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Use of Sharepoint Designer in production environment

  Asked By: Neil    Date: Jun 10    Category: Sharepoint    Views: 1323

I would toss out a few thoughts for the debate -

1) I agree that SPD is a powerful tool and has a place, and I don't blame
Microsoft (for this... <grin>). However...

2) I fall into the 'strictly limit its use' camp... SharePoint
does empower the masses. However, I think there are great arguments around
supportability, standardization and reuse that lead us to limit its use, just as
we limit Visual Studio... My fear is akin to issues we probably all deal with
re: Excel and Access - we end up having business critical systems built with
these tools, and then someone changes jobs (or, more likely, we IT folks push
out a new version of Office that introduces compatibility issues) and someone
has to figure out how to support that system...

3) Our users are smart and use SharePoint to improve their processes. No doubt
many of them could build cool things that would go the next step... However,
they might unintentionally work around the information architecture of what
we've done - say by using a customized team site that's tweaked for their needs
rather than using the Doc Center we've built for them... Could easily be a case
of sub-optimization, where the solution addresses their need but doesn't meet
the overall requirement. In the ideal world we'd all have the time to educate,
review, collaborate - but this isn't the ideal world, it's the real world.
(This is probably my strongest argument FOR using SPD in production, btw - I
don't want folks building solutions elsewhere and missing out on our
classifications, etc...)

4) I also agree with Daniel's assertion about training - and that becomes one of
the limits... The reality of (our) training budgets is that an SPD class might
not happen - but then we're the bad guys because we don't let them go ahead and
use the tool and just figure it out on their own? I don't think so...

5) What's wrong with making something easier for IT? I don't like the words --
"easier for it" makes it sound like IT is lazy... What we should say is "lower
cost IT". It's critical for us to keep our costs down. Simplify and
standardize as much as possible, and carefully evaluate business cases for
exceptions. I know that not all companies look at it this way, but I know a lot
do, too...

6) What about the end-user working on a project their supervisor/manager doesn't
want? Granted, this is 90% a management issue - but, in this situation we often
have an end-user wanting the tool and (basically) a manager not wanting it...
No matter which way we go with this, we're wrong... (The managers generally
win, btw!)

7) And, another budget-related thing - we have to be aware of squeezing the
balloon... Squeeze one side and it just stretches out the other - up until it
bursts... Priority-wise we want to #1 exploit SAP, #2 exploit our 2nd tier,
which includes apps like SharePoint, #3 only do custom if there's a clear
business case, #4 don't do the project. We don't do a lot of projects our users
'want' not because of the burden on IT, but rather because management has
already ruled (with the checkbook) that we shouldn't do them -- and enabling
them so that they can do the work isn't the right answer either. If there's not
a clear business case, it shouldn't be done -- whether by IT or end-users...

8) I'm encouraged/excited about some of the stuff coming with SP 2010, because
I'm hopeful that the better controls around SPD use will help us make the tool
more available for appropriate use while helping us limit the risks I'm
describing...

Just some thoughts to explain what 'the other side' might be thinking... I
think I could argue either side, frankly, but this is the side I live in...

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