Top 100+ SharePoint Blogs Behind the Report

SharePoint as KeywordSomething I’ve done more since leaving Microsoft is catch up on blogging and reading MVP and other SharePoint community blogs. 

My most recent freeware RSS client is "snarfer" from snarfware.  It had the most downloads on download.com for free RSS readers.  It’s forced me to get a bit organized around my feed consumption.  In my attempts to find the best SharePoint blogs I came across a post which listed the top 100 Analyst feeds.

In my various searching and digging I came across a few good aggregated feeds, here are the best aggregations I found.  SharePoint is a common term across facebook, twitter, blogs and searches.

 

SharePoint Aggregated Feeds:

SharePoint MVPs

SharePoint related Blogging MS Employees

SharePoint Community Lists and OPML (very verbose)

 

I took a stab at trying to put together a 100 Top SharePoint Blogs based on Technorati and was planning on using some influence from Google Page Rank, but it ultimately was tough to integrate the two, so I’ve sorted by Technorati Rank.  First let me caveat this list as incomplete.  This was taken from Mark Kruger’s old list of SharePoint blogs, the old most comprehensive one that I knew of, and then blogs from various MVPs blog rolls.  This list need not be complete.  This is a stab at getting something that I think will become more useful in the future.  Don’t shoot the messenger.  Please hold your harsh words with a better attempt at the essense or spirit of what I was going after…  ultimately a list of bloggers that we can subscribe to, to understand what’s going on in the space… right?

So after getting this huge list of close to 200 SharePoint Community blogs I tried to think like a developer would.  How could I automate getting some useful information on these blogs.  You know I’m not much of a developer, so this should be interesting 🙂  I figured there had to be a web service to gather the data and sure enough…

For Google Page Rank I simply used a page which allows you to check 10 at a time.  Obviously they are hitting a service in the background.  You can add a simple snippet to your own site to show page rank and other ranking sites:

<a href="http://www.wholinks2me.com/" title="Click here to see who’s linking to my site.">Who links to my website?</a>

For Technorati, a service I’ve ended up putting most of my trust in, I dig some digging and found a very useful web service, A Developer API called BlogInfo.  Here’s some information on the service.  Simply pass in the URL and a key which you can get by signing up on Technorati.  (note this service has a 500 per day query limit).  I was thinking about putting this in some kind of page, but the 500 per day limit prevents that.  The useful thing I’ve found with httprequest.vbs is you can hit any web page on the command line.  Very useful for warmups and for automation, you can grab that in the warm up zip attachment on my old blog.

"The bloginfo query provides info on what blog, if any, is associated with a given URL.

The call is made using a REST-ful interface. Send either a HTTP GET or a HTTP POST to http://api.technorati.com/bloginfo?key=[apikey]&url=[blog url] with mandatory parameters "key" and "url" and one optional parameter to request various formats.

Here’s what the XML output looks like:

Success
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<!-- generator="Technorati API version 1.0 /bloginfo" -->
<!DOCTYPE tapi PUBLIC "-//Technorati, Inc.//DTD TAPI 0.02//EN" "http://api.technorati.com/dtd/tapi-002.xml">
<tapi version="1.0">
<document>
<result>
  <url>[URL]</url>
  <weblog>
    <name>[blog name]</name>
    <url>[blog URL]</url>
    <rssurl>[blog RSS URL]</rssurl>
    <atomurl>[blog Atom URL]</atomurl>
    <inboundblogs>[inbound blogs]</inboundblogs>
    <inboundlinks>[inbound links]</inboundlinks>
    <lastupdate>[date blog last updated]</lastupdate>
    <rank>[blog ranking]</rank>
    <lang></lang>
    <foafurl>[blog foaf URL]</foafurl>
  </weblog>
  <inboundblogs>[inbound blogs]</inboundblogs>
  <inboundlinks>[inbound links]</inboundlinks>
</result>
</document>
</tapi>
Here's an example of what I put together using Notepad and Excel (x200 lines).  
cscript.exe httprequest.vbs GET http://api.technorati.com/bloginfo?
key=1347df90&url=http://blogs.msdn.com/mikewat/ /out:1.XML //B
cscript.exe httprequest.vbs GET http://api.technorati.com/bloginfo?
key=1347df90&url=http://giraudyp.perso.cegetel.net/
/out:2.XML //B
cscript.exe httprequest.vbs GET http://api.technorati.com/bloginfo?
key=1347df90&url=http://mikewalsh.bilsimser.com
/out:3.XML //B

The example above is all put in a single .cmd file and then I pass in the method "GET" with the URL to httprequest.vbs which accepts a URL as a parameter then output to a filename. Here’s what the output looks like with real data in it.

