[thechat] Cloudy Collaboration Apps

S.M.German smgerman at comcast.net
Tue Jul 15 18:43:12 CDT 2014

> Let me try a simpler angle.  Am I the only one who runs into internal link rot?
> I can't tell you how many internal share points, share drives, and websites
> get orphaned during every blessed corporate re-org.  You want to go back
> and review information from a project you completed two years ago?  Good
> Freakin' Luck with that!   I'm betting that externally shared
> information/sites/tools will be managed equally well.
> Cheers,
> RonL.
> PS: Heh.  How fortuitous!  I just ran into the following:  (a) the 'world-wide'
> team placed a PowerPoint deck out on a cloudy share service,  (b) the Asia
> team edited the deck down to just their region and shared it out to their
> staff,  (c)  [Oooopsie!]  the Asia team accidentally saved the edited deck
> overtop of the world-wide deck ... (d) the rest of world wonders why the
> deck contains no data for their region.    ;-)   Yeah, Baby!   Collaboration FTW!


Oh, you are not alone.  I'm about 20 months into a new position with a group with 2 SharePoint sites.  When the old SP was updated, not all the content could be automatically ported over, and of course no one took the lead on making a manual move happen.  So now I have no idea where anything is in relation to anything else.  It's not just the 2 sites, but that there is no apparent rhyme or reason for what stuff is on what site.   If there's a library or list I need to access, I make sure I bookmark a direct URL.  If I need add something, I take my best guess as to where it should go and send a link to my boss.  

Following a corporate merger, a new SharePoint system is being put up with a new site for my group.  If I was a betting man, I'd lay money there is a place in the project plan for attempting migration of SP 2.0 to SP 3.0, but A) just like the migration of 1.0 to 2.0, there will be objects which cannot be automatically migrated, B) there's no plan for the time or elevated rights end users might need for manual migration of those objects, and C) there will be no attempt to go back to SP 1.0 and migrate those objects to the new sites.  So soon we'll have 3 SharePoint sites with various parts of projects and group documents.  =)

Getting back to the question of cloudiness, you mentioned the issue of an employee-created account using the employees personal company or private credentials (such as Jane.Smith at gmail.com).  I've had the fortune of dealing with such issues on internal systems, e.g. ownership of a SharePoint site or a conference room booked for a recurring meeting.  Given the time sink those activities are when I can walk down the hall and lean on the system admin to get a response, I would not want to repeat that activity with a 3rd party.

So do I take away from my experiences?  

- If something to be accessed by the group requires an email address or account credentials, use group credentials.  You may have at least one group mailbox, likely for user support.  Give group members rights to Send As that mailbox and use it for group SharePoint site ownership, recurring meetings, Google Docs, Dropbox, etc.  If your email/user directory folks can make exceptions to corporate password policy (if you have a service that needs domain credentials, you're not changing the PW for that account every 90 days, are you?) request an exception made for your group account. Otherwise, your group will have access to that account for at most 90 days.  ;)

Now the group is not dependent on a single point of contact, and you're not screwed if Fred, who always took care of uploading the new product inserts to be retrieved by the printers, wins the lottery and moves to an island that has outlawed any technology newer than the blender.

- For things SharePoint sites, document repositories, libraries, network shares, include time for and insist on documentation.  Even if it's just the equivalent to a table of contents and glossary, tell the people of the future what you are thinking today--minor projects get a folder here, major projects get a new subsite, internal docs go under this folder tree, customer docs go here, etc.

Assume some things, such as link rot, are inevitable.  At some point, someone who will have never met any current members of your team, will have go through and make sense of it all.  Whatever extra time you can take documenting now will pass off ten-fold at that time.  

Also assume all documents are instantly out of date.  Use this as an opportunity.  If your employer is a large company and anything like the places I've worked, there's an internship program that even in the IS/IT departments is mostly stocked with non-technical students.  (Even in IS it seems the business majors outnumber the CS/software majors by 6:1.  But that is a function of who your company pursues.)  This is a perfect Summer project: "Here's our documentation; here's our SharePoint, shared folders, whatever.  Update one to match the other.  See you in 10 weeks."



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