Still Using Excel Spreadsheets for Project Management?

BrightWork Collaborative Project Management Framework Overview

By Joel Oleson

Executive Overview

I have the privilege of seeing so many great projects and solutions. BrightWork Collaborative Project Management Framework and software are no exception. I first was introduced by BrightWork by Éamonn McGuinness, who has the vision of making successful project and portfolio management possible and easy for every organization. BrightWork has been providing project management solutions with SharePoint since SharePoint 2001. I learned more about BrightWork through the free downloadable Collaborative Project Management Handbook. Immediately I found some very useful insights including an open process for managing post mortems. I’ve been in some companies who fear failure and met many in those companies who would never willingly admit their mistakes. In one company we had regular post mortems whenever there were outages, but also a moment after every project where we took time to reflect on the project and talked about highlights and low lights. Let me tell you just how different the experience is when you’re on a team where collaborative project management processes are implemented. Everyone has a voice. Failure is not an ultimate risk that plagues someone never to be trusted every again. All members of the team can provide leadership through collaborative mechanisms and have their voices heard. Instead mistakes will happen, and as a result we’ll all learn from those and find growth through making changes and recognizing ways to improve and evolve through processes for collaborating on what went well and not so well. BrightWork provides a safe environment for company and individual growth through a collaborative project management framework with three guiding principles, as well as free templates for SharePoint that make doing project management straightforward, consistent, easy, and possible.

Overview of BrightWork Collaborative Project Management Framework

First let me introduce you to the framework’s “Three Guiding Principles,” 1) Collaborate to Innovate – Projects deliver the innovations groups need to progress and projects are best delivered in a collaborative fashion with the entire team. 2) Lead to Succeed – The most successful projects get real leadership from both the project manager and all of the team members. 3) Evolve to Grow – Successful collaborative project management is not a capability acquired in a day; it evolves and develops in time.

The Three Guiding Principles and Stages of the Collaborative Project Management Framework

Learn Collaborative Project Management

It’s amazing to me just how many companies are simply using Microsoft Excel for managing projects. I understand it is the most common project manage tool on the planet by far. Beyond that it’s amazing to me how unstructured nearly all companies are in their approaches to project and portfolio management. While it’s not always possible to have a clear scope of work and clearly defined roles and responsibilities at the beginning of each project, there are some simple guidelines that can be followed to ensure everyone on the team is on the same page with milestones and the approach. Without an agreed upon approach to project management, chaos ensues as deliverables are not met, timelines continuously slip, and budgets are quickly overrun. That being said, I’ve seen many companies attempt to swing the pendulum to the other side to not only add structure, but add competency to their project managers and exist perpetually in analysis paralyses where speed and agility was the desire. You can’t snap your fingers and everyone is performing project management. It requires an agreed upon approach.

The Collaborative Project Management Handbook outlines the practices, stages, and leadership needed to deliver collaborative projects successfully. Each chapter includes practical exercises and tips to help you get started.

The Framework is built on a foundation of collaboration and leadership with an emphasis on evolution at the speed of the organization.

  • Collaborate to Innovate
  • Lead to Succeed
  • Evolve to Grow

Business Value

  • Organizational alignment across projects and project managers
  • Get started quick on projects and save time over time saved on simple status reports
  • Consistent reporting through rollup of dashboards
  • Customization of templates for flexibility in adding additional tracking for less on lite and more on larger projects
  • Portfolio rollup across department alignment with corporate strategic vision and plan
  • Intuitive Insights and reports can tell at any moment where a project is in progress
  • Visibility and control including transparent point of reference across the organization
  • Start where you are and evolve
  • Take advantage of your Office 365/SharePoint investment for Project Managers
  • Templatized approach to deliver project, portfolio and work management

What people are saying… “BrightWork has given us the opportunity to maximize how efficiently and effectively we manage a vast array of projects across our geographically dispersed organization.”

