SharePoint Skills Profile

Introduction

Many organisations roll-out SharePoint without considering the resources needed to own and manage SharePoint, especially the human resources. The initial focus is often placed on the technical side of the development and the initial go-live, ongoing management of the site is given little thought. One area that is often given the least resources to is training, which is more often than not a mistake. Without adequate training for all users concerned the SharePoint deployment will fail.

This document seeks to detail the five skilled separate concerns needed to manage and leverage SharePoint and the training required for each.

Although this article details these concerns separately this doesn’t mean that they cannot be performed by the same person. The only caveat to that is that the main SharePoint owner should never be in IT – this is explained in a separate document that is available titled Seven Pillars of SharePoint.

It should also be noted that the specifications of concern is not absolute, and as every organization is different so are the responsibilities allocated to a skill. These responsibilities should be tuned to suit the internal layout of your organization and the skills you have in-house. This document will guide you through identifying the skilled areas and should help you to choose the moat appropriate member of staff to fulfil each role.

Skills Required

Once SharePoint has been deployed in your organization there are several skills needed to maintain the system and to develop it in line with your corporate strategy. These skills are best viewed as separate concerns, and if possible best serviced by different people. Obviously this is not always the case, but by analysing the skills matrix as if it were separate people it is much easier to understand.

There are four main players in the world of SharePoint – SharePoint System Administrator, Super User, SharePoint Designer and Web Developer. These terms will be referred to continually throughout this document.

We have chosen to omit the fifth player from this diagram -the End User. End Users contribute to SharePoint but are not required for developing the system; we will discuss End Users at the end of this document.

Skill Area 1 – SharePoint System Administrator

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood skills in SharePoint is that of the System Administrator. Many people confuse the System Administrator with a concept referred to as a SharePoint Administrator (we refer to this role as the Super User). Instead of explaining the differences between the two roles I’ll explain the function of the SharePoint System Administrator in detail in this section and the Super User in detail further on in this document.

The SharePoint System Administrator is concerned primarily with the back-end functions of SharePoint focusing on how it integrates with other server applications.

Responsibilities

  • Selecting the correct version of SharePoint.
  • Specifying the most suitable set up for anticipated load.
  • Deploying SharePoint correctly.
  • Configuring email (incoming).
  • Configuring email (outgoing).
  • Ensuring Anti-virus is operable.
  • Configuring start-up security.
  • Configuring shared services.
  • Configuring search.
  • Backup.
  • Restore.
  • Disaster Recovery.
  • Other duties focusing on the Central Administration Page

Skills

Anybody carrying out this function should have a minimum of two years working as a system administrator on Windows Server, SQL, and Exchange. They should be fully conversant with Domain Name Systems (DNS) and Active Directory.

Training As a bolt-on to existing skills as listed above the System Administrator would benefit from a 5 day SharePoint Administrators course. Make sure this is a System Administrator course not a SharePoint Administrator course!

Work Load

It is anticipated that once the SharePoint system is in and robust the additional burden on the administrator will be an additional 1% of their existing workload.

Skill Area 2 – Super User

This individual has the most important function within SharePoint, they are responsible for configuring SharePoint to match 70% of the organizations bespoke needs. This is the role that is sometimes referred to as SharePoint Administrator, as they administer the SharePoint front-end environment. Once the System Administrator has installed SharePoint and confirmed that it has been robustly installed the Super User takes over.

This role is non-technical (meaning no knowledge of code, or computer systems is required) and we strongly recommended that this role is given to someone outside of IT. This is because the focus of this role should be on the I (information) and not on the T (technology). In our experience a member of the IT team will focus on the technology because this is what they know. This role is suited to a Business Analyst, as they have the skills to analyse problems and find solutions most suited to the current organizational strategy. The Super User uses the out-of-the-box SharePoint features available to meet the requirements of the business. They will focus on using the Site Actions button to deliver the needs of the business.

Responsibilities

  • Managing site collections.
  • Configuring security at site level.
  • Creating and owning sub-sites.
  • Creating lists, blogs, wiki’s etc.
  • Creating and configuring site features.
  • Mapping business issues to SharePoint functions.
  • All configurations under the site actions button.
  • Creating site level policies.

Skills

This individual must be a good communicator at all levels and have excellent presentation skills. They need to be able to understand the business and analyse business problems. The Super User must have a solid understanding of how SharePoint can be configured out-of-the -box. The Super User must have excellent business analyst skills and needs to be able to map business problems onto SharePoint functionality.

Training

This user will need 5 days Super User training course and a 3 day End User training course. This will give them a full understanding of the out-of-the-box capabilities of SharePoint.

Work Load

The Super User can expect to have 100% of their time dedicated to working with SharePoint sites. There time will be split between developing new uses of SharePoint and monitoring and maintain existing SharePoint sites.

Skill Area 3 – SharePoint Designer

A further 20% of the organizations bespoke needs can be customized by the SharePoint Designer. The customisations performed by this individual are changes that cannot be done through the SharePoint user interface i.e. the site actions button. Once the Super User has exhausted all possibilities through the site actions button the SharePoint Designer comes in.

The three main areas SharePoint designer is used for is branding, creating workflows and connecting to external data sources. This document will split the SharePoint Designer skill set into these three different work streams, to clarify the different skills needed for each. This does not mean that three different people have to commit to each area in fact one person could manage all three strands.

