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A Governance Policy Should Insulate Average Users from SharePoint Designer 2010

As we have discussed, in the hands of experienced administrators, developers, and architects, SharePoint Designer 2010 constitutes a zero cost tool that can be used for rapid development of computing procedures to be run within a SharePoint Server 2010 environment. It is worth taking a blog post to illustrate how a decision to expose average users to the same computing tool can actually undermine other efforts to hasten user adoption of SharePoint Server 2010 as a daily computing platform. Therefore, we emphasize the importance of prohibiting average users from using this tool.

In order to understand our point it is merely necessary to consider some of the obtuse naming conventions for operations within SharePoint Designer 2010 while keeping in mind the likelihood of a “Murphy’s Law” event arising that will require an average user to make some important use of this tool. For example, we ourselves went through the procedures included in our video tutorial on SharePoint-Videos dot com, “Create a Site Workflow and modify its form using InfoPath” from our set on SharePoint Designer 2010 Fundamentals. Our plan was to produce a site workflow that we planned to use as a means of adding information to a list, “Incoming Contacts” that we had created for our Office 365 SharePoint 2010 Team Site.

Simply consider these two examples as a means of understanding why it is advised not to expose this tool to average users:

  • To require that a column of information be submitted with a form, remove the check mark from the box within the “Column Settings” screen within the “Column Editor” labeled “Allow Blank Values”
  • “Initiation Form Parameters” are not actually defined at all by the text tip that accompanies the icon on the SharePoint Designer 2010 ribbon. Average end users will be at a total loss to figure out what these special parameters are supposed to do and where they show up. The process of verifying that a custom workflow has been truly saved to disk will be especially challenging as these parameters will only appear in the specific drop down menus for which they have been added within the first page of the workflow, meaning the initiation form

There is no benefit whatsoever to using a tool for rapid application development that actually detracts from end user adoption of SharePoint as a daily computing platform. Ensuring that average users are not exposed to frustrating, challenging processes for SharePoint 2010 ought to be one of the core justifications for a governance plan. Both IT/MIS and principal stakeholders from business units should formulate such a governance plan to preserve the valuable contribution that SharePoint can make to building automated processes at low cost.

If you represent an enterprise where it would be valuable to implement SharePoint 2010 with SharePoint Designer 2010 as a rapid development tool, but have concerns about governance, we would like to speak with you.

Please contact us at (630) 786-7026, or Contact Us to further a discussion about our video training content.

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