The current situation across the industries is the demands on teams for producing more with less has increased. In fact, according to a recent Microsoft study, the average employee works on 2x more teams than they did 5 years ago. Essentially our ability to deliver has not gone up, but the need to deliver has. How do you keep track of what you’re getting from these teams, document, excel, maybe a task list? What dates are they due? Keeping this in a spreadsheet? How do you provide status reports? How is this tracked at a team, group, department and/or for organizational reporting? You’re starting to see what happens when hundreds of employees are trying to keep track of all these tasks on their own, in dozens or hundreds of different ways. You can also see how collaboration and transparency are so important in providing the ability to share simple reporting interfaces with technology the organization already owns.

BrightWork has focused on this area of building a framework that is easy to learn, understand, and use as a mechanism. There are templates provided both for free and enhanced reporting that you can get started with today. These SharePoint based templates for collaborative project management will run on Office 365 and all recent versions of SharePoint 2016, 2013, and 2010.

SharePoint Templates for Project and Portfolio Management

I remember a time when templates were the rage in SharePoint. Instead of creating a blank site, you’d get further with a team template that already had a number of lists ready to go. The same with the document center, set with version control, and designed with metadata search in mind. BrightWork takes the SharePoint template model and extends it past the old project template SharePoint delivers, including solving some typical SharePoint problems!

Dashboard Focused Project Templates

BrightWork provides enterprise-ready project management application that leverages your investment in Microsoft SharePoint. There are a set of best-practice templates for project, portfolio and work management that help you to focus on the right things as you learn about the things that are most important in successful projects.

  • Projects and Work Tracker
  • Never lost, easy to use navigation with simple Site Map
  • Metric Tiles preconfigured out of the box and easy to configure
  • Score Card Dashboard
  • The 3-minute Status Report
  • Project Scheduling Dashboard
  • Wizard based Project Creation
  • Project Request Manager
  • Built in Side Bar Help

A few of the key features demonstrated to me include the 3-minute status report, which is designed as a quick report that requires little time to produce and yet powerfully answers the key questions stake holders have in any status call or portfolio review. Think about that. How can it get easier than that? Boom! Answer the 3 key foundational questions and your report lights up. The tile based scorecards make reporting simple and focused on the key metrics in a project and can easily be configured to display what the stakeholders are asking for.

First imagine a lightning fast simple task of bringing in all of the status spreadsheets from each of your project managers to then simply use quick edit in a very similar excel like interface. This quickly gets the data where it can be reported on and tracked. All parties will quickly see the value.

Once the data is aggregated and reported on for each of the projects. The Project Tracker can now do its job of rolling up the data with the simple red yellow green on the most important KPIs “Is it healthy? on time? on budget?” in a simple red yellow green with a simple Gantt view. Seriously powerful.

Many companies struggle to get out of seeing SharePoint beyond a next generation file sharing platform, but these templates do an incredible job tying together the data it gathers from the projects into a robust reporting dashboard. Not only does it keep the project managers honest about their work, but also provides transparency to the stakeholders and allows resources to log their own status and provide milestones.

The range of BrightWork templates enable organizations to start fast with an amount of project management appropriate to the level of project management maturity and project complexity that exists in the organization.

The project reporting built into BrightWork gives senior executives and program managers the visibility and control they need to deliver project success across the organization and ensure happy customers.

The easy customizability of the templates enables organizations to easily evolve organizational project management to their desired level of maturity. Project and portfolio report as complex or as simple as you want to be.

The approach of BrightWork is really in the approach of start simple, and evolve as you gain experience and maturity in the process.

BrightWork Templates Spectrum: Project based Site Templates requirements of time and complexity

Portfolio Management Templates – The BrightWork templates for portfolio management give senior executives high-level visibility into the status and health of multiple projects across the organization, resource allocation and new project requests.

Project Management Templates – Site templates for SharePoint allow project managers to deliver successful projects with simple and collaborative project management templates with streamlined reporting.

