Tuesday, May 6, 2008

SharePoint architecture guidelines

This month's issue of the technet magazine features a great article by Pav Cherny covering the basics of the technical setup of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and how WSS, IIS and SQL all fit into the bigger picture.

One thing I'd like to add though is the use of Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express to enable cross site search features in WSS without forking out the money for a full MOSS installation. A great tool to add the power of enterprise level search to your WSS implementation
And what's even better... it's free!
I think that is worthy of a blog post in its own right. Watch this space. More info on SSE2008 coming soon!

Monday, May 5, 2008

NZ MCT: Mastering WSS 3.0 is here

NZ MCT: Mastering WSS 3.0 is here
Just came across a fellow MCT blogger in New Zealand.
Check out some of his articles on SharePoint!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Six Steps to Becoming MODL Certified

Recently I was asked if there was a step by step guide on becoming MODL authorised and I realised that I had not made one. So let me make up for it now.

Step 1: read, read, read
First of all you should really know what you are getting into. Microsoft has some information on MODL at their distance learning page http://www.microsoft.com/learning/modl/default.mspx
There you will find out about what courses are being offered in DL format, what the process is about and loads of marketing blurb about it.

MS partnered up with toolwire to deliver the labs which are now referred to as scenarios, as they are even more than just a lab. Toolwire has revamped their info on MODL and have an absolutely great site on anything you wanted to know about getting started with MODL.

Step 2: register at MCT Town Hall
llift is an online learning platform provided by Groxwork and they also host some live recordings referred to as MCT Radio. More importantly, they host two complete MODL recordings from MOdule 1-1 to 5-2 which you can review at your own time.

Step 3: prepare, practice, present
Preparation is key to success. Hosting a MODL session is like hosting a two hour presentation with demos infront of a packed room of people you can hardly see. And, although you could give it a second shot if you blundered your first teachback, trust me, you really don't want to go there. It is hard enough getting all the attendees together first time round.

How to prepare?
a) review all the recordings on town hall http://mct.llift.com/
b) follow my guide I wrote in Feb on prepping for MODL and getting up and running with Live Meeting 2007 http://mctalex.blogspot.com/2008/02/modl-demo-scripts.html
c) do at least two trial test teaches with a live audience to get a feel for it.

Step 4:organise your MODL teachback
Once you're confident you can deliver a module in two hours without messing up completely, schedule your teachback. This again you will do at town hall http://mct.llift.com/. At least two up to a max of eight people need to attend the event. I suggest going for three to five attendees. This can be tricky. as you will want to have good interaction which is not pre programmed. Thus the people attending should know the topic and material well without knowing the actual module too well. In other words fellow MCTs or people who have taken the course some time ago. Try getting three MCTs together at the same time! (Free beer normally works (especially in Australia)).
Once you have set a date, somebody from llift will get back to you to organise a technical setup session. Just to make sure you're equipped and ready to go. you will be testing Live Meeting, recording and audio. Make sure you record five to ten minutes including your voice, the technicians voice, any audio you are playing in the session (flash animations) and interactions on the screen. that twill give you a good idea on the lag between what you say and when it appears in the recording. Amend your delivery style accordingly!!

Step 5: deliver the teachback

This is it! the big day has come. Make sure you

  • have plenty of water at hand
  • have been to the loo recently
  • are in a quiet place
  • have the phone on silent or off completely
  • have the machine in presentation mode (vista only)
  • have all messenger, skype, icq apps closed down (non vista)
  • tested your microphone and speakers
  • have done any and all required spiritual rituals to apease the gods
  • prepared all your demo scripts and have them at hand
  • prepared all your instructor notes and have them at hand
  • started up the virtual machines which you will be using for demonstrations
  • included those apps in the live meeting session so you can easily switch between the presentaiton and the VPC
  • (duh) uploaded the persentation and flash files to the live meeting session (or asked the technician to do it for you) good tips for uploading LM 2005 slides to LM 2007 here: http://mctalex.blogspot.com/2008/02/how-to-upload-lm2005-presentation-to.html
  • keep a calm head, controlled voice and take your time when demonstrating or interacting (remember the lag)
  • never forget Murphy's Law.

Step 6: wait, wait, wait
It can take up to sixty days until someone at MSL is going to look at your teachback. And yes, they have other things to do as well. So expect them to take some time.