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I hate to ask yet another question about learning SharePoint but I've been clicking around for what feels like forever and am not satisfied. It seems to me that all sharepoint training falls into 4 categories:

  1. IT - 27 ways to install, configure, backup, and secure SP
  2. Developer - How to buy SP so that you can write your own software and tell people that it is SP
  3. Microsoft - How to plan the planning committee to plan the SP deployment planning strategy
  4. Marketing - How to use the meta-social-tagging-myportal-social-cms feature new in SP 2010!!!

While I have no doubt that these things are all wonderful, they don't reach me where I am. I have SharePoint Server 2010 setup and running - maybe not optimally configured or 100% secure, but functional. I also have a handful of users who are demanding services, like managing shared resources within their department.

I do not doubt the value of planning but if I cannot get a solution deployed within the next week, by myself - no committee unless you want to come help - SP is going in the trash. We're not going to invest in training, planning, or consulting until the product has proven its usefulness somewhere. People need to kick the tires and see it solve a real problem - their problem, not Contoso's or AdventureWork's.

What I am looking for is a problem-based training approach that shows me how to provide simple solutions for common problems - like resource management (for a small office, not a multi-national conglomerate) using the provided out-of-the-box components. The ToC might start:

  1. Your First Site
  2. Creating a new page for your site
  3. Introduction to the built-in webparts
  4. Displaying data from a list on your page
  5. Graphing your data
  6. Using a calendar for resource sharing ...

I've seen the links from

and while I'm going to bookmark them for later use (if there is a later) I would really appreciate something that will help me get a useful page up within a few hours.

Thanks. I know that if any group can find the off-the-beaten path material, it is this one!

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2 Answers 2

The problem with SharePoint is that it is such a huge product with such depth that it is not easily summed up in a single book. A quick search on Amazon will show you that there are entire collections of books on each individual aspect of SharePoint!

To put it another way, your first foray into SharePoint is a lot like being a weekend mechanic who is then given the complete tool set from a local Master Mechanic. Somewhere in there is the exact right tool for the job you need to do, but you are simply overwhelmed by the choices as there appear to be 10 different tools for the same basic task!

In the end, you need to grab what works for you and get started. It might not be "right" but you are only working on what amounts to a Proof-of-Concept so your focus should be "good enough", at least for now.

Perhaps this might help you narrow things down: If this is a Content Management site (a la Intranet publishing), focus your studies on understanding Content Types, Master Pages, page layouts and the publishing model. If this is a collaboration site, focus on site creation, security and list view web parts. If this application requires custom code, you will need to understand SharePoint solutions and features and their associated deployment.

No matter what, odds are good you will need to become good friends with both the Content Editor Web Part and the Content Query Web Part. You might also need to look into branding, but not until after the app is doing what you need.

To use my earlier analogy, this should give you a hammer, screwdriver and a set of sockets to get started with.

And the folks here don't bite (too often) so don't be afraid to post specific questions here if you get stuck.

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+1 there's so much that SharePoint can do, when getting off the ground, you need to pick 1 case study, build it out, show case it and bring more people on board with that momentum. Slowly and surely not fast and haphazardly. –  PirateEric Dec 2 '11 at 18:52
    
I hear what you're saying and I'm sure you're right. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time for vaporware. Once people are on board, they'll invest and become more patient, but that first step has to be quick and useful. I would assume that this is a common "small shop" problem. –  bob Dec 2 '11 at 22:12

I agree with you that there is definately a training gap out there for this type of information. Most of it on the net is scattered in bits and pieces and you have to sift through a lot to make it cohesive. To compound that, everyone's needs are different which is why you don't see a lot of this spelled out in great detail as what works for one doesn't always work or meet the requirements of another.

2 great resources are The Shepherd's Guide by Robert Bouge and Essential Sharepoint 2010. For hands on stuff there are some other resources like SharePoint Videos and companies like i3 Solutions.

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Thanks. The Sheppard's Guide looks like a great book but it is 2007. Would it transfer to 2010?Essentials, subtitled, Overview, Governance, and Planning doesn't look like it is what I need - although I am judging a book by it's cover. –  bob Dec 2 '11 at 18:35
    
A lot of the principles would carry forward, there is a 2010 version of the book too, my mistake. amazon.com/gp/product/0982419805/…. Updating the post to reflect it. –  PirateEric Dec 2 '11 at 18:50

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