Advanced Reporting Dashboards – Project and Portfolio templates provide powerful project and portfolio management reporting dashboards so you have the visibility to keep projects on track. They take the guesswork out of putting together powerful dashboards.

Smart Project Management – In the templates are several enhanced features for Smart Project Management, all designed to make project and portfolio management on SharePoint as easy as possible.

Template Management – You can customize BrightWork templates, just like a SharePoint site and can pull that changes into sites created from that template.

What are their customers saying?

“Deploying BrightWork has exceeded expectations from a consistency and accountability perspective; both the number of project requests and active projects have more than doubled since deployment and we have eliminated approximately 40% of work that was historically being done off to the side.”

– PMO Managers at Ascend Performance Materials

“BrightWork provided us with an economical, scalable solution for managing our project portfolio. We now have better standards for collecting project data and an intuitive tool that makes the work visible and accessible.”

– Senior PMO Director at GroupHealth

“Using the BrightWork templates, we now have a much better understanding of all projects underway, as well as a system to review and manage new project requests. We have greater visibility into what is on track and what is falling behind.”

– Head of SharePoint Team at Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics

The list of customers go on, but AmSurg used the BrightWork Collaborative Project Management Framework to standardize their processes with the SharePoint templates.

The key things many customers are doing is looking to standardize project management with templates, leveraging SharePoint to manage processes, organization wide portfolio management, establishing a framework for reporting.


Very happy with what I found from BrightWork. Incredibly helpful team with a simple way to get started. I recommend a project manager struggling on a team read the Collaborative Project Management Handbook. It’s helpful not only for project managers, but also team members that are trying to collaborate. I found it helpful for having a common vernacular to collaborate with the team. The book is free and the tips are perfect for a team that hasn’t adopted a structured project management methodology or framework. Even an agile team needs a tool to share their status, reporting, and project based portfolio rollups. Personally I think there’s a lot of reasons to look at these templates and read the about the framework. Who couldn’t use better collaboration? Who couldn’t use better reporting and transparency. I highly recommend you check out the links for getting started.

Getting Started with Collaborative Project Management Framework

Looking for more? There are a few resources that will help you get started.

First Release: First look at MDM Mobile Device Management in Office 365

Office 365 Mobile Device Management is now available for early adopters and those tenants who have elected to opt into the First Release Program. I can’t tell you when you’ll get these features or if they are already released if you’re not already in the First release program. I’m not telling you to move up your tenant, but if you want to tell if you are or if you want to change, here you go:

How do I join First Release or get in Office 365 preview?

First Release program simply go to Admin > Service Settings > Update then switch it to “On”

This is not a beta program, just an early preview of new features. Note First Release in Office 365 primarily relates to SharePoint Online and Exchange Online.

There are other programs to get access to early bits such as the client or on premises servers:

Office 2016 Preview – For office 2016 client

Office Preview Programs – program span across the full family of Microsoft Office client, server and cloud services

Getting Started with Office 365 Mobile Device Management

You can tell if you have MDM features by going to the Office 365 Admin and selecting Mobile Devices in the left hand navigation. Click Get Started to kick it off.

Admin > Mobile Devices > Mobile Device Management

Looks like a simple wizard to get started, but in my experience this is something you need to do before you get started.

Check back in a few hours!?? After 15 minutes I checked and my hello kitty Office 365 Admin screen looked like this.

There are some recommendations from Microsoft on what to do next. You’ve completed Step 1 which didn’t do anything yet other than give you the ability to Manage them. Seems to me like EVERYONE should do that first step.

Step 2. Click “Manage Settings” on Mobile Device Management for Office 365


Detailed Steps for these are here: Manage Mobile Devices in Office 365

Required Steps: Next you can configure domains for MDM, then you can setup the Apple Push Notifications Certificate to manage the iPhone and iPads to connect. (Second isn’t required unless you’re using iOS devices)

Recommended Steps: Then consider Multifactor Auth options and security policies.



