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Cleaning Up Information Architecture in SharePoint and Other Jedi Mind Tricks


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Presentation given at the NYC SharePoint User Group on December 7th 2011 on the importance of information architecture and governance planning in a successful SharePoint deployment or migration.

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Cleaning Up Information Architecture in SharePoint and Other Jedi Mind Tricks

  1. 1. Cleaning Up Information Architecture in SharePoint and Other Jedi Mind Tricks Christian Buckley @buckleyPLANET NYC SPUG December 7th, 2011Email Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  2. 2. My Background Christian Buckley, Director of Product Evangelism at Axceler • Most recently at Microsoft • Microsoft Managed Services (now Office365-Dedicated) • Advertising Operations, ad platform API program • Prior to Microsoft, was a senior consultant, working in the software, supply chain, and grid technology spaces focusing on collaboration • Co-founded and sold a collaboration software company to Rational Software. Also co-authored 3 books on software configuration management and defect tracking for Rational and IBM • At another startup (E2open), helped design, build, and deploy a SharePoint-like collaboration platform (Collaboration Manager), managing deployment teams to onboard numerous high-tech manufacturing companies, including Hitachi, Matsushita, Seagate, Nortel, Sony, and Cisco • I live in a small town just east of Seattle, 4 kids. Co-authoring ‘Creating and Implementing Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Real-World Projects’ (MSPress)Email Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  3. 3. Axceler Overview Improving Collaboration for 17+ Years Mission: To enable enterprises to simplify, optimize, and secure their collaborative platforms Delivered award-winning administration and migration software since 1994 Over 2,000 global customers Dramatically improve the management of SharePoint Innovative products that improve security, scalability, reliability, “deployability” Making IT more effective and efficient and lower the total cost of ownership Focus on solving specific SharePoint problems (Administration & Migration) Coach enterprises on SharePoint best practices Give administrators the most innovative tools available Anticipate customers’ needs Deliver best of breed offerings Stay in lock step with SharePoint development and market trendsEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  4. 4. A long time ago, in a SharePoint farm far, far away….Email Email Cell Twitter Cell Twitter Blog @buckleyplanet 425.246.2823 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  5. 5. …a frustrated Admin realized it was time to get organizedEmail Email Cell Twitter Cell Twitter Blog @buckleyplanet 425.246.2823 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  6. 6. What is information architecture?Email Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  7. 7. December 8, 2011
  8. 8. Wikipedia Information architecture is a specialized skill set that interprets information and expresses distinctions between signs and systems of signs. More concretely, it involves the categorization of information into a coherent structure, preferably one that the intended audience can understand quickly, if not inherently, and then easily retrieve the information for which they are searching. The organization structure is usually hierarchical, but can have other structures, such as concentric or even chaoticEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  9. 9. Draft Outline of presentation Overview / introduction How to Successfully Move to 2010 Before / Now – clean up your 2007 environment Challenges with SharePoint Administration How Axceler ControlPoint can help During – right tools to reduce risks, errors and ensure successful move Challenges with SharePoint Migration / Upgrades How Davinci Migrator for SharePoint can help After – ongoing management and administration Customer success stories About AxcelerEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  10. 10. December 8, 2011
  11. 11. How does information architecture differ from governance?Email Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  12. 12. Information architecture is sort of like the young Jedi padawan: As you build it, you learn and grow and get stronger over time. Governance is more like the Force: its everywhere, some people ignore it or dont feel its influence, but those who know it and sense it can harness it to become stronger, more powerful.Email Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  13. 13. Information architecture discussion IS a governance discussion Its about setting your rules and policies and guidelines, and then enforcing them Some overtly, others behind the scenes You don’t need to get it all right the first time, but Set the foundation up front, which makes it far easier to build upon, refine later Establish best practices Train yourself and your team to follow the processEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  14. 14. December 8, 2011
  15. 15. Questions to ask What is on my system today? What am I trying to achieve? What are the business needs? What are my priorities? What are my restrictions? What is the process or methodology for moving these things forward? What is my organizational culture?Email Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  16. 16. Information architecture overviewEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  17. 17. Sub-site Site Sub-site Site Site Collection Web App Site Sub-site Site SiteFarm Collection Site Site Web App Collection Site Sub-site
