Wow, it seems like it has been a long time since I went down to Atlanta with a friend to attend my first SharePoint Saturday conference at the Microsoft offices in Alpharetta, GA on the weekend of May 7th. Event Link
It was packed out, and for good reason! I had heard that this area had a great user base and people who were passionate about SharePoint. At the time I didn’t know much about many of the people who were speaking at the event, but I knew that they would be giving some great insight as to how I could use some of their tips and tricks to make my daily battle with SharePoint go a little easier.
I started off in the first session with Scott Lavoie (Profile) on Best Practices and Pain Points of Implementing SharePoint Training, because at the time I knew we needed to be thinking about this same theme when we begin rolling out a new big project I was working on at the time. Scott gave out some good advice on incorporating the users in the testing phase of the training ( I know, duh, right!!??) as well as many points to think about when bringing new applications into your environment and using things like a Sustainment Plan to make sure you are constantly updating existing users and educating new users as well as showing upper management you have a strategy to execute your ideas.
Next I went to the session Under SharePoint’s Big Top given by Lori Gowin (Blog|Twitter). This was a great admin focused talk relating to the ups and downs of installing and setting up SharePoint 2010 (like never using Stand-Alone) as well as some of the other programs involved in the mix like PowerShell, PSConfig, and the Products and Configuration Wizard. I enjoyed the talk as well as learning that the source of many of the photos used were from family and friends who worked in the circus as well. Neat-O!
Okay, nom-nom’s a plenty and then off to The Business side of Upgrading: Clean-up, Shape-up, and Ship-over by Virgil Carroll (Blog|Twitter). What I found interesting about this presentation was he hit many of the same points I am currently going through with our current upgrade project. Mainly garbage into SharePoint equals garbage out for an upgrade. Also he went over some good business questions to ask when going through a SharePoint upgrade process. I’ll definitely be referencing this a few more time to make sure our business reasons for upgrading are clear before we take the plunge.
Later in the afternoon was Taming the Beast: A SharePoint Survival Guide for the Server that was done by Craig Trulove (Twitter) and mainly the thing I really liked about his presentation was how he showed us some ways to make your admin life easier through PowerShell. He went over some good tools to have in the SPAdmin arsenal like Fiddler, ULS Viewer, Developer Dashboard, PowerGui, and SharePoint Manager to name a few. I have yet t try out the SharePoint Manager, so that’s next on my list to try in dev.
Finally to round out the day I went to see SharePoint Scalability and Performance by Pablo Gazmuri (Profile). Which was a great topic and I really enjoyed his demos and examples he used to get an idea of page performance and caching in SharePoint. The C# information he discussed went right over my head only because I don’t know C# (although I should) but will be good to reference later for any of our developers building things in our SharePoint environment. Definitely need to delve more into this topic hopefully at a later time.
Overall this was definitely time well spent. If you have never been to a SharePoint Saturday or SQL Saturday event, let me give you one word of advice. Go! I know many people have a hard time being away from family or friends on a weekend, but this is you improving yourself for your career, which I think is the main reason why these wonderful organizations put on these events. And I appreciate them for doing it.
Now if I could just win one of those Xbox prizes in the giveaways at the end of the day… I would be set! Or an IPAD or Kindle would work also…