Secure and manage the mobile devices that connect to my organization?

Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets play a big part in helping people get their work done. Mobile Device Management for Office 365 helps make sure that your organization’s information is protected on these devices. Learn more 

How to set up Mobile Device Management for Office 365
How to create policies to secure device access 


Blacklist or Whitelist Users and Devices for Exchange based on Security Groups


Ok. Here’s the Richness of Options:

Mobile Device Security Policy

Then there are these additional options

The default settings are really pretty good. If you simply agree you’ll get this… Seriously if this is your first time, I suggest you not go past this, and at first only do this for a specific security group so you can tell you setup the APNs properly. There’s a lot of good reasons to roll this out slowly. Imagine how upset you’d be if you couldn’t get your email. These kinds of rollouts really should be connected with announcements to affected users AHEAD of TIME.

Why I Moved to San Diego and Joined Hershey Technologies

Making career and job decisions is hard. Most people involve God in decisions like this. It’s a big deal. After I left one of the best jobs at Microsoft, I really wanted to make a difference in the community. I feel like I’ve been able to do that, but the adventure was far from over.  You rarely know the full story.  Some day I should put together a behind the scenes book together that talks you through why I zigged instead of zagged.

In 2011, I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah to work for the LDS Church to run their Collaboration Environment. I had a fantastic time. I built an amazing team and met some incredibly talented people who could move mountains, mission accomplished and we really did. I hope you meet or get an opportunity to work with some of those people in this small community. In 2013, the church had 20,000 new volunteers they needed to accommodate (they changed the age of the missionaries from 19 to 18 for men and 21 to 19 for women) and the budgets needed to shift.) I was happy to have been part of an incredible amount of change at the church in the collaboration space. It was an incredible opportunity and one that was destiny. Some day you’ll have to ask me about my Jonah and the Whale experience when I was in Joffa and realized I needed to go work for the church.

SharePoint Team at the LDS Church

Not pictured. Our awesome interns.

My Contract with ViewDo Labs

After that I had the opportunity to work at a couple of startups. ViewDo Labs was a fun startup. Great people, exciting opportunites, and lots to learn. ViewDo was a contract position, that I evaluated and renewed up to 6 months until they went into sustainer mode and then took another step back… and I quote from the VDL blog, “Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that we announce that starting February 1st, ViewDo Labs will no longer support ViewPoint Enterprise.  Unfortunately, the cost of running an analytics product is high and with dwindling usage, it is no longer in our best interest to sustain ViewPoint Enterprise.”

Startups Sometimes Don’t Work Out

Many know I spent some time with on Presales, Business Development, Marketing, and Management. Since the other places I spent some time are still in business let me not name names and share what happened. I was in a great position to join startups and lend them my abilities, but not all businesses succeed at first and not all opportunities are a good fit.  These past couple of years have been trying as Microsoft has shifted it’s marketing muscle to the cloud.

  • Was told “After this next check we won’t make payroll.” No one was getting a paycheck. That changed to… Only those billing will get paid for what they billed. I stuck around for a few weeks and worked on some deals, but ultimately found something more reliable. Still friends with those that are still there and wish them the best.
  • Was told one thing going in, and the environment changed including losing my boss and restructure of the entire department. The person who hired me was no longer around to explain why I was hired and provide direction. The needs changed and we decided mutually that it was better if I look elsewhere. No burned bridges. I don’t believe in that. We live in a small community, so it’s important to keep good relationships with everyone. Still only wish these guys the best.

Why Move to California?

When I had the opportunity to move to California I took advantage of it. I was born in the bay area and my wife is from Southern California. I hadn’t lived in California since I was 5, but many summers we visit Southern or Northern California. While I grew up in Idaho and am extremely fond of the mountains, I have always wanted to live by the beach. That’s really been a big dream. I learned surfing up in Washington, but I need more practice.

