Lynn Warneke on Seamless Teamwork

Here’s what Lynn Warneke had to say about my book, Seamless Teamwork:

As many reviewers and SharePoint bloggers have already noted, Michael Sampson has taken a rather novel approach with Seamless Teamwork, his new book from Microsoft Press on using SharePoint technologies “to collaborate, innovate and drive business in new ways”. Having constructed a fictional ‘Project Delta’, undertaken by team members in different companies, cities and time zones, Michael then seeks to contextualise, explicate and maybe even evangelise SharePoint firmly within this ‘real world’ narrative. Along the way he includes plenty of the ‘how’, illustrated with screen shots, but what differentiates this book is an equal focus on the ‘why’, the ‘who’ and the ‘when’. Thus step-by-step instructions on using Wiki pages rub shoulders with “The Rules on Brainstorming”; and creating a blog post is described hand in hand with a section on “Winning Trust Through Blogging”.

I found the chapter on “Analyzing the Options” particularly useful. For example, those struggling with determining an appropriate approach to structuring files stored in SharePoint libraries should find the section “Organize Documents by Metadata or Folders” worth the price of purchase alone. I’ve devoted many hours to analysing options and ‘best practice’ on this subject for clients, exploring the pros and cons of folders and properties in SharePoint, and developing workable recommendations and guidelines, so have first-hand experience of how businesses can struggle to make sense of just this one aspect of SharePoint. Michael’s clear and succinct overview addresses a very real need, and is enhanced with simple examples that are easily grasped by business users, no matter how rudimentary or even nonexistent their understanding of metadata. The penultimate chapter, “Concluding the Project”, also contains useful advice which, in my experience, has rarely been considered to date by companies implementing SharePoint, let alone implemented successfully. As a result, business benefit from project work may not be fully realised.

Well structured, clearly written and obviously the product of much in-depth research and analysis, this book represents Michael’s view of effective use of SharePoint for team work and, to a lesser extent, his thinking on characteristics of successful projects, such as “Creating a Shared Vision”. Some organisations or SharePoint experts may disagree with some of the opinions and recommendations – for example, provisioning three related SharePoint sites for every project, or creating linked Announcements from the Team Site home page to Wiki pages where the bulk of the team information is captured and worked up. However, it is always clear why Michael recommends the approaches that he does. As this book presents “a set of possibilities for doing your work with others in better and better ways”, no doubt he anticipates that organisations will – indeed, should – use the book as a foundation for exploring ways of working effectively with SharePoint that are best suited to their own cultures and practices. His advice above all aims to help make use of SharePoint for team collaboration a more “natural approach to take”. In other words, seamless.

Thanks Lynn!

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