Monthly Archives: March 2012

My SharePoint Manifesto

I often refer people to this article, calling it the SharePoint Manifesto. The author did such a great job capturing the pet peeves of many a SharePoint administrator that I decided to tack on a few additions and summaries:

1. SharePoint document libraries are NOT file shares: Don’t replicate the folder structure of a shared drive. Instead, use metadata columns, grouping, and views to sort out your content. This will enable your site viewers to see what they want to see with fewer total clicks. For example, in a document library filled with industry research PDF documents, add a meta column for Category. Assign a category to each document, then group on the Category field.

2. Clean up your navigation, and simplify your site: Get rid of Web Parts that you’re not using, and remove unneeded links from the left navigation. This will lessen confusion and allow your visitors to focus on useful content.

3. Improve search by using document properties: While these properties are often ignored, adding in a document Title, Author, and other information can help improve your search results in SharePoint.

4. Use views to your advantage: Why not organize documents and list items in the most useful way by default? Also, you can set up additional specific views to save time sorting and filtering (e.g. a view that only shows documents modified in 2012).

5. Use sub-sites judiciously, not for every single sub-idea: Creating many sub-sites is a quick way to steer your site from neat and clean towards disaster and chaos as it can greatly complicate navigation and permission settings.

6. Versioning – turn it on: Unless disk space is a concern, I always turn on versioning for SharePoint document libraries. It’s helpful if you need to refer to an older version of a document. Versioning also helps track which changes were made by whom as well as the total number of revisions.

7. Don’t require check out, it’s useless in many situations: Requiring that a file be checked out before editing is usually unnecessary – if you try to edit a file that’s in use, you’ll receive a notice and be forced to open it Read Only. However, check out can be a useful visual indicator that someone is currently working on the file.

8. Don’t put everything in a document library, only collaborative documents: Once again, SharePoint document libraries are NOT file shares. Use them to share collaborative documents, not archived information, data dumps, and infrequently referenced documents.

9. Permissions – set them up properly: I’ve seen many SharePoint sites spiral out of control due to overgrown permission lists. Create a site owners’ group with administrative privileges on the site, and have that group own all other site groups (this is key to avoiding access issues down the road). Create a site members group with contribute permissions, and a visitors group with Read Only permissions. Add or remove these groups from site lists and libraries as needed, but try to preserve the permission inheritance as much as possible.