A couple of summers ago, I did a southern California User Group Tour starting in San Diego to Orange County and Los Angeles. It was here I first met some of the Hershey Technologies people. I first met the SharePoint MVP Haaron Gonzales while speaking in Mexico City. I met Tom Castiglia when I joined the User Group committee and hung out while working on the Speaker Dinner for the SharePoint Saturday San Diego. I had some crazy ideas about fire dancers and hula dancers on the beach in San Diego. With his help we were able to pull it off. It pays to think big.

Everyone loves puppies this is pinky and stumpy our Chihuahua Dachshund mix – Chiweenies

I’m very excited about my new house and cute puppies. Just closed about a week ago. Oceanside, CA a San Diego suburb is my new home. I’m in a good place. Feeling Zen. My kids are in good schools and making good friends. Life is good.

Hershey Technologies

When I started looking for work based off some startup challenges at a previous place of employment that I don’t want to get into. I reached out to the User Group committee and asked for suggestions. It was there that I kicked up conversations with Tom. I was surprised to find out that Hershey Technologies has been working in the ECM space many years before SharePoint was even a concept. I went on the wayback machine and saw their site from 1997 (crazy!). They were supporting scanning, printing, faxing and data capture into ECM with Kofax and essentially doing software and hardware support since 1991! In all of the companies I’ve worked for I’ve never had someone celebrate a 20 year reunion, but that is not uncommon here at Hershey. (Honestly, I did join a Jeff Raikes going away bash, and he had put in 27 years at MS… 20 years more than mine. We had some great chats since he was leaving Microsoft at the same time I was.) Seems like half the team has worked here for 10+ years! What I found was while they are a small company, they aren’t exactly a startup. What I see is a family. Tom heads up the SharePoint and Office365 practice and Neal drives sales and the Kofax business with Arjay. Tom and Neal have been running the business very consistently for more than 20 years with serious reliability. Their clients love them. I felt something here that I really liked. They are all putting in serious effort and enjoying what they do. They take on hard challenges and work together. They supported my focus on community and in helping customers succeed. They’ve supported my ideas of around focus on adoption, governance, and in adding real business value.

Over the last couple of years I have encouraged people in IT to pivot their skills to ensure they aren’t left with skills that are out of date. Just like those who stick to the command line… STSADM really has become obsolete… you better learn scripting and powershell or you’re going to have a hard time administering SharePoint in an automated way. I’ve had a passion for community, social marketing, content marketing and marketing. The opportunity to own marketing for Hershey Technlogies has been an exciting proposition. Not only can I help provide direction around the Hershey XenDocs products, but I can step in and line up webinars, events, SEO, website content marketing. In fact I just launched the website Ultimately I’m helping connect solutions with people who need help. I don’t really have to do any selling when I match the best solutions to the people who need it. There are customers who need help and I try to be there when they need me. I say, awareness is the biggest problem in the vendor space. If I can do more to help provide awareness around the tools we provide around legacy ECM migration to SharePoint, and data capture to SharePoint with Kofax and XenDocs. I can strengthen both my marketing skills and hone in on strategies that can help in any industry.

You can read more about Hershey Technologies.

FAQ – I’ve gotten some interesting questions while out at events. Here are a few questions and simple answers


Has your travel requirements caused problems with your employment?

No. Travel has never been a reason that’s made me leave. I do feel like I was travelling too much while I was at Dell Software (was known as Quest). They told me I was traveling more than I needed to, and it was true. I was giving myself more travel than I needed to. But in any of the startups travel was not an issue. I do love travel and I work out an agreement before I start work to set proper expectations around international events for both parties.

Why don’t you just go independent?

While I see huge satisfaction in building a business, I also see the commitment it requires and the sacrifices. I need more stability at home than what my own startup would require. I would be more willing to do it, but my wife isn’t as excited about the sacrifices it requires. So for both our sanity, I’m ok with making someone else profitable. I’ve done independent work, and I really don’t like the taxes, the lead time, dealing with collecting payments, accounting, and all that jazz. I have less headaches and stress while working for the man or the woman J

Why all these startups? Couldn’t you just go work for Google or Microsoft?

