Reconsider the Present to Improve the Future

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Reconsider the Present to Improve the Future

Remember the old saying, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results?” Well, a special version of insane must apply to modernization activities. I was recently reminded of this as we embarked on a SharePoint upgrade project. As I worked through some of the migration planning for the new site (we were also migrating from a 3rd party hosted solution to Microsoft 365), I created a number of mappings to move the old site content to the new, maintaining the hierarchy, custom content types and metadata choices that we had defined initially and refined with our first upgrade. As I neared completion, a colleague suggested looking at what was new in 2013. Yes, I thought to myself, that’s a good idea. Maybe I’ll do that once I get through all of this migration stuff to see what we might want to add on.

That’s when it hit me.  Shame welled up inside me because I should have known better.  I’d done this same thing from a controls side for so long. I have found it’s always best to re-evaluate the hows and whys when doing any kind of refresh, upgrade, etc. Often, I’ve found that choices that have been made in the past, often 100% correct choices based on the options at the time, are no longer the best decision moving forward. Needs and processes change, technologies evolve and constraints morph or even disappear.  I have found it always prudent to keep that in mind and verify that the plan you’re moving forward with is still the best path given the circumstances.
In this specific case, we found that our single site collection, a virtual requirement in SharePoint 2007 for us in order to keep consistent content types and columns across sites, is no longer the way to go. Given the content hub and other features in 2013, it’s now quite easy to manage those items across site collections and we found that some of our performance issues were due to us having one large site collection (and therefore one large database) and not spreading it out to maximize resource effectiveness. We also found out the procedure to start turning some of our defined choice data columns into managed metadata, which would enhance our searching capabilities.
What about you? Have any insane stories about doing things the same old way? Drop me a line and let me know.

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