Rogue Users

By DANIEL ANTION posted 02-01-2012 09:42


Working in a small company makes it hard to blog about the things people do. You have to be careful when complementing people, so you don’t steer too much credit in any one direction, and you generally have to avoid complaining about people. The exception is when the person in question is also the author of the blog, and then the season is open. I made some serious errors a year ago, and I am here to complain about me. My mistake was going off-grid as it were, working with content outside of SharePoint and leaving my future self in a bind.

My offense has to do with the production of the presentation and handouts for our company’s Annual Meeting. Most of the material is the result of a collaborative effort, and the content generally stays in SharePoint. One particular exhibit has several complications. First, the exhibit itself is a series of four graphs and charts. Second, the data for these component graphics are not readily available; they have to be gleaned from several industry sources. Third, as of 2011 when I last produced these exhibits, Adobe Creative Suite could not work with documents in a SharePoint library that had version control and check-in/out enabled. Finally, the deadline for this particular project is spelled with a capital “DEAD” – it simply has to be done! OK, those are my excuses, so what was my crime and what were the consequences?

Since it was easier to produce the exhibits on my laptop, I placed a copy of all the documents and supporting files on my laptop. Further, as I gathered industry information, I stored that on my laptop too. As I created the component images (in Photoshop) that were inserted into the InDesign composite page, I kept those on my laptop as well. I did all of this with every intention of sorting it out and uploading to SharePoint, those files that the person performing the 2012 cycle would need. Every intention, but dismal follow through, in other words, I didn’t do it.

We never noticed the absence of these critical intermediate files, because during the year, we only ever use the final product. Last week however, when I had to run this same drill for 2012, those files were missing in action. We had the 2010 versions, but the exhibit changed in 2011. In addition to all the mistakes listed above, there was a complicating factor. Since my intentions were to put everything in SharePoint, I stored these files in a folder structure on my laptop that starts with “SPTemp”, you know, the stuff I was working on outside of SharePoint but that would go there eventually. Of course, when I received a new laptop in October, that folder wasn’t copied over because, well because I said “oh no, nothing in that folder is active, and I don’t use it anymore.” True enough, I now tend to use SharePoint Workspace, but… Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. I am still using my old laptop for testing, so the files were available. At this point, as I cycle through this drill, I am working with a coworker and we are sharing everything through SharePoint.

The moral of this story is that governance can easily break down when the person enforcing the rules is the person who goes rogue. The solution is one that I am still considering.  

#governance #ECM #sharepoint #SharePoint