I did enjoy my 7 years at Microsoft and would consider working for Microsoft again. I’ve been approached by Google and Amazon, but I’m now enjoying my new life in San Diego. Going to work at HQ for a company in Silicon Valley while exciting isn’t in the plan for the near future. The commitment I’ve made to Hershey is solid. Hoping that things work out for them and me. I got a call from Microsoft a couple days after I joined. Sorry, too late.

Are your travel plans associated with the Church? Seems like you visit a lot of LDS temples.

I love seeing and visiting the LDS Temples doting the globe. There are 146 operating temples 13 under construction and 14 announced. I’ve visited over 65 different temples and it brings me peace where ever I am in the world when I see one. I’ve got others in the community taking photos of temples as well.

My daily commute takes me right near my favorite temple, the San Diego Temple, where I was married 20 years ago this August.

Are you going to be traveling less?

I still get opportunities to speak. I weigh those with work commitments. I have worked out an arrangement with work, where they support some of my international speaking, events and community building. So I will still be doing a fair bit of travel compared to most. Compared to what I have done, it should be similar. I am still on a quest to visit every country in the world, but it’s getting a lot harder and so it requires more planning and more visas.

What about independent work like product reviews and webinars with other vendors?

While I have reduced a lot of that, I still enjoy doing panels like the Enterprise Social panel I did last week with IT Unity and last month with Cosign and will be presenting at #SPBiz15 in a couple of days. I have written up some simple intros for Content Panda and Office365Mon in the last month. I am in touch with a few vendors that want to do joint webinars and product reviews. I’m always looking for community sponsored travel funds so I can reach farther places. I don’t ask Hershey to pay for my international conferences.

What events are you doing? Where can I see you?

I did SharePoint Saturday Silicon Valley a week or so ago, and plan to support another one in San Diego and Orange County with the right folks involved. My current plans will find me at the Iceland User group (Aug 1 – TBD), Modern Worksplace Summit in Oslo Norway, Slovenian SharePoint Conference, European SharePoint Conference in Sweden and 8th
Latin American Simposium in Santiago, Chile (we’re looking for sponsors).

I’m already looking at Algeria, China, Persia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Brunei in 2016. If you’re associated with those SharePoint communities we need to start talking… I do have some contacts in those areas, but please reach out. Africa is always a target, I always find lots of things I can do to improve communities and support the people there. My email is joel.oleson @

SharePoint 2013 Mobile App Device Support Matrix

In preparing for my Mobile Enterprise Strategy Session in London, I put together two different mobile app support matrices.  People want to see what works on what platform.  None of this I’m calling Official.  This is my experience and from my own testing.  There may be bugs and you need to should also verify this yourself if you have any questions.  If you disagree with anything please add in the comments so I can either update or you can make others aware.

If you want the full slides you can download them here: SharePoint 2013 Mobile Enterprise Strategy. Despite the fact that it says only says SharePoint on some of these images.  This applies to SharePoint 2013 On Premises, Office Online, OneDrive, and Office 365.  I’m sure MS would like to know what you use that is missing from apps they are targeting for your device.

Enjoy!  Feel free to download this infographic “SharePoint 2013 Mobile App Platform Supportability Matrix”  or share it on your own blog!

SharePoint 2013 Mobile App Support Matrix

I love seeing all these boxes.  Reminds me of a conversation with Noah Sparks in 2013.  We asked… Will Microsoft ever check all the boxes?  They checked all those… so I had to add more!


Here’s the extended Office 365 and SharePoint mobile platform and OS support matrix.


SharePoint Mobile Extended Support Matrix

Download this image as a file: SharePoint 2013 Mobile OS and App Platform supportability Matrix

Microsoft doesn’t officially support Linux, and I’ve never seen anything officially called out about Kindles, but I do know there is an Ubuntu community that uses Office Online and OneDrive.