  18. 18. Structured and Unstructured CENTRALIZED DECENTRALIZED Site architecture is centrally controlled Site architecture is ad-hoc Metadata is always applied to content Metadata may not be applied to content Site Columns and Content Types are created at Columns are created on lists site collection root Columns are combined in an ad-hoc basis on each Lists get “bundles” of columns list PROS PROS Improves consistency Requires no planning Reduces metadata duplication Requires little upfront effort Easy to update Works across site collections and portals Easy to support and train on Allows document-level DIP, Workflow, Information CONS Policies, and document templates Decreases consistency Increases metadata duplication CONS Hard to update Requires planning Hard to support and train on Requires upfront work Only allows list-level Workflow, Information Policies Hard to manage across site collections and and document templates portals Difficult to reverseEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  19. 19. Email Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  20. 20. Information architecture at a strategic-levelEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  21. 21. Strategic considerations Think about how the business will use the environment Think about it from the web app, the top level portal experience, and then build out your sites based on the business drivers of your teams/business units Enforce structure and policies through site content types, which may require certain metadata to be applied for any new uploads Add site columns consistently across all sites, such as an external connection to a customer list, or use MMS You can also design and use workflows Define information management policies, apply retention policiesEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  22. 22. Know what is out there How many farms do we have? How many web applications? How many site collections? Who manages all of them? How do people navigate those sites, and find their content? December 8, 2011Email Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  23. 23. Part of your information architecture is understanding your permissions structure Do you use SharePoint groups? Do you use Active Directory groups? Why duplicate groups that already exist in AD?Email Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  24. 24. Understand the scope of what you are building, as many solutions are limited to the site collection Permission inheritance and all the child sites within them Out of the box navigation control and other web parts Content type retention policies, site columns, and list templates Know where you are going to use these things, which may dictate how you organize your environment Think about how you are going to provision your sites and manage this process ongoing, which may also dictate how you design your environmentEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  25. 25. Many companies reorganize frequently, so think about a design that allows for change Build out views and templates based on functions/roles rather than current organizational structure Think about the end user experience How will each functional role use and maintain the system?Email Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  26. 26. Understand your company culture, what they are ready forEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  27. 27. Cultural considerations 1. Business Focus / Productivity 2. Security 3. Lack of Visibility / Transparency 4. Support IssuesEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  28. 28. Cultural benefits 1. Innovation 2. Flexibility (let teams work on their own terms) 3. Organic growth (supports both structured and unstructured growth) 4. Process and content efficiencies (learn from various implementations, making the system better/stronger)Email Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  29. 29. Information architecture at a tactical-levelEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  30. 30. Where should you focus? Map out the existing environment • Update the look and feel Understand the business priorities • Create an audit process for ongoing maintenance Model your planned environment • Develop a back up and disaster recovery plan Run a detailed discovery of what should be migrated • Update systems to latest builds and service packs Conduct detailed capacity planning • Establish a sound governance model Identify roles and responsibilities • Identifies throttles and limitations Understand your audience and topology • Understand and plan for new functionality Analyze usage and activity • Focus on functionality, then look and feel Know your storage needs • Develop a communication strategy Track and plan for each customization • Create a governance website Create a detailed migration schedule • Run PreUpgradeCheck a few dozen times Organize granular requirements by team • Have an anti-virus and maintenance plan Plan to migrate or index file shares • Plan for migration from other ECM platforms Replace third party tools with out-of-the-box functionality • Consolidate or reduce the number of SharePoint versions Create or refine your metadata and taxonomy supported Map content to new information architecture • Understand performance metrics for the system Cleanup permissions • Know your stakeholders Optimize information architecture for search • Assign metadata to the new information architecture Stage your platform for migration • Develop a detailed test plan Coordinate with your operations team • Get signoff on all major design and architectural decisions Roll out new features • Decide where and when to use end users Plan for where and when to involve the users • Establish strong change management policies Develop and track key performance indicators • Expand the footprint to mobile or the cloud Train your end users on new functionality • Understand and focus on the organizational visionEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  31. 31. Developing your tactical plan Identify existing sites and sub-sites Plan for new site collections and sites Plan out site navigation Define your site templates Plan out content deployment strategies Design the end-user collaboration experience Plan for team, business unit variations Plan for content approval and scheduling Plan for unique geographical needs (language, performance) Identify roles and responsibilities, and figure out permissions needs Plan for customizations and line of business app integrations Plan your social strategy Plan your communication and training strategyEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  32. 32. Metadata and taxonomy In Biology, taxonomy is the science dealing with the description, identification, naming, and classification of organisms. “however, the term is now applied in a wider, more general sense and now may refer to a classification of things, as well as to the principles underlying such a classification.” “Metadata provides context for data. Metadata is used to facilitate the understanding, characteristics, and management usage of data. The metadata required for effective data management varies with the type of data and context of use.” Wikipedia.orgEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  33. 