No one ever doubts me when I tell them SharePoint ate my spec!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/12/01 06:01 -05:00, original URI:

The view from outside of Microsoft is often quite different than the view you get from within.

I was quite recently struck by this fact when I was talking to a designer colleague of mine from the outside who was talking about SharePoint.

It actually started with a question -- a question about collations.

She figured I might know something about them....

Now since SharePoint is hosted by SQL Server, I was able to help her out.

For what it's worth she is right about about a lot of the documentation being missing out there, especially about internationalization and world-readiness. I may need to dive in and cover that here at some point!

Anyway, she found my initial, visceral reaction to the word "SharePoint" to be amusing.

She showed me some of the amazing things she and her team were doing with it, and I was blown away.


Why don't our internal sites ever look like this?

"You don't have expert designers producing good sites. We can be pretty expensive though, and if I were Microsoft I'd probably want the people who produce good looking sites to be working for customers in Premiere Support or Consulting Services, where they can do work that will translate into money.. I mean, what does one really get from creating an internal site?"

She has a point there.

Inside of Microsoft, there are lots of SharePoint sites. Some of them are okay.

Others of them are horrendous scary things where you keep an extra copy before you upload any content.

Teachers would never buy

"The dog ate my homework!"

if you made the claim. It actually did happen to me once. I even had the half eaten work but I still wasn't believed.

But if you were to tell people on your team

"The SharePoint site ate my spec!"


"The document got lost in the SharePoint site upgrade!"


"The file got lost when the SharePoint site was migrated!"

then everyone believes you.

Because when each site is thrown together by non-designers -- by random people on the team, it's a mess.

No one ever gets everything off it because too many weird places are there with random docs.

I don't even have the the heart to blame SharePoint. I mean, it's hardly their fault. We're talking about a bunch of amateurs using their product, without any real expertise.

But the people the product is designed for do amazing things with it -- they've been enjoying huge adoption and a lot of growth as a product.

Things look so different on the outside....

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