We all love AC, here’s the XML output for his.  I did find that the UTF-8 encoding was sometimes problematic and I ended up parsing out some of the headers that I found detracting, then pulled them all together and doing some munging and proprietary Excel skills to put this in a table.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<!– generator="Technorati API version 1.0" –>
<!DOCTYPE tapi PUBLIC "-//Technorati, Inc.//DTD TAPI 0.02//EN" "http://api.technorati.com/dtd/tapi-002.xml">
<tapi version="1.0">
<document>
    <result>
        <url>http://andrewconnell.com/blog/</url>
                    <weblog>
                <name> Andrew Connell [MVP MOSS] </name>
                <url>http://andrewconnell.com/blog</url>
                <rssurl>http://feeds.feedburner.com/AndrewConnell</rssurl>
                <atomurl></atomurl>
                <inboundblogs>194</inboundblogs>
                <inboundlinks>495</inboundlinks>
                <lastupdate>2008-05-16 19:40:04 GMT</lastupdate>
                <rank>36939</rank>
                <authors>
                        <author>
                        <username>aconnell</username>
                        <name>Andrew Connell</name>
                        <description>Microsoft MVP for MCMS, I’m a .NET developer focusing on Microsoft Office System solutions.</description>
                        <url>http://technorati.com/people/technorati/aconnell</url>
                        <photourl>http://static.technorati.com/progimages/photo.jpg?uid=109121</photourl>
                         </author>
                 </authors>
            </weblog>
                            <inboundblogs>194</inboundblogs>
                            <inboundlinks>495</inboundlinks>
            </result>
</document>
</tapi>

The most important things to note are some of the blogs returned nothing.  What does this mean?  This means that technorati hasn’t crawled the blog, or it has no incomming blogs, or no links.  Technorati is by far not the only way to rate blogs, but it really is focused on some of the key algorithms that I find useful.  As you look at updating frequency, links and blogs pointing to your site, you’ll see the most important is the number of unique inboundblogs.  Blog rolls are quite important in defining the importance and ranking of blogs.  When I first started looking at my blog on technorati,the best I got was in the under 10,000 somewhere around 8900, and that was when they were tracking 3 million blogs.  Now they are tracking nearly 10 million blogs and I’m lucky to be as high as I am.  That blog will obviously continue to drop as people update their blog rolls to my new blog at http://www.sharepointjoel.com and the update frequency drops.

More info in the following blog with the rating table!  Please don’t hate me for this…  Add comments in this and the next post for missing blogs that have 10 plus inbound blogs.  I’d like to do an update to this in a couple of months.  We can call this a first stab, and unofficial… giving more of a chance to capture a more verbose list.  Any comments on the unbiased, but automated ratings, I’m open to that as well.  Check out blogged.com, they have some ratings on ~75 SharePoint blogs, but I found it incomplete and needing to be updated.  Again, no offense to what you’ll see in the next post 🙂 

Your friend… Joel

Top 100 SharePoint Blogs of Spring 2008

Joel’s Top 100 SharePoint Blogs (Spring 2008) Ordered by Technorati Rating
 
URL Author               MVP?     

Cate-
gory 

Blogs In

Links In

Technorati
Rating

Google
Page Rank

Bloglines
Subs

Google
Reader
Subs

Avg
Posts
per
Week

1

http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepoint SP Team MS ALL 512 1295 9,907 7

283

2506 4

2

http://weblogs.asp.net/bsimser    Bil Simser MVP DEV 250 1303 26,043 5 245 686 5.1
3 http://blogs.msdn.com/joelo Joel Oleson IT 202 515 34,741 6 107 931 4.7
4 http://andrewconnell.com/blog AndrewConnell MVP DEV 194 495 36,939 5 242 995 2.3
5 http://blah.winsmarts.com Sahil Malik MVP DEV 108 364 75,992 5 178 793 3.7
6 http://heathersolomon.com/blog Heather Solomon MVP DES 107 179 76,867 5 172 727 .5
7 http://weblogs.asp.net/jan Jan Tielens MVP DEV 95 244 89,650 4 21 545
8 http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/blogs/mikeg Mike Gannotti MS DEV 84 104,521 4 20 126 10.3
9 http://blog.thekid.me.uk Vincent Rothwell MVP DEV 63 547 104,744
* http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepointdesigner Designer Team MS DES 80 127 110,846 6 73 1101 .7
10 http://blogs.msdn.com/pandrew Paul Andrew MS DEV 77 140 115,970 6 20 466 3.3
11 http://blogs.technet.com/wbaer William Baer MS IT 68 123 134,181 6 43 152 3
12 http://jopx.blogspot.com Joris Poelmans MVP DEV 61 122 152,199 5 70 146 3.7
13

http://blogs.developpeur.org/themit/default.aspx 
(French)

Renaud Comte MVP DEV 61 402 152,199 5 45 2.1
14 http://blogs.technet.com/stefan_gossner Stefan Gossner MS ALL 65 144 153,341 5 164 328 .2
15 http://bobfox.securespsite.com/foxblog Bob Fox MVP IT 60 155,116 4
16 http://www.thorprojects.com/blog/ Robert Bogue MVP ALL 58 103 161,307 5 65 303 2.1
17 http://blogs.msdn.com/roberdan  (English/Italian)  Roberto D’Angelo MS DEV 56 168 167,741 5 3 53 1.6
18 http://blogs.devleap.com/romeopruno (Italian/English) Romeo Pruno DEV 56 69 167,741 4
19 http://blogs.msdn.com/ecm SP Team MS DEV 426 173,132 6 103
20 http://blogs.msdn.com/arpans Arpan Shah MS BDM 53 223 178,151 6 331 457 1.4
21 http://blogs.msdn.com/cjohnson Chris Johnson MS DEV 53 98 178,151 5 155
22 http://sharepointnutsandbolts.com   Chris O’Brien MVP DEV 51 97 186,136 0 0
23 http://www.sharepoint-tips.com  Ishai Sagi MVP DEV 48 130 199,227 4 32
24 http://blogs.msdn.com/harsh Harsh Chiplonkar MS DEV 47 50 203,839 6 1
25 http://blogs.developpeur.org/phil (French) Philippe Sentenec MVP DEV 46 513 208,647 4 2
26 http://www.endusersharepoint.com Mark Miller IW 46 208,647
27 http://markharrison.co.uk/blog Mark Harrison MS BDM 44 152 218,928 5 174
28 http://blogs.msdn.com/erikaehrli Erika Ehrli MS DEV 42 69 230,202 6 11
29 http://blogs.tamtam.nl/mart Mark Muller MVP DEV 39 81 249,273 5 40
30 http://www.harbar.net Spencer Harbar MVP IT 39 62 249,273 5 38
31 http://www.sharepointblogs.com/tbaginski Todd Baginski MVP DEV 39 56 249,273 4 83
32 http://johnholliday.net  John Holiday MVP DEV 38 67 256,387 4 27
33 http://www.binarywave.com/blogs/eshupps Eric Shupps MVP DEV 38 256,387 4 16
34 http://stsadm.blogspot.com Gary Lapointe MVP IT 38 159 256,387 3 4
35 http://blogs.msdn.com/markarend Mark Arend MS ALL 37 79 263,809 4 18
36 http://mindsharpblogs.com/Ben Ben Curry MVP IT 37 51 263,809 0 7