Download: Office 365 Mobile OS Platform Support Matrix

Office 365 Mobile OS Platform Support Matrix

SharePoint Community Launch in Morocco in Casablanca and SharePoint Days

I really enjoyed helping launch the newest community in the SharePoint World.  The community in Casablanca was born this week.  We had a great first User Group meeting followed by SharePoint Days Casablanca a 2 day conference attended by over 100 people not including the speakers which came in from across the world… Canada, US, Belgium, France, and more.  We had about 20 speakers on what is primed to become an annual French speaking conference in Casablanca.


With some of the new SharePoint community in Casablanca


Speaker lunch on the last day at the event outside.  To the right front is Hassan.  He was the one who helped kick off the ideas of a User Group in Casablanca and helped organize the event.  As well, big kudos to Serge Trembley for helping organize the speakers and inviting me to come.


Nicolas Georgeault and Serge were the speakers at the first SharePoint User Group in Morocco hosted by Microsoft at the Offices in Casablanca.

I made a lot of new friends and learned a few new words in French.  For those that attended my sessions… here are the links.


SharePoint Days Casablanca

Day 1: Planning Your Enterprise Search Strategy

Day 2: Power User Search Tips for SharePoint and Office 365


Search Tips and Tricks infographic …  I’m working with Serge on a new French version of SharePoint Search Tips and Tricks and hope to have it in the next couple of weeks.

Who is SharePoint

Who’s Who in the SharePoint and Office 365 World at Microsoft HQ

There’s been some serious shuffling that has gone on since we were last looking at the who’s who of the SharePoint world at Microsoft.  Over the years many have gotten familiar with Jeff Teper as our one neck to choke in the SharePoint world.  Jeff Teper moved on back in June of this past year with little fanfare in the SharePoint community.  In fact I was reading Mary Jo Foley’s article about the structure at MS since the move and it wasn’t even tweeted or shared on facebook.  So it’s possible that this is not widely known.  When I was at the Office 365 event in San Diego a few weeks ago, I was talking with Bill Baer and Sonya about some of the restructuring and I was blown away with the changes.  It shows a united world with serious focus on Office 365 and on OneDrive.

I didn’t get a chance to salute to Jeff, so I wanted to start with his send off and while Satya Nadella isn’t directly involved in SharePoint/OneDrive, you must know who he is and plan to hear him speak at Ignite.  Surprises me that there are still some folks out there who don’t yet recognize his name, so this is another chance.

This list is mostly to help you understand who is out there fighting for you.  Go up and thank them sometime.  If you’re going to Ignite or SPTechcon or other major SharePoint or Office 365 summits, say hi.

Microsoft reorgs its Office business to focus on four new investment areas

(Note: This isn’t designed to be everyone.  There are tons of people and entire groups I’m missing, this is just a handful of the visible ones.) 


SharePoint and Office 365 People you should know:


Jeff Teper – previously the Corporate VP of SharePoint since 1999 (headed up the original PKM team and launched Tahoe the V1… SharePoint Portal Server 2001!).  We sometimes called him the Father or Grandfather of SharePoint.  Some may say the godfather, but that role is taken, wink, wink.  Jeff Teper is now head of corporate strategy to work in areas such as acquisitions and development reporting directly to the CFO of MS. (Photo from LinkedIn)

– Led SharePoint from inception to the leader in portals, collaboration, and content management with $2B+ in annual revenues, 150M+ users, and an ecosystem of 700K+ developers
– Managed 1000+ person, globally distributed engineering team
– Led successful $1B+ acquisitions of FAST, the leader in enterprise search, and Yammer, the leader in enterprise social networking
– Led Corporate Strategy team supporting new Microsoft CEO and CFO on cloud and mobile-first strategies and acquisitions



