#SPC11 Session: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective SharePoint Developers

Session #SPC208 – Tuesday, October 3 @9:00 am – presented by John Rymer, Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst


Custom application development is crucial to ensure you get SharePoint’s full value.  SharePoint is a strategic investment, and if you are to realize full payback and get the most value, you will end up doing a fair amount of custom development.

Customers don’t see SharePoint as a primary development platform or don’t incorporate it into their implementation strategy.  Also many customers still only see SharePoint as an application, and not a platform.

The seven habits for successful SharePoint implementation are:

1.  Drive a full develop strategy for SharePoint.  Help customers understand what custom development means and the range of customization options.  Then build it into a strategy – what are we going to do, what are we NOT going to do, and what are we going to do in the future?  Custom app development is the riskiest SharePoint workload.

2.  Drive an information architecture.  SharePoint combines elements of two information architecture approaches.  When you have to go back and retrofit an information architecture into your deployment after the fact, it can be very painful.  An effective IA will pay knowledge management dividends.  Manual tagging is loathsome to users.  Recommend using some kind of auto-tagging strategy.

3.  Design solutions you can easily migrate.  Five rules for avoiding SharePoint migration pain in the future:

  1. Don’t mess with the standard UI model
  2. Don’t build deep new services that change the server model
  3. Don’t custom-integrate third-party products
  4. Stick to web standards
  5. Implement a modular physical database architecture

4.  Supplement with 3rd party products.  3rd party product augmentation is very common with many companies doing it (57% according to Global SharePoint Usage Online Survey – July 2011).  Some popular 3rd party products being used:  Nintex, Bamboo, AvePoint, NewsGator, Axceler, K2, Kwizcom, Quest, Metalogix, Yammer

5.  Create your SDLCs.  Like any other type of custom development, SharePoint requires a full software development life cycle.  Many people make the mistake thinking that SharePoint development isn’t “real” development like strict .Net development is.

Elements of a SharePoint life cycle for developers:

  • Requirements/Use Cases
  • Development conventions and elements
  • Development methods
  • Solution test and validation
  • Solution build and delivery
  • Ongoing management and updates

You also need an SDLC for user-generated applications:

  • Develop UI guidelines
  • Develop coding standards
  • Establish sandbox environment
  • Implement certification process
  • Monitor application usage

6.  Formalize your packaging-development strategy.  SharePoint in the cloud is the rarity.  Most companies deploy SharePoint on-premises in their data center (81% according to same survey referenced above in #4).  Of those that didn’t use the cloud, only 17% said it was never even a consideration.

Office 365 encourages SharePoint-in-the-cloud adoption.

  • Office and SharePoint features merged
  • SharePoint’s features exposed as point services
  • Subscriptions, not licenses
  • Reduces “technical complexity” concerns

7.  Get plugged in and stay engaged.  I’m not sure if I missed this but I don’t think he elaborated on this point.

This was a great session and I wholeheartedly agree on all the points made.  It’s nice to get some validation to what I otherwise believed but didn’t realize were actually “habits of highly effective SharePoint developers”.

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About Me

Wendy Neal

Wendy Neal

I am a .NET SharePoint Developer for DMI. I've worked with SharePoint since 2007. I love to share my passion for SharePoint and Office 365 by speaking at various industry and user group events, as well as writing articles for various publications and this blog.   Read More

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