37

http://www.msmvps.com/blogs/shane Shane Young MVP IT 199 269,091 4 83
38 http://paulgalvin.spaces.live.com Paul Galvin MVP IT 36 153 271,686 4 4
39 http://weblogs.asp.net/erobillard Eli Robillard MVP DEV 36 67 271,686 4 47
40 http://www.chandima.net/Blog Chandima Kulathilake MVP DES 36 159 271,686 4 7
41 http://www.sharepointjoel.com Joel Oleson IT 35 56 279,760 0 75
42 http://weblogs.asp.net/soever Serge van den Oever MVP 34 63 288,411 5 25
43 http://www.wssdemo.com/Blog Ian Moorish MS 33 101 297,412 4 7
44 http://www.helloitsliam.com Liam Cleary MVP 34 309,815
45 http://www.graphicalwonder.com Shane Perran MVP 30 39 328,547 5 93
46 http://www.21apps.com Andrew Woodward MVP 30 91 328,547 4 5
47 http://www.cleverworkarounds.com Paul Culmsee 30 153 328,547 3 5
48 http://www.sharepointsecurity.com/blog Adam Buenz MVP DEV 29 114 340,254 4 22
49 http://sharepointsolutions.blogspot.com Tony, Asif + Solutions Team MVP ALL 28 45 352,668 5 55
50 http://www.cjvandyk.com/blog Cornelius J. van Dyk MVP DEV 28 97 352,668 3 18
51 http://blog.u2u.info/DottextWeb/patrick Patrick Tisseghem MVP DEV 28 86 376,449 5 201
52 http://www.bluedoglimited.com/SharePointThoughts Maurice Prather MVP DEV 26 31 380,000 5 180
53 http://mindsharpblogs.com/bill Bill English MVP IT 26 36 380,000 4 88
54 http://www.sharepointblogs.com/dustin Dustin Miller MVP DES 24 36 411,621 4 126
55 http://daniellarson.spaces.live.com Daniel Larson MVP DEV 24 45 411,621 4 39
56 http://blogs.catapultsystems.com/matthew Matthew MVP IT 25 52 420,564 4
57 http://www.bobmixon.com/blog Bob Mixon MVP BDM 23 60 429,461 5 33
58 http://blogs.msdn.com/recman RM Team MS ALL 22 33 448,699 6 21
59 http://blogs.officezealot.com/mauro Mauro Caurelli MS DEV 22 51 448,699 5 65
60 http://www.spsfaq.com Stephen Cummings MVP IT 455,987 5 57
61 http://mindsharpblogs.com/penny Penny Coventry MVP IT 21 26 469,745 3 13
62 http://blogs.msdn.com/mikefitz Mike Fitz DEV 253 475,774 6 192
63 http://blogs.msdn.com/mikewat Mike Watson MS IT 20 36 492,178 5 1
64 http://weblogs.mysharepoint.de/mgreth (English/German) Michael Greth MVP ALL 20 46 492,178 4
65 http://www.ideseg.com Carlos Segura Sanz MVP DEV 20 53 492,178 4 4
66 http://www.sharepointblogs.com/ssa S.S. Ahmed MVP DEV 19 48 516,960 5 27
67 http://weblogs.asp.net/wkriebel Westin Kriebel DEV 19 27 516,960 5 27
68 http://chrissyblanco.blogspot.com Chrissy Blanco DEV 19 32 516,960 4
69 http://blogs.msdn.com/williamcornwill William Cornwill MS DEV 18 41 544,327 4 4
70 http://www.elumenotion.com/blog Doug Ware DEV 18 544,327 4 6
71 http://mindsharpblogs.com/todd Todd Bleeker MVP DEV 546,134 5 114
72 http://www.sharepointblogs.com/jasonmedero Jason Medero MVP IT 17 24 574,833 4 33
73 http://mikewalsh.bilsimser.com Mike Walsh MVP IT 16 81 608,616 4 42
74 http://www.mannsoftware.com/Blog David Mann MVP DEV 16 33 608,616 4 6
75 http://sharepointmx.mvps.org/blogs/ldusolier (spanish) Luis du Soldier MS IT 15 26 646,322 4 24
76 http://community.zevenseas.com/Blogs/Daniel Daniel McPherson MVP DEV 15 41 646,322 4 27
77 http://blogs.msdn.com/edhild Ed Hild MS DEV 679,094 4
78 http://blogs.msdn.com/randalli Randall Isenhour MS DEV 14 19 688,970 6 10
79 http://blogs.msdn.com/dwinter Dan Winter MS IT 14 16 688,970 5
80 http://geekswithblogs.net/tariq Tariq Ayad DEV 14 21 688,970 4 84
81 http://glorix.blogspot.com Robin Meure DEV 14 159 688,970 4 3
82 http://www.beckybertram.com Becky Bertram MS DEV 14 21 688,970 4 2
83 http://www.wildwires.com/Blog Stacy Draper MVP DEV 14 19 688,970 4 27
84 http://blogs.sharepointguys.com/brendon Brendon Schwartz MVP IT/DEV 14 103 688,970 3
85 http://blogs.devhorizon.com/reza Reza Alirezaei MVP DEV 14 28 688,970 3 4
86 http://blogs.msdn.com/andrew_may Andrew May MVP DEV 48 722,319 6 153
87 http://blogs.technet.com/corybu Corey Burns MS IT 13 17 736,965 4 1
88 http://www.msftliveblogs.com/mhamilton Mike Hamilton IT/DEV 13 14 736,965 4 18
89 http://blogs.microsoft.co.il/blogs/itaysk (English/Hebrew) Itay Shakury DEV 13 27 736,965 3
90 http://mindsharpblogs.com/kathy Kathy Hughes MVP IT 13 24 736,965 3 6
91 http://cregan.wordpress.com Chris Regan IT 770,942 4 8
92 http://www.zimmergren.net Tobias Zimmer DEV 12 39 790,971 3 0
93 http://weblogs.asp.net/avnerk Avner Kashtan DEV 11 24 854,202 5 75
94 http://meiyinglim.blogspot.com Mei Ying Lim MVP DEV 11 15 854,202 5 20
95 http://wssdevelopment.blogspot.com Chris DEV 11 26 854,202 4 1
96 http://www.plijnaer.nl/weblog Martijn Plijnaer IT/DEV 11 42 854,202 3 1
97 http://blogs.msdn.com/kn MS Team MS ALL 11 890,116 6 74
98 http://blog.krichie.com Keith Richie MVP DEV 10 10 927,370 5 28
99 http://www.toddklindt.com/blog Todd Klindt MVP IT 10 92 927,370 4 5
100 http://dotnet.org.za/zlatan Zlatan Dzinic MVP DEV 10 40 927,370 3 2
 
