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SharePoint is like butter…

I love Paula Deen. There. I said it.

(I know that food snobs and cardiologists everywhere are recoiling in horror.)

I love Paula’s accent and the way it reminds me of my many aunts as I was growing up. I love her commitment to cooking with butter. I love the way she makes everything sound so yummy on her cooking show.

What, you may ask, does that have to do with hiring a SharePoint expert?

Well, bear with me and eventually we’ll get there…

Before she became a big Food Network star Paula got her start on a show called Doorknock Dinners. The premise was that the host (Gordon Elliot) would take a chef, show up unannounced at the door of a busy person, and offer to cook dinner using only items they had in the house.

I read a blog post recently about the rising demand for SharePoint experts (seeing that I just started at a company that specializes in SharePoint development, I was pretty excited about this news). This article made the case that good SharePoint solutions are based as much as possible on using existing SharePoint functionality. This mirrors my experience here at ThreeWill. I was taught early on that we always look to meet a customer’s need using SharePoint’s built-in capabilities, and we resort to custom code only when those facilities don’t meet the need at hand.

Based on the above I would say that being a SharePoint expert is similar to Paula Deen’s experience on Doorknock Dinners in this respect: as much as possible you want to cook with the ingredients that are already there.

As a developer of nearly 30 years and as someone that’s spent the last decade building ASP .NET web applications, I have to confess that whenever a business problem arises my first impulse is to open Visual Studio and start writing some code. As I began to learn more about SharePoint 2010, I was excited to learn about the tight Visual Studio 2010 integration, including the ability to press F5 and instantly get build, deploy, and debug capabilities. However, as familiar and comfortable as that coding model is for me, the reality is that should be a last (or at least later) resort. Good SharePoint solutions take full advantage of the lists, libraries, workflows, and other capabilities that are already baked into SharePoint before resorting to custom code. Doing so will result in some big paybacks, including:

  • Shorter delivery time
  • Easier application support story for an IT staff that’s already supporting SharePoint
  • Better upgrade path to future releases of SharePoint

You’ve probably heard the medical school maxim “first, do no harm.” A SharePoint expert might consider adopting the maxim “first, write no code (until it is absolutely necessary)”.

If you’re looking to hire a SharePoint expert – be it an individual, or a firm such as ThreeWill – look for someone that is willing to go as far as possible with what SharePoint offers out of the box (…and don’t forget to tune in to Paula’s Home Cooking on the Food Network to see all those yummy recipes).

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