Top 5 SharePoint Best Practices

Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) is one of the most under utilized tools available from Microsoft - for BPOS/Office365 users and Windows Server users. You can read about some of the WSS projects we've done here and here. Whether automating project tasks, sales processes, or easily finding documents - WSS works the way you do. (Did I mention it's free?)

Unfortunately, it is also extremely powerful and can be overwhelming. The keys to a successful WSS implementation are:

-Clearly identify what you want as the end result
-Choose a person or person(s) to spear head the project and 'own' WSS
-Start small

After you've done that - here are my top 5 best practices for WSS end users:

1) Create consistent names for your folders - but don't sweat the small stuff. The more granular you make your folders the harder it is to determine where documents should be saved. In our business - we've broken our document libraries up into functional groups:
Then using WSS search you can easily find documents. (See best practice #5.)
2) Create consistent naming conventions for your files. Don't put version numbers in your files - turn on versioning in WSS and let version control do the work for you. (When trying to determine the best naming convention refer to best practice #1.)
3) Don't email individual files for team review. Consider either turning on workflows or, my favorite, just email the link to the document. This makes sure that the latest document is always the one that is viewed and cuts down on email traffic.
4) Understand how to check documents in/out using Microsoft Office 2007. Use the check in/out features that are built in Office 2007 to work with files.
5) WSS gives you the option to input descriptions on files, folders, and sites. Be verbose on these - it helps when searching for documents. And, if you ever get hit by a bus, it lets those who come after you know what you were thinking when you created that entity in WSS.

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