That’s a lots of weeks I didn’t post on the blog. I know, that’s not the first time, sorry guys.

As an update on my last months, tasks, there is a lot to say and share. I’ve been very busy, and it’s not finished yet ….


First thing I wanted to share with you guys, is the event I imagined, and led in France by mid-December 2009.

I had the idea of this event after I attended the first SharePoint 2010 Ignite IT Pro training ever delivered. This happened on August 2009, at Building 20 on Microsoft Campus. The most experienced and knowledgeable MSFT internal guys was here, either speaking or attending the first SharePoint 2010 Ignite delivery.

This event was called Ignite Alpha. The leaders in Microsoft in charge of this “readiness” are numerous, but the main ones leading the event are Michal Gideoni and James Petrosky. I thank them for inviting me at this “Who’s who” SharePoint internal event. We were 30 in the main room + 30 in a second room, connected via LiveMeeting.

Attending this event was great & strange in the same time:

  • Great: the best internals on SharePoint were there. We called them SMEs (for Subject Matter Experts). You may call them “internals” MSFT MVPs. They were all here. The one I worked with, the others I saw their posts internally or externally. Most of the White Papers’ writers were here. The CAT team was here also, etc. That was really great 5 days to get up to speed with SharePoint 2010. Among the speakers, most of them were SharePoint Program Managers. The one that designed the features of the product 2 years ago. They were here, in front of us, explaining how this and that feature are designed and working. When questions were out of their knowledge: no prob! A quick IM with Communicator and the one with the answer, working in the Building 16, which is few yards from the 20, popped up 5 minutes later and answered the question. AMAZING !
  • Strange: the reverse of this Alpha was that it was alpha…. It started by “Social computing features” in SharePoint 2010, digging in the new Databases design and asynchronous WCF calls between various components. Strange way to start an IT Pro training on SharePoint 2010, isn’t it? That’s corrected since, but was a hell of mind game to get with the logic here. Another aspect was to discover the Program Managers. They do a fantastic job (especially since I know few of them now), but what a hell! They don’t know how to teach or even speak in public. Some were the “real” clumsy and worst speakers engineers can be. That was scary sometimes …. Another aspect is the lack of “process vision”. They just think feature. They don’t think process. Kind of focusing on the “What”, instead of thinking “What for” and “How”…. They’ll come to that.

So, back from this great moment and learning event, I realized that: MCS France had invested time and money on me, I was recognized by Corp being a SME, and met my peers for the first time. That led to funny situations: 2 times during the training, guys came to me and asked: “Are you Emmanuel Bergerat? The guy that wrote the White Paper on SharePoint automation and scripted setup?” – You never know how it will turn - but I said “Yes!?”. They then hug me saying “Really nice to meet you: your White Paper helped me in a lot in project XYZ, and you know: It really works!”. I still don’t know what to think of that comment, regarding the others’ White Papers :-).


Question was: How to leverage smartly the knowledge I gained on SharePoint 2010?

Answer: go and talk to the SharePoint Product Manager in France, Karim Manar, and connect with your own management to see how we can support SharePoint 2010 readiness & launch.

After few talks, that was it: We agreed to create a “SharePoint 2010 Ignite France”

This event was planned to support awareness of the partners regarding SharePoint 2010.

Building the content & planning, we decided few main things with Karim and others supporting people in Microsoft France:

  • We’ll make the attendees practice SharePoint 2010
  • I wanted this event to be the “corner stone” for the attendees:
    • Get the big picture and directions of SharePoint 2010
    • Understand the investments, their purpose and their related features
    • Be equipped to then dig in the specific features & topics, depending on the customers’ expectations or presales needs
  • I wanted the attendees to practice with the product. So we had to wait for the Beta to be publicly available
  • That was also meaning setting up environments for the Hands On Labs (i.e. 1 machine per attendee). So we needed an important logistics (50/60 machines with Hyper-V R2 – 8 GB of RAM – network connectivity – etc.)
  • Get highly trained and ready speakers
  • Prevent from any illness or anything that would cancel the event
  • Have as much content as possible in French
  • Attendees must know MOSS 2007

And we did it.

It has been delivered on December, from the 15th to 17th 2009 to approximately 50 partners people.

The agenda was:

  • Day 1: full session @ MSFT France: SharePoint 2010 overview:
    • Positioning/Messaging/investments
    • New features & capabilities
    • What’s new for IT Pro/Admins/Architects
    • What’s new for Developers
  • Day 2: split hands on labs @ MSFT France & Aston Education
    • IT Pro & Admins labs
  • Day 3: split hands on labs @ MSFT France & Aston Education
    • Developers’ labs

The 2 weeks before the event were very intense. We all had to rework the internal content. Especially since I pushed for the use of the public beta. That meant: everyone to get the Virtual Machine I created for the event, then adapt the labs related data and manuals to fit the real/actual Lab machine.

That was quite some work to do that.

I want here to thanks the speakers: Frank Halmaert, Etienne Lacour, Olivier Laymand, Osman Malik & Alain Bastardie. I also have a nice thanks to Karim that partly funded the event, and made it a real success with the few goodies he brought at the end of day 1 :-). Then all the others that helped at BMO, MCS, and Aston Education (Winwise institute).

We also want to thank the attendees. They were very positive and involved during the 3 days. We were very impressed by their will to do and finish all the labs.

Now the results! Was it worth the effort:

  • YES!
  • The demand for the event was so high, that it has been replayed 2 times during January 2010!
  • France now have more than 150 partners’ employees that have the basics of SharePoint 2010
  • The partner readiness index for SharePoint 2010, is the best in the world since January 2010!

That definitely worth it.

Now, let’s prepare the RTM launch of SharePoint 2010.

Thanks a lot to everyone that made this event possible.

That was a pleasure (even if it was also a lot of work) to contribute in SharePoint 2010 success in France. This product absolutely deserves it.

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