SharePoint Designer (Banding)

This person will be responsible for managing the look and feel of the SharePoint site, this will involve creating page layouts, making changes to the master pages, and responsibility for the aesthetics of the site. This person should have knowledge of accessibility standards when designing to ensure the design is as inclusive as possible as well as being pleasing to the eye.

Responsibilities

  • Creating page layouts.

  • Editing the master page.

  • Giving guidance on design best practice.

Skills

The person performing this function needs to have a thorough understanding of the web and preferably come from a web design background. Knowledge of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and HTML is very desirable. As mentioned above knowledge of accessibility standards is also desirable.

Training

This user will need a 5 day SharePoint Designer course, preferably aimed at web and graphic designers.

Work Load

The SharePoint Designer usually has a 100% time allocation at the beginning of a deployment and thereafter a reducing amount of commitment. The work load typically consists of smaller projects delegated to them by the strategy team.

SharePoint Designer (Workflow)

Workflow is an important part of any SharePoint deployment, SharePoint designer has extremely powerful capabilities for developing bespoke workflow. The person responsible for this will work with the Super User to examine business processes and translate them into SharePoint designer workflows.

Responsibilities

  • Examining user requirements.

  • Designing workflows and building them.

  • Testing and evaluating existing workflow.

Skills

This person needs to have a broad understanding of current business processes and analytical skills. Experience of previous work in business processing mapping is desirable.

Training

This person will need a 5 day SharePoint Designer course.

Workload

The SharePoint Designer usually has a 100% time allocation at the beginning of a deployment and thereafter a reducing amount of commitment. The work load typically consists of smaller projects delegated to them by the strategy team.

SharePoint Designer (Database Access)

Businesses will have information and data stored in multiple storage sites across multiple locations. One good point about SharePoint is that you can access information held in other locations through SharePoint. SharePoint designer can be used to create access to this information so it can be used again and again.

Responsibilities

Creating data access modules. Ensuring data protection laws are upheld.

Skills

The person in this role will need to have an understanding of data and a technology named ActiveX Data Objects (ADO). Previous experience of writing databases is an advantage. Knowledge of the Data Protection Act is also desirable.

Training

This person will need a 5 day SharePoint designer course.

Workload

The SharePoint Designer usually has a 100% time allocation at the beginning of a deployment and thereafter a reducing amount of commitment. The work load typically consists of smaller projects delegated to them by the strategy team.

Skill Area 4 – Web (.NET) Developer

The remaining 10% of an organization’s bespoke SharePoint needs can be achieved by calling on the services of a Web (.NET) Developer. This person should be a last resort when it comes to SharePoint development, SharePoint works best when the out-of-the-box features are leveraged fully.

This individual will be able to carry out deep customization and provides the ability to achieve very tight integration between SharePoint and legacy systems. Custom web parts and complicated workflow processes can be designed b a Web (.NET) Developer. A Web Developer would only be called when both the Super User and the SharePoint Designer have exhausted all other options.

Responsibilities

  • Developing solutions / features within best practice guidelines.
  • Working with and leveraging the object model.
  • Working with and leveraging SharePoint web services.
  • Creating web parts.
  • Creating user controls.
  • Implementing events.
  • Developing complex asynchronous workflows.
  • Deploying solutions and features with best practice.
  • Working with enhanced security.
  • Creating code in keeping with best practice.

Skills

The Web (.NET) Developer will need to have a minimum of 3 years.NET development experience. They must have experience of developing for the browser and have been working with ASP.NET 2 for at least 12 months.

Their core skills will need to be:

  • Understanding the SharePoint object model, and
  • Working with workflows

Training

This user will need a 5 day SharePoint Developer course.

Work Load

The Web Developers work load will be very dependent upon the needs of the business and specifically the level of integrating with legacy systems.

Once again, in the initially stages of deployment the Web Developer will be heavily utilized and after a period will have less demands made on their time. Web Developers will be called on an ad-hoc basis to complete project

Skill Area 5 – End User

Last but not least, the End User will also need some SharePoint skills. Although the skills required are minimal, End Users will still require training to build their confidence and acceptance of the site. When End Users are given proper training and told explicitly what is expected of them when using the site the more likely it is to be a success. The general rule for training End User with SharePoint is to focus on small skills based learning packages and make sure users are comfortable with them. It is always best to train in fewer areas well than cover lots of topics without users really understanding.

Responsibilities

  • Navigate through the site and find content.
  • Organise themselves with alerts and RSS feeds to keep updated.
  • File documents in the appropriate place.
  • File documents with the appropriate metadata for searching.

Skills

End Users do not need any specific skills and providing that they have had some exposure to the internet they will be capable of working with SharePoint.

The training provision is mainly to build confidence initially and acceptance of the site.

Training

End Users require a 1 day session as close to go-live as is possible. This session should focus on the tasks they are going to complete on a day to day basis.

Work Load

The End User can expect to interact with the SharePoint site 100% of the time on an ongoing basis. This of course will very much depend on the tasks required to be performed by the End User can the function of the site. End Users make up the majority of SharePoint users.

Source by Emma Catignani

About

I am a Web UI/UX Designer who specializes in user interface design, user experiences and programming languages like HTML, CSS, and Front-End Frameworks like Bootstrap. I enjoy working on and blogging about projects that involve a mix of web user interface (UI) design, user experience (UX) research, mobile design prototyping, eCommerce, content creation and internet marketing.