Building the SharePoint House

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I’ve been working on a SharePoint 2010 project lately, a migration from a SharePoint 2007 farm.  As usual in this particular organisation, there is never any time for any actual planning, but a desire to just trial and error it.  The only problem is, it has suddenly become production, and I’ve getting bogged down helping various people with site specific requests, rather than completing the infrastructure configuration (don’t even get me started on the user profile synchronization service…).

To help explain why everything is not yet configured, or why I have to keep performing IIS resets on the farm, I’ve been using an analogy to the staff who are coming to me – I call it the SharePoint House.

SharePoint is a big block of land, and we’re building a house (web application) on it.  Let’s call this house Portal.  Portal from the outside looks like a completed house – the foundations are down, there’s a roof, and we have a few rooms (site collections).  Some of these rooms have wardrobes or even other rooms contained within (sub-sites).

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Within some of these rooms we have special functions (features) like a kitchen vs a bedroom, and they all have different looks and feels (theming, page layouts).  Inside the rooms, wardrobes etc is a bunch of storage items – drawers, cupboards, boxes – these are used to store stuff (libraries/content) and some of it may even be collated together to represent something in particular (content types).

Of course, no house would be complete without running water, electricity, gas, cable TV etc all connected up (service applications).

So when someone asks me questions or complains about the Portal, I explain the SharePoint House.  I then make a point that we didn’t use an architect to design the SharePoint House, we just started building.  Then all of a sudden, while we were still putting up rooms, everyone all of a sudden started moving in.  In the chaos of moving all their own stuff across, it was poorly organised and now hard to find.  To make matters worse, when anyone went to use the toilet…it wouldn’t flush.

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