I Didn’t Know You Could Do That With SharePoint

I Didn’t Know You Could Do That With SharePoint” is the name of a class I teach to our SharePoint power users at my company.  The goal of this class is to demonstrate some advanced solutions that they can implement on their team sites, without having to write any code.  We cover eight advanced topics in just an hour, so the “training” is very demo intensive.  It covers more of the what than the how.  The how will be addressed in future hands-on training sessions for each topic.

The following topics are what I cover in the initial training.  As I schedule and put on the advanced deep-dive training sessions, I will write an article about each and link to them.

  • Reusable content using the Content Editor Web Part – I explain how to place the same content on multiple pages using the Content Link property in the web part edit pane
  • Easy Tabs – I demonstrate how users can add a tabbed interface to any web part or wiki page using Easy Tabs (Easy Tabs is part of the SharePoint User Toolkit written by Christophe Humbert).
  • Adding CSS to your Site – I explain the different methods for adding CSS to your site and demonstrate a couple cool effects just by adding CSS.
  • Conditional formatting on lists – I show an example of how one team added row color highlighting based on a status value.
  • Utilizing lookup lists – I explain the differences between lookup columns and choice fields, and in what circumstances you may want to use each.
  • Query string filtering with the Content Query Web Part – I show how you can add a query string filter to dynamically filter data using the CQWP.
  • Content types – I present a very high-level overview of what content types are and how they may be useful.  This deep-dive session may end up being multiple sessions.
  • Parent/child list relationships – I show how you can create a child list and how to hook those lists together for a better user experience.

I know what you’re thinking.  First of all, you’re not supposed to call your SharePoint sites “SharePoint”.  And secondly, you’re not supposed to highlight SharePoint’s features to your users; rather you should find out what their pain points are and solve that pain.  They’ll be so ecstatic that they’ll tell someone else and pretty soon people will be knocking down your door because they want a solution to alleviate their pain.

About calling it SharePoint… Well for my company that cat has already been let out of the bag.  Someone got ahold of the fact that we now have SharePoint and it went viral.  We’re actually trying to correct people and tell them to refer to their team sites as “the HR team site” instead of “the HR SharePoint site”  for example.  I don’t think we want to completely hide the fact that their sites are built in SharePoint though, because we want our users to build their own solutions and if they don’t know what platform it’s on, how can they search the great SharePoint community for help?

As far as highlighting features, the topics I’ve chosen just happen to be solutions that we’ve implemented on either our Extranet, Intranet, or other team/collaboration sites.  All the solutions have indeed solved a particular business need and/or made users more productive.  Therefore I assert that I’m simply sharing the knowledge gained from implementing those solutions and hopefully it will start a spark that will lead to our power users dreaming up their own solutions.  Right now they can’t even imagine what’s possible because our SharePoint implementation is so new to them and they really don’t know what the out-of-the-box capabilities are.

It’s also a way to gauge the interest level for each topic so that I can prepare and prioritize the hands-on training sessions.  At the beginning of this class I pass around a half sheet of paper with a checklist of all the topics, and a priority ranking box (1=high; 3=low).  They simply check the topics they want to learn more about and assign a ranking.  I collect these at the end of class and will use them to prioritize and schedule the upcoming sessions.  I could give them a link to a SharePoint survey, however I want to get ALL responses back and this way I guarantee to get them as soon as class is over.

I’ve also created an internal Showcase site that I use to create the solutions that I will be giving demos and training on.  It’s still a work in progress but when complete all the links on the home page will click through to a detailed view of how to implement the solution along with screen shots, supporting files and links, etc.  I’m thinking of using document sets to accomplish this, because I haven’t used them that much and would love to learn, and later “showcase” it off on my site!

I’ll also likely be adding a second “I Didn’t Know…” class that demonstrates even more features of SharePoint, because there were other things I wanted to show but didn’t have time.  I can add those topics to my Showcase site as well, so I want to make it really easy to add topics and supporting information going forward.

I’ve made the slide deck available on SlideShare and I would love it if you could check it out and let me know what you think.  As mentioned earlier, the training is very demo intensive, but I’ve added screenshots to the slides for the benefit of those who don’t have a chance to attend the session live or for later reference.  So don’t let the number of slides scare you!  The majority of them are just screenshots.  If I get time I may even create this demo in webinar format, and if so I’ll post it here as well.

Are you giving any similar types of SharePoint training to your company or clients?  What additional topics are you covering?

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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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