SharePoint pre course checklist

My name is Steven Knight, I train end user and site owner SharePoint courses from Bundaberg to Perth.

Ideally I’d like to have access to your SharePoint training environment before a course to do these checks, but that’s not always possible for very sound reasons like network security and available time.

I am routinely finding the SharePoint environment I am training on is not functioning properly. This is a problem because:

  • We need to Give trainees a smooth experience of SharePoint to get their experience started the right way (by We I mean Training Providers, client IT departments, and me)
  • SP in the training environment may not have the same resources and attention given to it as a production environment, this can lead to issues in courses. A Production environment can be spread over a range of servers, specialising in different functions, A Training Environment may be running on one server in a virtual machine.
  • Problems in the training environment reduces the amount of content we can actually cover and the effectiveness of the training
  • SharePoint relies on a range of Microsoft technologies, stable in normal production use, but when restarting a virtual machine with insufficient resources, some services may fail to start.

Who’s this for

  • IT support or Set up person at training provider
  • Set up person at client where running on site course
  • Who has good broad IT skills but is perhaps new to SharePoint or is not the SharePoint server guru
  • And if you are the Trainer and you have prior access to site

This presentation is not going to show you how to fix every problem. My aim is to take you through a series of checks that will alert you to problems in the SharePoint environment you are planning to use for a course

I’ll mainly be using a mixture of SharePoint 2010 and 2013 during this presentation but the checks are broadly the same.

If you’d like a copy of this script to refer to you as you do the checks, I will turn it into a blog post at my blog at train-a-scope.com or you’ll be able to get to it via StevenKnightTraining.com.au (don’t forget the dot au and that its Steven with a v

If I have missed anything please let me know, via YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, I am not hard to find and welcome your feedback

Basic Requirements for a SharePoint Site Owner End User Course for SharePoint

    • Modern Version of IE (IE8 is not a modern web browser)
    • another modern browser
    • Desktop Office 2010/2013
    • Outlook, with user accounts configured
    • Silverlight player for SharePoint 2010
    • Team site with
      • trainees in members group
      • trainer in site owner group

Other Basic requirements

      • Data projector and cables
      • PC for Trainer and each trainee

Technical Checks

I won’t claim to be a server guru, so these points will be general

      • If the SharePoint training environment is running on a Virtual machine, check that enough resources are allocated to the VM (not 2 GB, think 10 or 12 GB and upwards)
      • I find a “wired” classroom will give better response times.  Wireless can work, and work well, but I’ll leave you to think about how to check the load. Remember on a course the activity is often concentrated in short periods of high activity.
      • Response times are big factor in a smooth running course.

Testing from the End User side trainee perspective

I’ll be using a prepopulated site to illustrate the checks

      • Ideally logged in using the trainer account
      • Check version of IE
      • Trusted site

Email related

SharePoint generates a lot of email, which we need to be sure is finding its way from SharePoint via Exchange to Outlook on the desktop.

Alert icons

We need to check that we can set an alert on a list or library

Problem One –  The Alert icon is missing.  You will find articles on configuring SharePoint to show it where the SMTP server is. Once you’ve set that you should see the alert icon

      1. Click the Alert icon
      2. Note the email address it is sending to
      3. Accept the defaults
      4. This process generates a receipt email
      5. You need to make sure this email is received. This is a critical test to establish SharePoint and Exchange are cooperating.

Issue tracking

      1. Create issue tracking list
      2. In Settings, Advanced Settings, Set send email when assigned to Yes
      3. Not seeing this option in the settings at all – that’s bad, and you’ll need to fix it! – Off to Google for you!
      4. To test create an issue and assign to yourself.
      5. Within 5 minutes you should receive and email advising you that you have received a task

When we get in the interacting with office tests we will do another email check for Workflows.

Workflows and Email

      • Create and test basic workflow
      • Upload documents (works, performance)

Interacting with office

New Document

      • Using an existing document library
      • Create a new document
      • Add some text using either =lorem(3,3) or =rand(3,3)
      • Save back into SharePoint (experience varies a little between Office 2010 and 2013) but you should be able to save directly back into the same SharePoint library you started from. If it defaults to “My Documents” or elsewhere you have a problem

Upload documents

      • Upload a dozen or so documents
      • Observe response times
      • And that it actually works!

Edit in client

Next few checks are about making sure we get

      • the right dialog boxes when closing a checked out document,
      • infobars in the right places
      • Document information panel where metadata is required

Open in desktop client

In the library being used for testing , Library settings, Advanced Settings, Open in Client Application

Check In

In a library, Library Settings, Versioning settings, enable checkout, versioning with major and minor versions

      • Open a document (read only)
      • Use the document InfoBar to check out  (if it doesn’t show this is another problem – off to Google!)
      • Make a token change (eg change font)
      • Save and close
      • Checkout/versioning dialog should appear (if it doesn’t this is another problem – off to Google!)
      • Complete the dialog and close the document
      • If the document still appears as checked out, refresh the browser (this is normal)

Metadata

Using the test library we will add some simple metadata to test the functioning of

      1. The document information panel
      2. Quick Edit or Datasheet view

To add some simple meta data for testing:

      • Library settings, Columns, Add columns,
      • Create a column as Department, choice, as add four departments as a choice – this can be a required column
      • Ensure add to default view is selected
      • After completing return to library
      • Edit a document

The document information panel (see video) should appear –  (if it doesn’t this is another problem – off to Google!)

      • Choose a department and save
      • The added metadata should appear in the view
      • From the library tab, choose quick Edit or Datasheet
      • Use the quick edit view to quickly populate the library with metadata
      • Click stop or return to Standard view (library tab)

If the quick edit view does not show

      • In SP2013 check the view doesn’t use shading
      • (if it doesn’t this is another problem – off to Google!)

Workflow

Problem 1 – Approval and related workflows not found – check feature has been activated

Problem 2 Workflow emails not received

      • Create and test an approval workflow as shown in the video
      • Then check that workflow emails are delivered
      • In the email which advises you that you have been assigned a task, click the link to the document

Testing here to check that

      • The link works and the document opens
      • The info bar appears and offers open this task as a button
      • Add a comment and approve the document

If the email didn’t come through – return to the library – look for the document – in the last column should be an in progress link

Click on this link, and scroll down – SharePoint will record error messages here advising that emails could not be sent –  (this is another problem – off to Google and your site admin!)

Search functionality

If site is newly created – doing this test the day after you uploaded the documents earlier.

The search is SharePoint is a key feature in winning over end users to move from shared drives to SharePoint, this must work!!

Search for a term that you know is in a document (in the content)

(for SharePoint 2010 do an additional search for a term in the content of a PDF to detect if PDF content is being indexed – its an optional feature in 2010 – standard in 2013 – note PDF must be converted from a document – not a scan for this to work)

Lists

Calendar – add a recurring event to a calendar – weekly event, should appear in calendar as distinct entries on per week – not a continuous event from the start date to the finish date  (if it does appear as a long “bar” this is another problem – off to Google!)

      • On the Calendar tab click Connect to Outlook
      • Click yes and OK on the resulting dialog
      • The calendar should appear as a shared calendar

Pages and Web Parts

      • create a new page
      • checking the key web parts or app parts are available
      • Particularly checking for the Content Editor web part (you’ll need this to add text to a page)

 Site Features

Depending on course, you may wish to check for

    • SharePoint workflows
    • Document ID
    • Content Organiser