The Adjacent Possibilities of SharePoint 2010

By Marc Solomon posted 11-30-2010 23:58


In a recent issue of Wired Magazine Kevin Kelly and Steven Johnson ruminate on Where Ideas Come From with a knowing glance towards the arc of innovation -- especially factors pushing on the cultural shifts needed to catch up to ideas ahead of their time -- trajectories triggering  the sequential momentum necessary to accelerate the acceptance of change for the better. Kelly writes that...

"innovating is about more than just having the idea yourself; you also have to bring everyone else to where your idea is. And that becomes really difficult if you’re too many steps ahead."

Johnson responds with an idea coined by Stuart Kauffman called “adjacent possible” and the premise is this:

"At any given moment in evolution—of life, of natural systems, or of cultural systems—there’s a space of possibility that surrounds any current configuration of things. Change happens when you take that configuration and arrange it in a new way. But there are limits to how much you can change in a single move."

Right before Thanksgiving John Mancini and the editors at AIIM published a prescient and practical early holiday gift for their readers called "Eight Things You Wanted to Know About SharePoint - But Were Afraid to Ask." Unlike the pay-for-play ad supplements you'd expect from the collateral in the expo wing of the gold partner pavilion you get straight talk about what to expect without the numbing portfolio schemas, white board doodles, or bulletized talking points you'd expect to see in the vendor gallery.

This AIIM SharePoint 2010 primer is exciting because so much of the discussion is not just a rundown on feature sets but a series of single moves that get us from the discussion stages to the production of an interconnected leap forward. The practitioners contributing to this work are not basing their first impressions on the cautionary optimism that says "if it quacks like an upgrade then expect to walk with the gratitude that we're out of the crawling stages." What I'm hearing from a skeptical if vested SharePoint public is that we should be booking flight plans. And that's based on our ECM plans taking off with the same confident lift as the marketing spin.

Some other noteworthy findings:

* nGage is a sleeper suggestion posted by Risetime's Joe Cromer for sprucing up static and stilted My Sites with contribution and collaboration-based metrics. Cromer is also a proponent of Community Kit 2.0 available on Codeplex for dimensionalizing SharePoint blogs and wikis.

* Seth Earley and Jeff Carr of Earley & Associates encourage early 2010 adopters (who may well be late to the taxonomy table) to get started by importing their Excel-bound term-sets directly into the Term Store Management Tool.

* Greg Clark of C3 Associates creates a maturity model scoring system for calibrating post deployment expectations ranging from a narrow use case of an existing feature to minor shortcomings and all the way up to slam dunks. The biggest quantum leapfrogs in Clark's estimation are persistent linking (each content object generates its own unique ID) and the co-habitation of folksonomies and controlled vocabularies as part of Managed Metadata Services ("MMS").

* Boyd Collins of SAIC echoes the praises of MMS and document IDs and draws attention to the long overdue interdependency of findability and accurate tagging -- a critical input finally rewarded through the emergence of a Content Organizer that takes the guess work out of where to deposit one's uploads. Both Collins and Clark also applaud the emergence of an auditing function for surfacing the transactional details of content usage.

My personal favorite takes a reality serial page from the social skills of the .NET developer grunt, a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler and de facto project lead who exists in the void between the distracted business owners and the IT Group's lack of interest in governance or governing. Our anonymous open source implores us to silo the communications between high level teams because "if managers don't communicate about what their teams are doing then everyone feels less threatened and can carry on their jobs with a lot more "Cheers" at the end of their emails."

The best way to preserve this hands-off strain of harmonizing is to appoint the managerially-challenged Vlad to lead these discussions. The result? "Those with the least overall sense of company dynamics have the most influence." John Cleese couldn't have scoped it any better.

#metadata #Document #Management #content #auditing #managed #ID #SharePoint #change #organizer #services #innovation