MSN Messenger is a wonderful thing … not only have I just managed to track down my new European friends from TEC2012, but I also seem to have scored a significant new gig for UNIFY on the back of a “quick question” from a former SharePoint wiz (some 10+ yrs experience) colleague of mine from my pre-MIIS days … here’s an abridged version (with all names withheld of course) of how that panned out … see if this could be you next, and how to recognise !
SharePoint guy: Hey Bob, got a sec?
Me: Sure – fire away!
SharePoint guy: How do I add a combo box and some string validation to this FIM page … it’s built on SharePoint right? I should be able to work this stuff out easily, no???
Me: (after getting up off the floor) Maaaaate … where do I start?
SharePoint guy: What do you mean?
Me: Well first, to give you a basic idea of what’s involved, here’s the RCDC reference (I send him an appropriate link to TechNet) … then when you’ve got your head around that, you need to work out where to store your list of a couple of hundred combo list items, and then where to sync them from, and then …
SharePoint guy: Stop there for a minute … so what you’re saying is I’ve got to learn a completely new technology?
Me: Basically – yes. Happy to give you a few pointers of course, but it probably isn’t your bag …
SharePoint guy: (after a few minutes MSN silence) No kidding … I’m bailing on this one :). Basically I just have far too much other stuff to be learning this too right now.
Me: OK – not surprised – let me know if you want some help with the work so you can keep your customer!
SharePoint guy: Will do.
No more than 15 minutes later I was on the phone to the gentleman who had quoted my friend half a day to do the work ;). Suffice to say, 2 weeks later and we’re working together to agree to terms on what turns out to be a full-blown FIM Portal swap-out of an in-house white pages self-service web application with direct updates to Active Directory. Not only that, but with the replacement of an app which does real-time AD updates with another which … well OOTB just doesn’t … it was not hard to get a common understanding that Event Broker was going to have to be part of the solution from the start.
Of course I’m pretty sure my SharePoint friend was relieved he had averted a potential major misunderstanding and waste of everyone’s precious time. He keeps his customer happy and “sticks to his knitting” (and I to mine), and all things going to plan, we get a happy customer at the end of the exercise. Sure we’ve a lot longer development cycle, but all parties are now more the wiser for it, with the customer thankful they had been saved from a potentially very expensive mistake. Moreover, assuming we succeed with this, there will be more FIM work lined up waiting behind this.
So the moral of the story is two-fold:
- keep active on your IM network – be willing to help others and we’ll all end up helping each other in the long term (just expect the unexpected); and
- don’t expect people to always recognize FIM work opportunities by themselves – they often appear disguised as something completely different!