Drama! SharePoint-Style

There is a lot happening within the SharePoint space to generate a healthy amount of debate: the lack of a public integration roadmap for social features, the need for clarity around InfoPath, the desire to see design view back in SharePoint Designer, the roadmap for the IT Pro within the ongoing SharePoint storyline, the need for more vocal support from Microsoft for the on prem model. But some of the dialog than happens out in the SharePoint community, in my view, tends to get out of control very quickly.

I’m no Microsoft apologist – I’ve been very vocal about the (lack of) quality and quantity in communications from the product team, but sometimes I feel that people forget that the product team is made up of people (and far fewer than you think) who are working within a rapidly changing environment, and with a heavy load of priorities, feature requests, and public-facing events that they need to juggle. Each of them has strengths, and some are better at things like community outreach and documentation than others. The same is true for every product team inside Microsoft, or any other OEM, for that matter.

I’m all for healthy dialog, but all I’m saying is — before you launch into a rant, check your volume level.

I don’t need to point to any particular histrionic Yammer thread to fill you in on what I’m talking about. Bing it, people. And when this topic fades, some other real or perceived controversy will take its place – and my point here will remain the same.

I’ve long prided myself on writing, for the most part, with the same tone and passion as I share in real-life conversations. Back in my Microsoft days, a couple of my teams did those mind-mapping personality tests (82Yellow/78Red/40Green/20Blue, if you’re wondering) in which my subconscious personality was almost exactly the same as my conscious personality – which means (as I interpret it) that I say what’s on my mind, and I mean what I say. For many folks, however, there’s a difference between the online persona and what you get in real life. Online bravado is rampant in the SharePoint space, and often people say things without thought to the consequences.

Once again, I’m not trying to be an apologist here and defend Microsoft and the SharePoint team. I think that there have been mistakes made in strategy, messaging, and feature prioritization – but knowing many members of the team, and with some insight into how teams operate within Microsoft, I recognize that each person and team has its strengths, and for all the things we complain about within the community, those individuals are working very hard to deliver the best products and services they can. I’ve printed some strong opinions on very specific topics, but always with the individuals in mind who it might affect.

I also believe that it’s a bit insincere to identify a problem without providing some suggestions for a solution. That model may not fit every circumstance, but just a general thought.

You know…I’m done with this topic. Merry Christmas.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and CMO of revealit.io, a blockchain-based video technology company.