 
I don’t want to miss anyone
If you have much more than 11 blogs based on Technorati that point to yours then give me a shout at joleson@yahoo.com
 
Blogs had to to rank in the top 900,000 blogs of more than 10 million and counting, to make the list.  Bloglines data and was pulled on 5/19/2008 with Technorati on 5/16/2008.  Any mistakes are my mistakes and not intentional.  This list is generated for the purposes of ranking blogs to help improve the quality of original content and to reward those who are truly doing amazing work for the SharePoint community.  (Truly for your enjoyment and for the betterment of the SharePoint community.)

A Joel’s "Top 100" and "Top 10 SharePoint Blog" badge will be coming soon…

Note: I’ve posted this post for comparative reasons with the previous post.  Apologizes for any mistakes or missing blogs.  Also please note that some blogs were removed that were considered aggregated feeds or didn’t primarily contain original content such as mirrors, news or republished links.  Although this update may look like a major update, additional updates may be made over the course of the week with a refresh of blog listings around August/September 08.

About RSS and Subscriptions… Although some of the best indicators of blog popularity are unique blogs that point to your blog, and links that point to your blog… RSS subscribers are a very telling story.  For this reason I’ve included some stats from Bloglines.com an online RSS reader.  I assume these stats don’t account for even 5% of readership, but can give an indication of popularity.  A more ideal number would be the actual feed statistics such as through feedburner.com.  Unfortunately, these statistics are only available if they are published by the owner.  I for example, as recent as May 14th had 3,516 subscribers  to my feedburner feed, while looking at bloglines you see only 75 as online web based subscribers happening to be using the bloglines interface to subscribe (it’s amazing how many hundreds I can lose over a weekend). Another 29 are subscribed directly to the old feed of the archive site (hence the calculated number in the table). 

According to Andrew Connell’s feedburner stats on his site he has around ~3200 subscriptions, while Bil Simser has ~2500.  It’s fun to analyze.  I hope you enjoy this data and understand this is all in good fun.  Here’s an interesting break down by client consumption.  You can see what small percentage (2%) is taken by bloglines with Outlook 2007 (28%) and Google Feedfetcher (27%) being the two most popular RSS clients for my feed (the very Pro already upgraded Office 2007 client with Outlook 2007).  Very savy indeed.

RSS Conumption of My Blog 

Register for SharePoint Summer Camp

A special once in a lifetime event is happening this summer.  Shane Young and I are joining forces to bring you a special variation of SharePoint Professional Administration 401 we’re currently calling "The SharePoint Administrators Survival Camp" with much more depth and much more detail.  We’ve revamped the agenda and added a day.  We’re hoping to attract the real die hard SharePoint Admins that want to come and rub shoulders with us, and have real meaty conversations around disaster recovery, authentication, and share real world troubleshooting horror and success stories with us around the camp fire.  Ok, maybe no campfire, just the fire from the Mirage.  Yes, we’re going to do this amazing event in Las Vegas, July 14-18, 2008. 

