In my last post I tried to explain what are the limitations of SharePoint versioning and things you need to know when you are planning and configuring a SharePoint site. In this post I will try to prepare you for the questions you will be asked on SharePoint end-user training. As in last post, the topic is document versioning.

Versioning Level 0. – No versioning

If you decide to implement SharePoint without versioning support end users will probably ask you why they need to learn a new technology without real benefits. SharePoint without versioning is only a web-based file share.

Versioning Level 1 – Major versions

Major versions are good and end-users will love to play with them, but you will be asked the following questions:

– Toni, can I control the next version number?
– Toni, I do not want other people to see my drafts, what can I do?

It is time to move to the level 2.

Versioning Level 2 – Minor-Major versioning

When you turn on minor-major versioning your customer will just love you, however be prepared for:

– End users do not count versions from 0, this might be a problem
– Minor and major version numbering (Major.Minor) is not a clear concept for an end-user. It might be too complex for them to understand, so be patient and prepared for dummy questions [:)]
– Minor and major versioning is too hard for the end users [:S]

– Toni, while I am working in Word I like to save documents every two seconds. I do not want to have 1000 versions of one document. (As you remember for the part 1 you cannot limit the number of minor versions)
– Toni, I was just reading my document and someone else managed to change it before me…

It is time to go to the level 3.

Versioning Level 3 – Check-in/Check-out

At this level most of your problems is solved and end users are able to do a lot of things new things. What is the problem with this concept then? Well… it is toooooo complicated. In an ideal situation customer is using Word 2007 (Although in Word 2007 check-in/check-out is not so simple.) and SharePoint 2007, but that can only happen in an IT company. If your customer is a large bank or a government agency it might take years before they decide to upgrade to Office 2007. At best they are using Office 2003 and SharePoint 2007 and that is far from ideal combination. Check-in / Check-out is not an easy concept, and when you have to use web browser and Office client to achieve all that, it is complicated.


The moral of this story is: Do not underestimate problems you might encounter on a SharePoint implementation. SharePoint project is not just installing SharePoint and developing web parts. The key of successful SharePoint implementation is the adoption of the end users. Plan additional consultant/traniner effort to traing the end users to work with the solution. With good training and detailed and tailored user manuals and the end your users will be able to work with all these features just fine.

In part 3 I will describe infrastructure implications of versioning.

One Comment

  1. http:// Says

    Brilliant. We’re in process of implementing both Office 2007 and SP 2007 and explaining the concept of versioning to the average end user seems very difficult. Most never got the hang of check-in/check-out in the 03 version, so it’s a hard habit to break.

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