Satya Nadella – Microsoft CEO, Hired by Jeff Teper! “Teper said he was the one who hired Nadella to work at Microsoft. Nadella had been working at Sun Microsystems Inc., and Teper’s team was looking for someone to help persuade developers to move from Sun’s server operating system to Windows NT, he said.”  He will be at Ignite and keynoting the event.  Satya Nadella leads Microsoft’s transformation to a productivity and platform company in the cloud-first, mobile-first world. Prior to becoming CEO, he held leadership roles in both enterprise and consumer businesses across the company. (Photo MS Ignite)



Chris Jones, Corporate Vice President, OneDrive and SharePoint, Microsoft

Chris Jones joined Microsoft in 1991 and currently leads the engineering team for OneDrive, SharePoint Online, and SharePoint Servers. Prior to his current role, he led the engineering for, OneDrive, Microsoft account, and Messenger; and he served for several years as Vice President in both program management and engineering in the Windows Division.


Dave Campbell – Chief Technology Officer, Cloud & Enterprise, Microsoft

Dave Campbell helps formulate, implement and communicate Microsoft’s cloud strategy. Over the last five years he has focused on the Azure platform and Microsoft’s Big Data strategy

(Photo from LinkedIn)


Julia White – General Manager : Microsoft Office Division, Technical Marketing. Responsibilities include Office 365, Office, Exchange, SharePoint, Developer and IT Pro audience marketing.

(Photo from Facebook Ignite ad)

(Photo from LinkedIn)


Jared Spataro – General Manager, Microsoft Office



Arpan Shah – Office 365 Technical Product Management group at Microsoft

Sonya Koptyev

Sonya Koptyev – Senior Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft (Apps for Office cloud app model)


Jeremy Thake – Senior Product Marketing Manager in the Office 365 (focused on Developers)

(Photo from his twitter profile)


Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson – Group Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft

(Linkedin photo)

Michal Gideoni

Michal Gideoni – Director, Product Management at Microsoft

(Photo from LinkedIn)


Bill Baer – Senior Technical Product Manager at Microsoft Corporation

(SP24 profile photo)

Olaf Hubel

Olaf Hubble – Senior Technical Product Marketing Office 365 at Microsoft

(LinkedIn photo)

Mark Kashman

Mark Kashman – Senior Product Manager at Microsoft

(Photo via LinkedIn)


Bonus: For those who remember Tom… He’s not far!


Tom Rizzo – Director of Skype and Skype for Business (formerly known as Lync)

Azerbaijan SharePoint Community

SharePoint Community Baku Azerbaijan

In my travel quest and quest to build communities around the world and reach out the underserved emerging markets and help connect communities with our global community I visited Baku Azerbaijan.  Where is that you might ask?



Well, it’s on the Caspian sea… Sounds like Narnia a little bit.  Well, It is a magical place with a history of fire worshipers, early man sites, mud volcanoes, and fire that dances on the buildings at night.  You’ll have to read my Azerbaijan travel blog to hear more about the Fire temple and ancient petroglyphs we visited.  This magical place has a lot of Oil, and is very strategic in between Asia and Europe.  They are host of the very first European 2015 games.  This event will put Baku on the map and their place in the world will rocket.  I already see a bit of Qatar and Dubai in their skyline, but unlike those other places, there’s a lot more history and sites to see that have a fascinating past.

Flame Towers

Picture: View of Fire Towers from Old Town.  See more photos on my trip to Azerbaijan on my traveling epic blog on the “Top destinations in Azerbaijan

We worked with Microsoft to put together a 1 day event in Baku.  Special thanks to Aydin Aliyev a local Microsoft MVP and Gachay Mirzayev from Microsoft.

At this first SharePoint Saturday in Baku Azerbaijan, I talked about Enterprise Search Strategy (click to view or download the slides).

Microsoft Azerbaijan


Gobustan petroglyphs

The community is truly rich around the world. Aydin, our local friend took us to the Fire Temple, petroglyphs and night view of the flame towers, nice local cuisine and more.