One of the questions I got asked frequently at the Worldwide Partner Conference is “How do I/how does my IT team get ramped up on SharePoint technology?”
I’ve outlined 10 steps that you and/or your team can take to ramp up. This is relevent whether you are new to SharePoint technology, an existing SharePoint customer or an existing CMS customer. Step #10 has a pointer to migration content for WSS v2/SPS 2003 and CMS 2002.
Pre-steps: If you’re a developer diving into SharePoint 2007 technology, you must know ASP.NET 2.0 and be familiar with Windows Workflow Foundation. There’s a lot of great content out on ASP.NET 2.0 including online training, lots of books, community websites and instructor-led training. If you’re an IT Professional, you must be familiar with Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2000/2005.
1. Keep in mind that Beta 2 is available today and you can get access to it by going to http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview. You can get a lot of great documentation and content as well as the bits there! the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server is part of 2007 Microsoft Office System and Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) v3 is part of Windows, but ships in the same timeframe as 2007 Microsoft Office System. We plan to release the software (both WSS and SharePoint Server) by end of 2006. So why is it called 2007? It’s a common practice to name the product for the fiscal year that it’s released. Microsoft’s fiscal year is July 1st-June 30th.
2. Get the SharePoint Beta 2 Technical Resource DVD. If you didn’t get it at TechEd or WPC, you should ping your Account Team for a copy of the DVD. It’s partner/customer ready and contains videos, whitepapers, ppts, tools, product documentation and most importantly, a single Virtual PC with SharePoint Server installed. It allows you to explore the features and functionality quickly! Keep in mind this is timebombed and beta software so you should not use this in production.
3. We have 2 online eLearning “clinics” for developers and IT Professionals for WSS v3 and SharePoint Server based on Beta 2. This means a total of 4 SharePoint clinics for developers and IT Professionals. An online eLearning clinic contains a few hours of content and provides a great technical overview. Best thing: it’s currently free. You can find pointers to all the clinics from https://www.microsoftelearning.com/catalog/itprodev.aspx#officeSystem2007.
4. Subscribe to the SharePoint team blog. Read past posts. Use Outlook 2007 to subscribe to the RSS feeds! SharePoint team blog is located at http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepoint. This blog has posts written by feature Program Managers on specific aspects of WSS v3 and Office SharePoint Server!
5. Instructor Led Training (ILT) – a lot of companies want ILT. CTECs are offering the WSS v3 and SharePoint Server IT Pro clinic as an ILT course. Find out if there’s a CTEC in your area that offers it. Talk to your account manager/technology specialist. The ILT clinics will cover more content than the online clinics of course. If your team is large enough, you may want to reserve an entire course.
6. Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) training. Yes. We will have it. We will also have developer and IT Pro exams. However, this will only be available at release. So, in the mean time, take a look at trainers who are delivering SharePoint VNext training now. An example of an excellent trainer is MindSharp.
7. Get connected with the SharePoint community! For pointers to popular blogs, newsgroups and sites, go to http://www.microsoft.com/sharepoint/community. The site also shows the SharePoint MVPS – SharePoint gurus who you should connect with in your region. Also, check to see if there’s a local user group that you can join. If there isn’t one, consider starting one yourself. Ping me if you’re interested in starting a SharePoint specific usergroup in your area. Take a look at the SharePoint Community Kit that Lawrence Liu has posted on CodePlex; here’s a posting on it: http://blogs.technet.com/lliu/archive/2006/06/27/439046.aspx.
8. Virtual hands-on labs, MSDN/TechNet web casts and a lot more! Check out the Channel9 SharePoint videos. This will be up shortly – in fact, web casts are happening already! We’ll have labs on SharePoint technology hosted on MSDN/TechNet. Keep an eye open for this!
9. Attend conferences! The SharePoint Conference and TechEd US are already done. You might be able to order the DVDs. In any case, there are a number of other conferences with strong SharePoint content. Events include other TechEd WW (Fitz and I will be at TechEd Aus/NZ; Joel Oleson will be at TechEd Asia; a bunch of us will be at TechEd EMEA), SharePoint Advisor and Connections conferences coming up this year.
10. Starting developing/deploying and migrating to B2 in a small test environment. We will have upgrade guidance from B2 -> release. By no means should you deploy B2 software to a broad set of folks, but start playing around with it. Ask questions in the newsgroups. Share components on http://www.codeplex.com/. Sites to book mark include the SharePoint Developer Portal: http://msdn.microsoft.com/office/server/moss/default.aspx and the migration center http://msdn.microsoft.com/office/server/moss/2007/migration/. The migration center includes tools and guidance for CMS 2002, WSS v3 and SPS 2003.