‘SharePoint as a Help Desk’ On Tour–Manchester

I may have mentioned once or twice over the last couple of weeks I’d been invited to the Manchester SBSC group to deliver the presentation I gave at AMITPRO a few months ago.

So last Thursday I made the trip up to Manchester and as I’ve done every time I’ve presented to a user group I thought it’d critique myself again (in the interests of self improvement of course!)

But before that the rest of the event.

First I’d like to thank Simon Belt for organising the event and for very kindly hanging around for a couple of beers afterwards.

Next, thanks to the group members for their kind welcome and for not heckling. Smile

Finally the other speaker of the night, Gary Duffield of QA. Garry attended WPC this year and gave a great presentation which summarised the key points that came out of the event and where Microsoft and their partners are heading in the near future. The session was very much discussion based and it was great to see that interactivity and gave everyone some good ideas to think about.

Garry also has a blog you can check out.

So onto my presentation.

On the whole I was pretty happy. I’ve had some nice follow up comments which I always appreciate.

What did I think though?

Preparation

I mentioned in my previous review that I’d used OneNote to put together an outline to work against and I was pleased with how it helped me last time. Because of the way i put it together it made the presentation much easier to pick up and and repeat (it’s the first time I’ve ever done a talk twice!). That said the first time around I created the presentation and then delivered it shortly after I’d finished it so it meant I knew everything inside out. While I had gone back through my notes when preparing I didn’t quite know it in the same way as first time around. Luckily the notes helped so while I did forget to do a couple of things it was very easy to pick that up.

As a result I actually didn’t build-up the application as much as last time. I did do enough to get my point across though even if I did race through a lot of it. I don’t think there is a lot I can do about this other make sure I’ve got enough time as possible and know the steps as well as I can. Building a fully working SharePoint application and explaining everything along the way in a hour is an ambitious thing to do but worth racing through if it gets people thinking about how they could do it.

Speed

When I gave this presentation for AMITPRO I didn’t use a slide deck (it wasn’t actually intentional) this time since very few people in the room knew me I started with the slides to introduce myself. There weren’t many slides but because of how much content there is in the demo to get through it stole a bit of my time. I’ll bear it in mind next time if it’s a packed agenda and maybe go back to the PowerPoint free presentation Guy praised me for last time.

Demo

I know a good workman shouldn’t blame his tools but I’m going to anyway. My laptop is a couple of years old now. It’s got an Intel mobile chip (so no virtualisation extensions!) with 3GB of RAM. While it just about ran the two virtual machines I used it very obviously struggled at times and it slowed the presentation quite a bit which wasn’t helpful when I had so much to get through. When I purchased the laptop I never really expected to be using it for running virtual machines for demoing SharePoint to a user group. Times have moved on though and user group presentations aside, the ability to run virtual machines on the go has lots of other benefits. I’m not planning on rushing out and getting a new laptop but when my next hardware refresh comes around I’ll be able to factor it in.

 

Not too much to complain about on the whole!

It was also good to see how another user group runs. Other than AMITPRO the only other time I’d been to another group was when I visited the Bristol group for the SBS 2008 launch. That was a slightly different format because of the SBS launch so I’m counting this as my first time!

Thanks again for to everyone who attended the meeting. Would be great to hear any comments you have!

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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