Book Review - Seamless Teamwork: Using Microsoft SharePoint Technologies to Collaborate, Innovate, and Drive Business in New Ways by Michael Sampson
It was interesting how this book has shifted on my radar... Seamless Teamwork: Using Microsoft SharePoint Technologies to Collaborate, Innovate, and Drive Business in New Ways by Michael Sampson. Michael is a virtual colleague of mine in the collaboration space, and asked me if I would be interested in reviewing his book on SharePoint. I told him yes, although at the time I was not doing much of anything with Microsoft's collaboration offering. But by the time the book was published, my technical world had shifted towards a heavy emphasis on SharePoint. Therefore, the "courtesy review" became a "necessary read." And in terms of framing the use of a software package within the context of a real world scenario, few have done it this well.
The New Project; Managing the Project and Finding a Team; Setting Up SharePoint; Team, Meet SharePoint; Creating a Shared Vision; Understanding the Options; Analyzing the Options; Making a Decision; Concluding the Project; Winning in the Market; Index
Rather than write the normal "here's feature x, and here's how you use it" book, Michael presents the material within the context of a story about a project. Roger Lengel has been asked to take on "Project Delta" for the Fourth Coffee company. It's a project to expand the business internationally, and Roger will have a team of geographically dispersed individuals. Furthermore, he's been asked to use SharePoint to manage the project, a software package he's not familiar with. He knows this project is important and will have an impact on his future with the company, so he needs to take advantage of all the tools at his disposal to make the project a success. As he sets up each part of the team, he learns about a new feature of SharePoint that can help him manage the work. This starts at welcome pages for the project, to wikis for storing project information, to announcement lists, shared calendars, blogs, and numerous other things. By the time the story finishes, he (and you) has explored most all of the significant SharePoint functionality that is offered by default, and done so within the context of a real world application of that knowledge.
The first thing to know and understand about the book is that it's not targeted primarily at IT professionals. If you're looking for information on how to set up and administer a SharePoint environment, you won't find it here. The target is for business professionals who will be using SharePoint to get something done. All too often, that real-life application of technology is lacking, and business users will not plow through a 500 page book of detailed setup information. They need to be able to see a business scenario that they can identify with, and then see how the tool would help them. Michael does an excellent job of that. In addition, he also includes a lot of valuable information on how best to run projects with teams that can't meet face-to-face. He is well-known in the collaboration community for his expertise in virtual teams, and Seamless Teamwork covers that topic very well. In fact, you could almost recommend the book on that angle aside from SharePoint.
If you're ramping up a SharePoint environment in your organization and need material to help the business get a handle on why they need yet another piece of technology, Seamless Teamwork should be required reading. The business users will thank you because they'll "get it" when it comes to using SharePoint, and the IT area will thank you because they won't have to spend as much time "selling" the business benefits.