The primary purpose for me to start this blog was to highlight a few of those war stories I’ve got of saving the day. I will leave the names of the clients I’ve had out of this.
So here is a rather recent event. A whole lot of us were on a rather large contract, and the client failed to get paperwork completed on time to keep us on site. We were sent home on mandatory vacation. While on vacation, I learned that there might not be funding for my position after we got back. I spent the time looking for another position. Anyway, three weeks pass and we finally get back to work. A few days later, a guy asks me why he can’t see Title on one of his libraries. After looking at that library for a minute, then others on the same site, then all the way to the Title site column of the whole site collection. Yes, you may have guessed it, Title had been set to hidden and cascaded through the whole site collection.
Now, in a happy world, I’d just run to the farm admin and ask him to restore from a backup, but that wasn’t going to be possible. It happened a week after we left the client’s site. It was another three weeks before I learned of this, so all of the documents that had been edited and pages that had been modified would have been lost if we restored from the last good backup. The only other contractor working on SharePoint with me spent seven days going to every single list and library in the site collection, converted all of them to manage content types, and set Title to required, optional, or hidden as required. I spent only two days on the task before I started to work on my last project before leaving to start with a new company.
Obviously, never screw with the out of the box (OOTB) site columns.
Don’t let qualified people have full control permissions at the root of a site collection. For the record, I had previously stated the one responsible should not have permissions there, but I’m only a contractor.
Your farm admin should have a list of daily tasks and weekly tasks. Somewhere among them should include a series of tests to check for changes via the audit log. You can never expect communication to work properly even if you think you have a good change management process in place, so you need to have someone checking these logs often.
Don’t expect a lot of love from the ones who enabled the person who did this when you fix it. This was a very public airing of dirty laundry. Just do your job and take notes.
I do find it kind of ironic that this blog is not SharePoint hosted (no pun intended, Scott). Blame Microsoft. They can never seem to figure out what they want to do, so I guess this ended up here on WordPress.
If you would have asked me what SharePoint was 4-5 years ago, my honest answer would have been “a Microsoft product”. One two-day crash course and five clients later, I’m thankful to have been able to make a comfortable living developing in SharePoint exclusively. A lot of this is owed to great SharePoint gurus like Scott himself, who was my co-worker and is my colleague.
SharePoint isa great platform for business process automation. It is nota dumping ground for documents (but you can use it for that if you want). SharePoint can be your friend, and it can be your worst nightmare. It is what you make of it. In application, don’t think of things in a SharePoint-ey way, think of it practically. Then, learn and apply SharePoint to fit that practicality.
Firstly, I wanted to explore a few war stories and tell you about those SharePoint challenges I’ve faced over the years. I hope to bring on a couple others to share their experiences as well. I’ve maintained madwhitehatter.com for the last few years, but that was a blog using Office365, which has stopped allowing new public-facing sites. It was also a domain to cover far more than just SharePoint; it was mainly aimed at hacking and security. That was the goal nyway.
Secondly, I’m making a new start with a new company. As a farewell gift, my coworker gave me the coolest picture ever. She grabbed a little bit of everything about me and had an artist put it all into one graphic that says a lot about who I am. Most of the clients I’ve had over the last several years were tied to the Army and I was in the Army for 10 years. I’m kind of grumpy, like Tartar Sauce (the coolest cat to grace the internet). Lastly, when someone needs help, I’m the hero.
Honestly, I know a lot of people in this business who are far smarter than I am, especially when it comes to adding code to a page to render data better or change the UI/UX; but, I’ve often been the only one for them to come to their aid. I have been in the customer service business my whole life, not just in IT. The truth is that we all are in the customer service business whether we like to admit it or not. Taking the time and patience with the customers, whether you can solve their issue right then or not, goes a long way. You also need to genuinely give a damn, and I do. It isn’t just a job.