33. Without a taxonomy strategy • Ad-hoc content migration leads to junk in portal • Legacy content gets migrated slowly, if at all • Inconsistent taxonomy across farms and site collections • People author locally - multiplies problems globally • Authors don’t apply metadata= “shotgun” approach to search OR Authors apply metadata without common classification = better search, but worse authoring experience • Portal lacks high fidelity search • User can’t find the right content • As a result, poor portal adoption and low user satisfactionEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  34. 34. Using managed metadata Scott Singleton, Managed Metadata in SharePoint 2010 Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  35. 35. Using content types It’s basically a definition of an artifact that can be stored in a SharePoint site. For example: A project document, including File type Date created Author Last modified It is part of a workflow, including Who needs to approve Date of approval It includes information management policies that Cannot be edited once approvedEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  36. 36. Content types may be applied for each site collection …or for certain sitesEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  37. 37. Consolidate content typesEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  38. 38. Clean up folder structuresEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  39. 39. Email Email Cell Twitter Cell Twitter Blog @buckleyplanet 425.246.2823 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  40. 40. Get organized: Understand what is out there Who owns the content? Does it need to be moved? Does it need to be indexed/searchable? Is the folder structure important? Do you need to maintain historic metadata?Email Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  41. 41. Refine your keywordsEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  42. 42. Standardize site structures and templates Site Templates Group Work Site Visio Process Repository Assets Web Database Charitable Contributions Web Database Contacts Web Database Issues Web Database Projects Web Database Business Intelligence Center Enterprise Search Center Basic Search Center FAST Search Center Enterprise WikiEmail Which SharePoint 2010 Site Template is Right for Me? Todd Baginski, Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  43. 43. Sub-sites templates Team Site Projects Web Database Blank Site Document Center Document Workspace Records Center Blog Business Intelligence Center Group Work Site My Site Host Visio Process Repository Personalization Site Basic Meeting Workspace Enterprise Search Center Blank Meeting Workspace Basic Search Center Decision Meeting Workspace FAST Search Center Social Meeting Workspace Enterprise Wiki Multipage Meeting Workspace Publishing Portal Assets Web Database Publishing Site Charitable Contributions Web Database Publishing Site With Workflow Contacts Web Database Issues Web DatabaseEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  44. 44. Consistent navigationEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  45. 45. Why are social tools important? They surface data, provide content They are another layer of the search experience They are increasingly the common way in which people communicate December 8, 2011Email Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  46. 46. If you don’t proactivelymanage how end usersuse social tools, they’ll findnew ways of getting“social” that you may notapprove of
  47. 47. What is the role of governance?Email Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  48. 48. Corporate IT Project SharePointEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  49. 49. Governance is not a checklist Governance is not something packaged, purchased, and installed over a weekendEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  50. 50. Governance is about taking action to help you organize, optimize, and manage your systems and resources.Email Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  51. 51. What does governance look like in SharePoint? Psst. Here’s a secret: It looks the same as every other enterprise system.Email Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  52. 52. Governance considerations Push responsibility to the site administrators (even though they may do strange things) Understand what can be delegated Clarify roles and responsibilities Farm Admins responsible for farms Site Collection Admins responsible for site collections And so forth Understand skill levels, and company climateEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  53. 53. Jumpstart your governance 1. Have a plan 2. Create an internal SharePoint user group 3. Clearly define roles and responsibilities 4. Outline your taxonomy, communicate it, and iterate 5. Create a governance site 6. Learn and evolveEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  54. 54. Involving End Users Where end users can be involved: • Creation of use cases • Creation of current-state documentation • Prioritization of requirements for future- state environment • They know their content – let them drive • File share migrations, or organization • Taxonomy development • Metadata assignment • Signoff on overall project planEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  55. 55. Lessons learned, at a high level 1. Understand your metadata and taxonomy model 2. Have a strategy for Managed Metadata 3. Involve your end users 4. Make governance a priority 5. Create a governance site 6. IterateEmail Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  56. 56. Jedi Philosophy There is no emotion; there is peace There is no ignorance; There is knowledge There is no passion; There is serenity There is no death; There is The ForceEmail Email Cell Twitter Cell Twitter Blog @buckleyplanet 425.246.2823 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  57. 57. Sith Business Philosophy Work-Life balance is a lie, there is only passion. Through passion, I get promotions. Through promotions, I gain power. Through power, I gain victory. Through victory, my chains are broken. The Force shall set me free.Email Email Cell Twitter Cell Twitter Blog @buckleyplanet 425.246.2823 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  58. 58. For more information Contact me at Christian Buckley,, 425-246-2823 On Twitter at @buckleyplanet Check out article How SharePoint 2010 Stacks Up to Your End-User Social Media Requirements On The Importance of Metadata, Craig Mullins Enabling Social Media through Metadata Managed Metadata in SharePoint 2010, Scott Singleton The Battle for Metadata in SharePoint 2010, Michal Pisarek 5 Steps of a Successful SharePoint Site Transformation Creating Passionate Users, Kathy Sierra Cell Twitter 425.246.2823 @buckleyplanet
  59. 59. December 8, 2011