The Right SharePoint Environment (for testing and learning)

Category: SharePoint

As of a part of SharePoint Business Analyst series (which is a part of my book, The SharePoint Business Analyst Guide), I wanted to review many of the different types of requirement documents I use on my projects. Each project will require a different set of documents depending on the complexity, people involved, budget, stakeholders, etc.

In real estate, it’s “location, location, location”. In SharePoint, for myself, it’s all about the environment as your first step. If you don’t know your environment, you will create mass frustration for yourself, lose valuable time, risk projects failing, make commitments you cannot keep along with many other things.

Can you answer the following questions about your SharePoint environment?

  • What version are you on?
  • Are you fully on-premises, in the cloud or a hybrid mix? If hybrid or on-premises, how or is there a mix?
  • Are certain features turned on or off?
  • For on-premises, do you have the standard or enterprise edition and complimentary servers?
  • Has there been restrictions placed on what you are allowed to do by a governance team (i.e., no full-trust code, no client-side scripting, no add-ins, no site collection admin access, not allowed to certain web parts, etc.)
  • How is your search configured?
  • Do you have user profiles or Delve or the Office Graph?
  • Are you allowed to use Azure?

When I give my talk on this topic to a room full of people, almost everyone in the room has a different SharePoint environment when you take into consideration the version number, if first-release is turned on, if other Office 365 products are on, if the Microsoft Graph is on, etc. If you don’t know what you’re working with, how can you create a solution with it?

After you clearly understand what your current environment is, you will want your own development testing environment set up the same way. Many places may not have this offer you or won’t give you access to what you need.

These days, getting your own SharePoint environment of almost any type is just a few dollars and a few clicks away with an Office 365 dev account, an Azure server farm or your own test lab on your own computer using trial or free software.

Don’t let someone else’s “no” stop you from obtaining “success”.

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