I wanted you to hear it here first.  I am partnering up with the Ted Pattison Group to develop and deliver some training.  The TPG website hasn’t yet been updated with this info, but I’ll add the link here when it does become available.  I’m sure it will fill fast.

I bet they’d let you get on a pre-sales list…  (In addition, I noticed coupons on the home page for $400 discounts, not sure how long those will be there.)

1(866) 475-4440

Registration Now Open for SharePoint Survival Camp for Admins.

 

info@TedPattison.net

I’ll ask for forgiveness later.  More details to come.

Joel

What does it take to become a SharePoint MVP?

Beyond a note I read in facebook which was an imported blog post by a new facebook friend/connection and SharePoint MVP, Zlatan Dzinic from South Africa, I thought I’d fill you in on my thoughts on the same topic.  I have a passion for SharePoint MVP and the whole program and hopefully you’ll feel it by the end of this post.  In his post he quickly refers to the post from Lawrence Lui on the paint ball game and other various fun community events during MVP summit.

I flew back for the paintball game and actually planned my middle east trip around it.  That was my second of two SharePoint MVP paintball games, and I think it very appropriate that he give it this title and then refer to the paintball game.  I made some awesome friends the first time around, and wasn’t interested in missing this opportunity. 

Working with SharePoint is like a paintball game… it can be the most exhilarating time of your life, but you’re likely to take a few zingers and walk away with some bruises, but no doubt your fond memories and friendships made during the game will last a lifetime.

SharePoint MVPs are unlike any other MVPs in any program at Microsoft.  They are the coolest, most laid back, down to earth, salt of the earth, type people.  They watch reality TV, they play XBOX 360/Wii, Guitar hero 3, love Disney world, discuss Iphones and technology in general.  You might even find a Macbook Pro or 2 or 3.  They hang out at SharePint type gatherings, and when they get together you find them in large groups all willing and racing to pick up the tab.  The friendships I’ve built with MVPs are stronger than anyone local or as strong than any of my friendships I’ve built over the last 10 years.  I’d take a bullet for nearly any one of em, and that’s not saying much ’cause I know they’d do the same for me.

So beyond it being just the coolest most elite crowd to hang with, I find there are some very obvious…

Benefits to being a SharePoint MVP.

1. Friendships to last a lifetime

2. The DL and Networking – This distribution list of the smartest SharePoint people on the planet has the quickest response time for any SharePoint Q/A.

3. Early access to bits and info – These folks do get pinged with info like the announcement that this was going to be the last 32 bit version.

4. Feedback/Consulted – You better believe it that the SharePoint product group listens to this group.  If they aren’t they are truly shooting themselves in the foot or eating their feet (putting their feet in their mouths).

5. Celebrity Status – If you think you feel like a rockstar for having  a cool blog, or by being a speaker at an event, become an MVP.  People around the world will take notice and your blog or speaking engagement will take another step up.

(6. There are some software and licensing and partner perks as well.  These add up.)

First let me give you Lawrence’s list that he’s put out publicly on becoming an MVP.

From Lawrence Liu:

What/who are the MVPs? MVPs are individuals, who are awarded Most Valuable Professional status by Microsoft for their deep technical expertise, product knowledge, continuous feedback, and consistent advocacy of the “voice of the customer." Their contributions help Microsoft evolve its programs and products. MVPs are thought leaders committed to helping others get the most out of their experience with Microsoft products and technologies. For more information about the SharePoint MVPs, go to http://MSSharePointCommunity.com/MVPs.

How to become a SharePoint MVP

1. Good and valid involvement and responses to SharePoint community forums.  There are other forums, but these are the ones that are highest priority for the product team.

2. Blogging, share what you learn as a dev, IT Pro, consultant, or trainer.  This is what being part of the community is about.

3. Leadership and active participation in SharePoint user groups.  Everyone loves cool user group, but the difference between a boring user group and a cool one is the networking and people willing to participate and give back.

4. Speaking at Global TechEds, SharePoint focused Conferences (inside and outside of MS),

5. Writing/Authoring and solid contribution of Books, White papers, articles, newsletters, magazine articles, TechNet/MSDN and so on.

From the MVP Community site there are some further details on the nomination process and what is actually being counted or looked at.  This is quoted from the SharePoint Community Portal.

If you’re interested in becoming a SharePoint MVP, please first read the official overview and FAQ for the Microsoft MVP program. Then consider making the one or more of the following contributions on a regular basis to the SharePoint community:

  • Provides a significant number of useful answers on a regular basis to questions in SharePoint team blogs, community forums, and/or newsgroups.
  • Publishes original content (e.g. via a blog or website) and/or tools (e.g. via CodePlex) that are useful to a significant number of people in the SharePoint community.

  • Presents or co-presents SharePoint oriented sessions frequently at major conferences (e.g. MS TechEd, MS SharePoint Conference, SharePoint Connections).
  • Leads or actively participates at SharePoint oriented user groups or code camps.
  • Nominated and vouched for by at least 3 current SharePoint MVPs.

