Drama! SharePoint-Style

There is a lot happening within the SharePoint space to generate a healthy amount of debate: the lack of a public integration roadmap for social features, the need for clarity around InfoPath, the desire to see design view back in SharePoint Designer, the roadmap for the IT Pro within the ongoing SharePoint storyline, the need for more vocal support from Microsoft for the on prem model. But some of the dialog than happens out in the SharePoint community, in my view, tends to get out of control very quickly.

I’m no Microsoft apologist – I’ve been very vocal about the (lack of) quality and quantity in communications from the product team, but sometimes I feel that people forget that the product team is made up of people (and far fewer than you think) who are working within a rapidly changing environment, and with a heavy load of priorities, feature requests, and public-facing events that they need to juggle. Each of them has strengths, and some are better at things like community outreach and documentation than others. The same is true for every product team inside Microsoft, or any other OEM, for that matter.

I’m all for healthy dialog, but all I’m saying is — before you launch into a rant, check your volume level.

I don’t need to point to any particular histrionic Yammer thread to fill you in on what I’m talking about. Bing it, people. And when this topic fades, some other real or perceived controversy will take its place – and my point here will remain the same.

I’ve long prided myself on writing, for the most part, with the same tone and passion as I share in real-life conversations. Back in my Microsoft days, a couple of my teams did those mind-mapping personality tests (82Yellow/78Red/40Green/20Blue, if you’re wondering) in which my subconscious personality was almost exactly the same as my conscious personality – which means (as I interpret it) that I say what’s on my mind, and I mean what I say. For many folks, however, there’s a difference between the online persona and what you get in real life. Online bravado is rampant in the SharePoint space, and often people say things without thought to the consequences.

Once again, I’m not trying to be an apologist here and defend Microsoft and the SharePoint team. I think that there have been mistakes made in strategy, messaging, and feature prioritization – but knowing many members of the team, and with some insight into how teams operate within Microsoft, I recognize that each person and team has its strengths, and for all the things we complain about within the community, those individuals are working very hard to deliver the best products and services they can. I’ve printed some strong opinions on very specific topics, but always with the individuals in mind who it might affect.

I also believe that it’s a bit insincere to identify a problem without providing some suggestions for a solution. That model may not fit every circumstance, but just a general thought.

You know…I’m done with this topic. Merry Christmas.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (https://rencore.com/), leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.

3 Responses

  1. The world would be much less entertaining without our Kramers.

  2. Bjørn says:

    So, you’re pacing yourself because you’re afraid of whom it might offend.
    I’m not like that, as you know. When something needs to be said, I say it, whether in real-life or online. I cannot take responsibility for how someone receives a message nor what they do as a reaction. I don’t want to have friends among whom I need to tread lightly out of fear of hurting their feelings.
    If people get offended, fine, it is their doing. I do not hold, nor have I ever held, the power to cause anyone to react in any way. People do that themselves by stapling emotions to certain words or phrases and hanging on to those emotions even when it hurts them.

  3. Sympmarc says:

    Whatever could you be talking about?