2016 Year In Review

2016 was such a great year for me professionally and personally. I had many things happen this year that were firsts for me. Longest duration on a plane, first Microsoft cert, and many others.

This year I travelled to the following places:

Orange Beach, AL

Tampa, FL

Atlanta, GA

Chicago, IL

Aurora, IL

Decatur, IL

St. Louis, MO

Phoenix, AZ

Previously I have never travelled this much in a year, so this was a big change for me. I was able to see some great places, eat some fantastic food, and enjoy and learn about a lot of new topics like Office 365 and SharePoint 2016.

This year was also the first time I had ever tried to attempt a Microsoft certification. Back in the middle of the year I tried (and failed) to pass the 70-331 exam for SharePoint 2013. I was extremely disappointed that I did not pass this test. I had prepared extensively for it and plus I’ve been working with the product in one way shape or form since it was released in 2012, for almost 5 years with two different companies.

But on a whim around the same time I signed up for the 70-339 test, I saw that Microsoft was offering a free chance to demo the exams for SharePoint 2016. Everything that I had read and studied on the product so far made me think this could go right along with what I was doing for 2013. Well… kind of…

There are some similarities and differences between the products that’s for sure. This test was different, because since it was a beta exam, I wouldn’t know my score right away.

I had a pretty good feeling about it after taking the test, but then had to wait almost two months before I found out that fortunately, I passed. 🙂

During this year I also attended a training class to prepare for the coming of SharePoint 2016 and Office 365. It was held by Critical Path Training and instructed by Matthew McDermot. This was a great course and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs SharePoint training.

I was only able to go to one SQL Saturday or SharePoint Saturday event and that was SQL Saturday Chattanooga. It was a great event, and look forward to the event next year as well.

I will definitely have to head out to more events in order to learn more with the pace that things are changing. Too bad I couldn’t travel each month to an event…hmm….

I look forward to the challenges the new year brings.


Here’s to a New Year!


So, what do, you do here?

For this post I decided to ask myself this question, in order to reflect on the past year. So, in no particular order, here are my highlights of the (work) year:

To begin the year, I attended a great class in SharePoint 2010 Administration put on by Solartech and Rich North where I learned a lot about everything in SharePoint 2010 and some of the great do’s and don’ts when setting up and configuring an environment. I am still going back and forth through my notes from this class trying to remember things that were mentioned.

Moving to a virtual server environment was a big adjustment for me this year. To be honest, at first I was hesitant and a little resistant to this even though I use VM’s all the time for testing. In the beginning we had issues with our virtual boxes going down, but as the year has gone on, I really don’t see any difference now in my physical and virtual boxes. This area has also peaked my interest and made me want to study more about clustering, the cloud, and other options that minimize downtime in servers and applications.

During April I transitioned into a role of a SharePoint Administrator and it as been an interesting ride so far. Before this I was used to keeping the SharePoint environment up for around 300 people. After this change, that number increased to about 4000 users as we began implementing a new intranet website. With this change, I also was given a promotion and became a Senior Business Analyst. Yay!

In May I went to SharePoint Saturday in Atlanta and had a great time listening and learning from a lot of people who live and breathe SharePoint each day just like me. Check out my review in a previous post here.

In September a group of us headed back down to Atlanta again for my second SQL Saturday event. It was awesome, again! Many of the great talks were focused on clustering and backups and options for failover and a few previews of the new SQL 2012. That review can be found here.

Shortly after this, I attended a conference on MS Project Server 2010. It was interesting to see how Project Server fits into the overall SharePoint environment and just how much of a beast it can be to maintain. I can see why now many people specialize in implementing Project Server . I did a short review here.

Team Foundation Server 2010 was another big task undertaken this year to replace our old SourceSafe databases at work. I was excited to tackle this because it integrates quite nicely into SharePoint for things like project sites and other functions. I even got to mess around with code a little bit while I was creating this. But enough on that coding and other junk, back to SharePoint. Enough about coding and other junk…..Of all the things I did this year, SharePoint 2010 consumed more of my time and efforts than anything else by far!

SharePoint 2010. Of all the things I did this year, this by far consumed more of my time and efforts than anything. I was involved in several major upgrade projects this year moving from older versions (WSS2 and WSS3) of the product to the newest 2010 version. The knowledge that I have gained from this experience just cant be measured.

The intranet move alone was such an undertaking that looking back on it I cant believe what we had to do to get to this point! In April, the first draft of the website was given to the pilot users, then in July, we opened it to all users with a link back to the old site. Finally, in September, we officially cut the old version off and switched over fully to the new website. I think taking this process gradually was the main reason why we were able to be successful.

I have come to both love and hate SharePoint after using it for 4 years. Seeing how businesses use SharePoint is what excites me professionally and drives me to learn more about the product. If any of the blog posts I have read so far about 2012 are true, this could be an interesting year for SharePoint again.

So this year has been a great one overall. I think from a technology standpoint there are so many things that will be released in 2012. I cant wait to see what happens…oh and maybe write a little about it.

To everyone I wish you a happy and healthy 2012 New Year! God Bless.

– B.J.

Looking back…Looking forward

I know, I know.

Doing a year in review post when January is almost over seems kind of lame. Regardless, this post falls in line with a few of things I have done in 2010 and also ties into things that I want to do more in 2011. 2010 was a great year for me professionally. I was able to put my first SharePoint installation into production back in February 2010. It was a SharePoint Server 2007 instance with all the bells and whistles activated. This was the completion of work that started simply as research back in August of 2008. it was very satisfying to see this come to fruition.

The main reason I used the past tense with this is because the 2007 install didn’t last long. In August 2010, we upgraded all of our sites and our Business Intelligence rollout to a full blown SharePoint Server 2010 instance. I am still amazed at how much of an improvement that Microsoft has made in this new version from the 2007 version and I continue to learn new things about it every day.

In October and November I was fortunate enough to get enrolled at Dale Carnegie training at work. While in this I was able to meet a fantastic group of people and share many details about myself and learned that in order to communicate better, I needed t be myself more often. That may sound corny, but it worked and I was fortunate enough to be chosen by my peers to win the Dale Carnegie Excellence award.I was floored and very humbled to be chosen for it. I hear this award is the only thing that Warren Buffett has hung up in his office, so that makes it seem to me even more special.

So onto 2011. The year looks ripe with opportunities. I want to continue to make myself better each day so here are a few areas I want to improve on in 2011:

1. Blogging – yes, mainly why this post is so late. I want to write more in this new year to improve my communication skills. I also want to write more technically based articles and maybe even try to get published as well.

2. Speaking – I want to try and speak either at a user group or other technical gathering at least twice this year. I have one opportunity coming up soon and I hope to do another one as well this year. I would also like to make one of these engagements possibly a training event where I could train users on SharePoint or another topic I am familiar with.

3. Training/Certification – last year was good, but I did not meet my goal of trying for a certification and passing. So this year I want to not just go to training, but make it count by getting some more abbreviations to add to the end of my title… Smile

I think that’s a good place to start and are good solid specific goals that I can look back on and make sure that throughout this year I stick to.

So onward and upward…