 

Obviously there’s a level of expertise and visibility where you starts to stand out in the crowd.  I know there are some super smart consultants who are not MVPs.  There are a ton of them.  Why?  Most of them are too busy to give back or to share.  At least that’s what they tell me.  Too busy to write the white paper or post the blog.  It was personally my No. 1 goal after leaving Microsoft.  It actually was tough for me at Microsoft to not be able to be an MVP and an employee at the same time.  After hanging out with such cool people I wanted to be one of them as are many that know them.

I should also mention there are a few things you can do to loose your MVP status. This is the Joel list, not an official list obviously, but #1 is a sure thing.

1. Join Microsoft

2. Stop posting to your blog or slow down your community involvement, forums, speaking, writing, etc…  If people wonder what happened to you… this is a sure sign.

3. Bash SharePoint without a reason (this one likely isn’t listed anywhere, but your fellow MVPs will make sure of this).  Giving constructive feedback with reason is highly encouraged.  If you can make your voice heard with Microsoft first, that would be the preferred method.  You don’t need to bash on a blog before talking to a MS rep or preferably your account manager or MVP lead or even better a SharePoint (Technical preferred) Product Manager.  (They’ll get the info to the PMs.  They are usually pretty heads down, but if you’re ever talking to one, give them a piece of your mind… I mean give it to them straight.  Let them know what is important.)

I can’t really go through this list without naming a few names of people to talk to.  Bob Fox is a good guy to know, so are the leaders and personalities in the training companies at Ted Pattison Group, SharePoint Experts, Mindsharp, U2U, and Combined Knowledge.  I think you’d find the highest concentration of SharePoint MVPs in those groups.  I do encourage you to try to track down an MVP at TechEd, they have a booth at TechEd.  You can ask them all the questions you want.  It is something that will accelerate your career and the interactions you have with the SharePoint MVPs will be ultimately thing that will change or influence your career and ultimately your life!

The Motley Crew of SharePoint MVPs in Orlando at Shuttle Launch

The possibilities are really endless… You may find yourself going to the top of the Eiffel tower with an MVP or two, climbing the top of a huge bridge or going to the Sydney Zoo/Aquarium, or watching the space shuttle take off with a whole gaggle of MVPs, dancing on a pole/going to an ICE bar, dancing at all the clubs at Pleasure island, exploring the best clubs of Kuala Lumpur, working on MOC tests, stacking red bulls in Sydney, and even dancing with a Malaysian idol runner up (yep both of us), eating Durian, Disney backlot and fireworks, sledding and tubing in Dubai, paintball and pool, eating lots and lots of the best steak and seafood… Parties, parties and more parties…  (Caution, fun and adventure ahead… Contrary to what you’ve heard, you don’t have to drink to enjoy the MVPs.  Pineapple Juice is totally cool.)

<update 5/13/08>

I highly recommend subscribing to their RSS Feeds.  Here’s a link to theSharePoint MVP English Language feed.

After this post I ran into an interesting post from Mosslover (Becky Isserman) who aspires to being an MVP in her post titled "So I want to be an MVP."

The post itself is interesting, and the comments are even better.  I really enjoyed AC’s comments…

"The MVP is an award given for your past contributions to the community for a specific product (for me, MOSS) over the previous 12 months. The award is only good for one year. The way I like to describe it is that its an award for what you do above and beyond your day job. How do you keep it? Do the same stuff. Some classic metrics are actively blogging ORIGINAL and useful content, helping others in the MSDN online forums, presenting at user groups, writing articles, participating in CodePlex projects (but this isn’t nearly as important), etc.

Then, someone (MSFT employee / product MVP) notices and we nominate you. It isn’t something you go out and request… it is something that just happens. That’s when the whole analysis process starts."

Lawrence’s comments are good too "… love the product and the community around it, not the MVP status for it. That’s an important distinction to remember. The MVP award, especially the one for SharePoint, has many benefits, but those benefits can be abused by people with agendas different from loving the product/community. Just keep doing what you’re doing because you love it rather than shooting for the MVP award, and you will be an MVP sooner rather than later."

What’s good about both of these comments are they both try to set the expectation that if you’re looking for the "MVP" status to get recognition, then you’re going at it wrong.  If you are aspiring for greatness and are sincere then go for it, but don’t be dissapointed, it is a very small and tight group.  Despite some of the comments that would say don’t go for it, it will just happen, I’d disagree. 

I think it’s a fine thing to aspire to.  MVPs are cool, and contributing to the community with original content is something I’d highly encourage as well.  Unless you first contribute and then see what the return is you’d never have known how great it feels to have a blog that people read or care about.  The first time I had someone praise my blog, I was so floored.  I’m still taken back when someone says my blog is a SharePoint bible.  It feels great, and encourages me to continue my efforts.  Not for MVP status, that’s not why I blog.  But I’d say… If you never try you’ll never know how good it feels to blog, or contribute to the community.  If MVP aspirations encourage you to do it, then go for it.

</update>

 

Insights: Why SharePoint Projects Fail

I’ve been reading the musings of a very insightful chap at Cleverworkarounds.com.  Very, very impressive indeed.  Paul Culmsee does an amazing job of covering the IT decision makers and a few good bones to chew on for the IT implementers.  From ROI, Planning, Branding, Compliance, and content as deep as Disk I/O he speaks from his gut and gives it to you like he sees it.

