Do Unto Others…

Sometimes, when the day-to-day runs together, you may put off documenting what you are doing, what you have done and the hows and whys of your work.

I am a “Team of One”, THE Subject Matter Expert at what I do and it is no fun. With that, I have to remember to get what is in my head out on “paper” or at least in a Word document.

Being the SME with so many irons in the fire can certainly put documenting your work on the backburner. That is, until you come in behind another Team of One, another THE SME.

You realize that it is not much fun to be behind the eight ball and having to recreate what was in someone else’s mind and make it make sense.

Before I became THE SME, I was part of a small team with a very effective manager. I thought I knew my stuff, but she really knew her stuff and I tried my best to keep up. There were three of us.

Six months into my job, they let go of the contractor on our team (he was really good too). At that time, I was just beginning to learn Powershell. The contractor and my manager seemed to be masterminds at it.

“Teach me”, I would say. They would share a link to some site and that is where I had to go to learn. Or look at their scripts and try to figure it out.

Back to the breakup of the Team of Three…

They let the contractor go right before the Christmas holidays. My manager had been bumping heads with leadership for months. Letting the contractor go was the last straw. When we returned from Christmas break, she announced her resignation.

Say WHAT?!

I was on the job for six months and now I was alone!

My manager was THE SharePoint administrator, in the middle of migrating us from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013 at that time. I was not part of that migration. I was assigned to automating processes using InfoPath and other operational things with SharePoint, but not on an administrator level.

She gave me the passwords and sever names and bid me adieu.

I was 2% excited to learn all this stuff and 98% scared I’d screw something up.

I was thrown into the deep end and expected to become an Olympic swimmer.

I am thankful that I can turn lemons into lemonade. I learned how to configure a SharePoint farm, patch it, install updates, and everything else there was to know about SharePoint. I developed my own processes for working with my internal customers to automate their processes and make life a little easier for them. I became the Team of One.

That migration took a while though. By the time I got comfortable with my new “role”, SharePoint 2016 came out. Why go to 2013 when we could go to 2016. It was around this time I found out we also had a SharePoint Online instance that no one told me about previously.

Why go to 2016 when we can at least go hybrid with Online!

But back to the purpose of this post. I realized that I had learned a lot. I became good at putting together PowerShell scripts with the help of some Powershell gurus I followed on the web. I made my life easier with my scripts and developing my processes.

But I needed some help. Two years went by and I wanted someone to share the wealth. I didn’t want to be a Team of One anymore. It was no fun not having someone to bounce ideas off of. No one understood what I did everyday. I was eager to teach someone, but no takers.

I began to seriously consider leaving for something better. But, I thought of whoever would come behind me. I thought of that person because I knew what it was like to be given nothing but a file with server names and passwords and nothing else and having to recreate what was in someone else’s head.

I had no plans on giving that person all of my knowledge, but I did want that person to at least have a blueprint.

Consider those coming behind you. No, you don’t owe anyone that, but think of how you would feel having to needlessly feel your way around someone’s thought process. Even if you were THE SME where you were previously, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

At least provide a blueprint.