi-disciplinary, authority, accountability
Luck

20120424-102400.jpg

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23 apr

#ISCLondon – Support and Education

End User Adoption, Support, Training No Response

Developing and End User Adoption Strategy

1. What is Adoption?

– Business Processes
– Technology
– Users
…are the primary drivers of adoption

Technology alone is not the answer. The alignment of the business process and the users must be part of the adoption goal.

2. What did we learn about Adoption?

– adoption is impacted by design
– design requires the right people involved at the design phase
– trying to train every user heavily impacts the final ROI, there are untrainable users, so it must be intuitive
– Usability and Support go hand in hand, be intuitive and put support and the good spots in the system
– IT Administrators should not be Support, they should be busy building and maintaining the infrastructure, not answer end user questions
– Changing Design and functionality after going live heavily impacts user buy-in and ROI
– Adoption and Training must be measured

3. Master Plan

Pre Live Groups involved

  • Business Analysts
  • Information Architects
  • Champions / Power Users (use workshops to see who gets active and understand what’s hapenning)
  • Developers
  • Infrastructure Administrators
  • Web Designers
  • 3rd Party Vendors
  • Communication Team

Post Live Targets

  • Supporting the User Base
  • Targeted Training
  • Analytics
  • Certification
  • Communication Team

4. Who needs to be trained?

At project Kick-Off
– Information Architects / Business Analysts -> SharePoint functionality and Limitations
– Technical Administrators / Developers -> Infrastructure Planning and Custom Development
Power Users -> SharePoint functionality and Limitations
– Web Designers -> Branding and Publishing

During Project Pilot
– Champions / Power Users -> SharePoint functionality and Security, 3rd Party Tools
– Content Authors -> Publishing Pages
– Selected Users -> SharePoint functionality / Usability

1 month prior to Live AND Post Live
– Users -> Workshops / Show and Tell, functionality – bite size such as search, introduction to the new environment
– Selected Users -> SharePoint functionality / Usability such as: My Sites, BI, Forms processing

5. Support Mechanisms

– Easy Acces, e.g. Ribbon
– Quick Help
– Just in Time
– How to video
– Show and Tell
– Knowledge Base
– Unified Communication

Support and Training are equally Important!

6. Measuring Adoption

Define what sucess is!
(Is it a lot of reading? Is it if they are writing?)

Use Analytics to measure success!

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