I’m not going to tell you he’s wrong on right, since I’m not going to take them point by point, but I am impressed by the insights and wanted to tack on some of my own musings on the topic of failed SharePoint projects.  Love some of the images, and I got permission to use them.  I also recommend you do take the time to read through the 5 post series he’s put together on this topic.  Why?  Cause I want to make sure you don’t fall into chaos, anarchy, or any "SharePoint gone Wild" scenario.  We all want successful SharePoint deployments… well accept SharePoint Hellboy (the Satan of the SharePoint world), someone I met once through blog comments.  He wants there to be lots of failed deployments.  So if you want Hellboy to win, then don’t read this…

  • Why do SharePoint Projects Fail? – Part 1
  • Why do SharePoint Projects Fail? – Part 2
  • Why do SharePoint Projects Fail – Part 3
  • Why do SharePoint Projects Fail? Part 4
  • Why do SharePoint Project Fail? Part 5
  • Let me put these to you in what I’d consider top reasons.  First I’d recommend you look at my 10 Steps to Success Governance Deck, since I’m going to consider that supplemental material.  I hope to publish that in a TechNet article or something in the near future.

    Thinking that your Developers are Your Administrators or visa versa as a Great Way to save money (Think Again!)

    This should have a few other titles and let me give them to you.  You employ Jack, yep the Jack of all trades.  He dabbles in development and wants to fulfill you dream of seeing all the documents in a single web part on the home page, so he’s done it.  3 reasons that’s bad.  One he didn’t read the article or MSDN that explains the critical importance of disposing of objects, cause he hasn’t had time to follow real SharePoint development.  (By the way, it’s as important as adding sufficient RAM.) Two he didn’t get a chance to test out his tree control and dynamic navigation in a test environment, but it worked on his desktop, so it has to be good, and he’s also given great aggressive dates, so it wasn’t outsourced since it was soooo easy to build and could be deployed so quickly.  Now you’re wondering why you’re having perf issues, your environment keeps crashing, and you don’t know what is custom and what isn’t.  You had to fire Jack, or he left ’cause he became a SharePoint rockstar because "No One" knows SharePoint Development and Administration… (except Jack).  Even if someone did know both, you wouldn’t want to give them access to the development environment and production, cause it would break your processes around change management.

    You bought SharePoint ‘Cause it does everything

    (Cleverworkarounds.com – Thanks Paul)

    baby DM

    Those that buy SharePoint for BI, Collab, DM, RM, Portal, blogs, wikis, and on and on, and try to do all that with a single deployment, let alone a single server, and tried to scrap existing projects across the enterprise are now looking at this single web application and saying what did we do?  All those promises and I’ve got 80% of what I need.  Uh Oh.  What a platform right?  Well, if you’re ok with the 80% then you’re golden.  If you’re looking for 105% you’re going to be doing custom development till the cows come home, and they don’t want to come.  It’s the folks that glob onto records management and think that SharePoint comes fully featured and will solve all their digital asset management needs right out of the box that worry me.  I love SharePoint.  I think it’s an awesome platform, and an awesome application.  My biggest worry is the person who ripped out Cognos and plugs in Excel services and wonders where the Nth feature is.  It’s an easy to use, it is BI for the masses, but it takes discipline.

    Unfortunately NO document management system can be thrown in and have people just use it and require no process, planning, or framework.  If you don’t care how loose your document management is then you’ll be pleased, but you’ll end up with collaboration or a delegated form of document management and hopefully some other PM will pick up the pieces and run with it.

    The built it and they will come form of document management is rough, but as a service it can be facilitated under the right circumstances.  If anyone can have a site, how are they attracted to your site and your rigid Document Management processes?

    I tell customers that if they want to best take advantage of SharePoint they need to understand it’s history and where it came from a little bit.  They don’t need to know the features intimately, but to understand WSS 2.0 and SPS 2003 high level, they can understand where collaboration and document libraries were and where they are.  Microsoft does a decent job, maybe the best (I think so) at integrating with Office and that’s where most companies come from.  Starting from the user, Microsoft’s SharePoint offering is the easiest to use to upload a document, download a document, do check in/check out, add some required meta data.  That alone is huge and powerful.  Add on basic wikis and basic blogging capabilities and you’ve got quite the product… keep going and add rich search capabilities, KPIs, tasks lists, workflows, and on and on, and you have quite the rich feature set that will stack up well against anything.

    Providing so much in one box is actually the challenge for your deployment project.  If you expect to do something with everything, and integrate it individually with each team and group and your project will be endless and doomed.  Especially if you go to each group for requirements across all those capabilities.  The two week deployment that turns into two years can result from trying to do the right thing for every team with every buzzword in the product in a large company.

    You have to focus on what your business needs are generally and start with the groups that have the need that justified the purchase, then track the ROI and have those metrics before you release it.  Also because of all of these capabilities all in one box, maybe you have very specific scenarios and services you plan for hosting SharePoint inside your company.

    Unforunately I can’t be at every deployment and there aren’t enough MVPs on the planet to be at every large deployment or customer need around the globe.  So use caution.  I’ve given some recommendation around choosing partners and determining what is somewhat safe custom code.  Remember if you take some, be sure it’s a solution and make sure you know how to remove it especially if there’s a component that is on the page (like a web part).  Those are some of the hardest to remove in a clean way.

    KISS… Keep it simple stupid.  That’s what I have to tell people so they don’t start with the complex.  You can turn a simple SharePoint deployment into a very complex system very very quickly. (Just create some custom site and list definitions or download them from somewhere like maybe some of those custom app templates.  Just be careful if you do.  Problem is, you don’t know how to be careful that early in the game.

