User Groups - Its not all SharePoint

Ryan YatesConsultant

Just a dude in his 30's doing things in Tech & trying to break the stigma's around talking about Mental Health

This week has seen me attend the SharePoint User Group in Leeds on Tuesday in which there were presentations by Hugh Wood from Rencore and Garry Trinder from ID and then the LeanAgile Meetup in Manchester.


But firstly before I go into detail about the events lets take a step back and set the scenes leading up to them both.

For me any community event whether it be SharePoint User Groups or the LeanAgile meetup or the bigger events like SharePoint Saturday’s & SQL Saturday’s the main aspect for attending these events for me is that you gain an insight to how others in other organisations are working due to the inherent knowledge sharing that occurs at these types of events and I do my best to try and drag others along where possible.

I do this as its much more fun especially during travel to or from events with a friend than being the typical “headphones in and world out” type that I very much am when travelling to these events or even just in general travel and I only learnt about events like these because someone else within my network told me about them and I feel that its only my duty to further share this knowledge - After all “Sharing is Caring” as Vesa Juvonen would say (the Office365 Dev PnP Program Manager)

So this leads to my travel from Manchester to Leeds for the SUGUK group on Tuesday and I had prearranged to travel to Leeds with none other that Kevin Moss - My favourite Manchester based recruiter. A lot of the people I have worked with have a lot of hate towards recruiters and I think that this is due to unfortunate experiences that they may have had with 1 or 2 in the past and especially in a contractors world you have to keep in mind that a good recruiter should be high up there on your list of SharePint buddies - you never know when a role that is on their books may be a perfect fit for you and I can guarantee that keeping yourself in the recruiters good books will stand you in good steed for that role.

Sometimes it really isn’t so much about what you know but who you know - and Kevin is a great guy to travel to an event with and I’m sure we will end up at other SharePints and travelling to other SharePoint events in future and continue on some of the more interesting conversations that we had started.


Now onto the SharePoint User Group where both Sessions were very much developer focused and this did lead me to having a lot of questions that spurred off some very good discussions with not only the presenters but the audience got really involved - which is always a great experience to be involved in.

So the even started with Garry presenting on Building Client side components - Now as a PowerShell Guy for me reusability and upgradability are key factors to consider with anything that you build to reduce the need to build it again and again only changing a few little options. Garry went into some considerable detail around this and even though this was only his second - Yes Second - time presenting this topic he really looked like he was at home.

He was calm and relaxed and although you could tell he had some nerves, he did not this phase him even when he ended up having some VM issues. I will certainly look forward to further presentations that Garry gives and hope to see him at future events.

Now on to Hugh - and well Hugh did what Hugh does at any event and presents like the seasoned pro that he really is. The first event I saw Hugh present was the SUGUK North West Developer day and just like then Hugh did not disappoint.

Hugh’s topic of choice for the evening was one that I’m pretty sure went down well with the crowd and there was a lot of interaction with this topic as well. Myself not being a C# kind of guy (currently - I may add) was coming into this session with a very minimal amount of knowledge in this area - yet it was interesting to see in a demo that Hugh did - using an application he had built himself - to see the differences in how C# and JavaScript are structured.

I’m almost certain that the more developer focused in the audience would have gained a lot more from the session than I did however I still walked away feeling that in future if I end up going down both the C# and JavaScript routes that I would be more capable to differentiate between the two languages and hopefully not make some of the mistakes that can be made.

As per customary with all the SharePoint User Groups we headed downstairs (as SUGUK Leeds is located at The Adelphi which is a great venue) and we proceeded to have a SharePint or 2 where the discussions on the night and SPSLondon and other events did go down a treat. The Organisers Paul & the 2 Simons do well with the Leeds event and it is starting to seem some really good turn outs and I must say that I’m looking forward to the next one on September 1st as its a special one for the Group as its the 1st year Anniversary

However it wasn’t all SharePoint this week. I also attended last night the LeanAgile Meetup group in Manchester- LAManc - and this event was a bit of a special one as this was an abstract of the SAFe Planning In Action Framework sessions that Nick McKenna would normally do over 2 days - yet we tried to a lot of it in just 2 hours - which lead to a manic but fun filled evening.

I wont try and go into a lot of detail about this event due to the almost quite overwhelming amount of information that was thrown around but it was one of the best events I’ve been to that has had nothing to do with SharePoint just due to the sheer amount going on.

However to give a brief intro into the session we were split into 4 teams each tasked with detailing a feature for a website that required search functionality, purchasing functionality and then various other aspects which included commenting on purchases.

My team got the feature that detailed the need around purchases with a Credit Card and we were given 4 user stories and 2 technical issues, however as we found there were a lot of the user stories missing and we found that we added a fair few more in as well.

The evening went really well with lots of interesting discussions on how this way of working can really be beneficial especially across teams with interlinked tasks and it really invoked a deeper sense of pushing priority tasks that had dependencies on other tasks and getting all of those done first - If possible!

I’ll certainly be back to LAManc and would encourage others to do so as well.