    Reliability is King… So why Destroy your reliability before you start?

    I get most frustrated and saddened by green field (new) deployments that…

    1. Don’t allocate enough hardware (for high availability given the requirement, have no dev, test, or place to test service packs, even)

    2. Don’t allocate dedicated SharePoint resources (An Exchange or AD Admin as your SharePoint Admin is just a bad idea (no offense Exchange guys)) See the first issue for more explanation.

    3. You have to change everything including the site settings UI before you release the product to your users.  Custom UI especially navigation has got to be the #1 reason for crazy performance issues.  It’s also the #1 reason people say the product doesn’t scale.  Sure they later like to point at list scalability, but lists are just not well understood.  Poor lists 🙁  People complain about list scalability without understanding that they can scale, you just have to know what you’re doing.

    4. Every desktop a developer…  Everyone having SharePoint Designer and Administrator rights is a bad combination.

    5. Assemblies required?  Why? Ask yourself 3 times and then go ask a few others if you think you need assemblies before you’ve deployed for the very first time.  I’m telling you and retelling you the more OOB the more stable your environment will be.  Custom code introduces change and moving parts.  The more inexperienced the developer, the more moving parts and likelihood of reliability and performance issues.

    Often SharePoint Projects are doomed from the start because there is no budget

    When SharePoint is sold as the cheapest, easiest option and all the budget is spent on hardware, or not even that, they went with the desktop or old server in the rack, it’s doomed from the start.  SharePoint requires SQL, SQL requires RAM/CPU, SharePoint requires RAM/CPU and whatever other resources it can get.  Resources are very important.  These days it is not unusual to hear about Web Front Ends with 16 or 32 GB of RAM.  Not unusual to hear of people are spending as much on RAM as they are on the quad proc quad core servers they bought.  Sad but true.  The bang for the buck in these systems is in the cores and in the RAM.  I’m a fan of blades.

    What happens when you run out of money?  A neglected SharePoint environment is amazingly resilient until it 1) runs out of physical resources including disk 2) passwords reset due to policies 3) some bottleneck including Disk I/O, RAM, (CPU not so much)

    Oh yeah, did we forget to check the backups!!!  Is anyone doing any clean up?  How are we saving by not doing anything?  Ok, so maintenance is important.

     

    SharePoint has a lot of new areas and still has some growing pains (Documentation and Customer Deployment Challenges and New Experiences)

    So, despite the fact that we’re on V3 and SharePoint is the hottest thing on the planet, we still don’t know everything.  It’s true we don’t.  We also know it’s huge, it’s big, it’s as complex as you make it.  It can touch everything in a datacenter and be the UI for everything as well.  These days everything from provisioning of accounts, to password resets, and managing your extranet to providing customer and sales opportunities, to providing financial forecasts.  I know I only missed a few other hundred or thousand things that it potentially could be doing for you.

    This doesn’t mean waiting, that’s the worst thing you can do.  The best thing you can do is to get it in.  Get your IT managing it centrally, get them offering a service, get them working with your departments and start with the easy stuff.  I have the concept in my head around a real BPIO model.  A model for where a business is, and where SharePoint fits into that maturity.  If you’re new to SharePoint my recommendation would be to start simple (master pages are ok), and attempt to use out of the box features before you change everything out from underneath IT.  First, this helps your IT group know what to expect OOB, and next it prepares them for what happens when things become moving parts.

    When the assembly line first showed up and started making automation simple, the design wasn’t to swap out the employees and make people do different parts of the job or to change the belts underneath.  It was about replaceable parts. 

    You could have anything you wanted as long as it was a black Model T.  Later you could have other colors, but in the beginning it was simple, and focused.

    Software quality was rated the most important service provided by IT.  If that’s the case, then stabilization, change control, and learning how to support what you’ve got out of box before parts start changing.

     

    Choose Your Own Adventure and Documentation

    <Image removed temporarily>

    (Used with Permission from CleverWorkArounds.com)

    When you can do anything you want and no one can give you clear scenarios and usage examples and case studies.  (sure you can find case studies, but can you find the real use scenarios in there?  I don’t think so.

    The biggest challenge I’ve seen with TechNet documentation is the scenarios.  SharePoint is too big to be taken in one or three or five or even twenty five scenarios and be complete.  By taking a dozen or so, and trying to come up with core content we’ve ended up with a bit of choose your own adventure.  You run along jump down a rabbit hole and sometimes you end up coming out the other end, and other times it’s a dead end.  How often do you land in the nest a trap or finding the rabbit?

    I use to hold my finger in the book as I went down the choice, with browsers I open new tabs.  When I have twenty tabs, I find IE doesn’t like me very much.  I usually try to stick with no more than about 10 tabs per browser and then add more browsers, but I do often get lost.  Where I end up starting back at the top or going to your favorite search engine and starting again.

    So this challenge of putting together documentation based on choices is tough, but so is your own deployment.  You’re going to find that your deployment is the same as many others, but also very unique the farther you go down the customization and choices rabbit hole.  What are we talking about now, Alice in Wonderland?  Then I must be the Cheshire Cat.  Smiling at your deployment and offering advice.  I’m not the Queen running around saying off with their heads… that’s someone else, and if they are in your environment you’re reading this here, maybe not first, but as a reminder of the reality that the Queen lives.

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