Archive for Training Tools

Education Options: Prescriptive, Ad Hoc, Shoulder-to-Shoulder

The old adage ”one size doesn’t fit all” certainly applies to CorasWorks training.   It’s important to understand various delivery options in order to select the one that best meets your needs.  We try to simplify the many choices by breaking them down into three categories:

  1. Prescriptive -  Do you need a structured curriculum that includes a clear path and instructor facilitation?  The CorasWorks prescriptive options are best represented by our Distance Learning, Self-Paced Training, and Instructor-Led Onsite training.
  2.  Ad Hoc -  The self-service approach via ad-hoc learning can take a variety of forms.  Hopefully you’re learning through our various blog posts like From the Classroom, however other ad hoc choices include our community forums, the Platform Learning Center, documentation, or even CorasWorks support (support@corasworks.net).
  3. Shoulder-to-Shoulder learning is a process that transfers knowledge between CorasWorks Professional Services (PS) and our customers via an active engagement.  The goal of our PS team is to not simply do the work for you, but to also help you understand the capabilities and techniques they used to get you there.  This approach enables you to better support the solutions and address future needs.

Whether you’re time constrained, resource constrained, or budget constrained, you should always have learning options to meet your unique and/or changing requirements.  Feel free to discuss your particular needs with our training staff by contacting us at training@corasworks.net or (703) 797-1881 ext. 110.

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The Application Cure for Average Joe

Students attending CorasWorks training are often looking for a solution to address common business process needs. Maybe you have one or more average Joes in your organization that you could help out. Have a view of the video below providing the application cure for average Joe’s inefficient business process disorder.

 

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Applications 101 – Building apps on SharePoint with CorasWorks

In previous posts I shared an application example that I built in less than two days, showing a demo of the app, then a quick look behind the scenes.  In the Applications 101 tutorial below, I take students from beginning to end, including:

  • About the application example
  • About the builder
  • About the SharePoint challenge
  • Solution demonstration
  • A look behind the scenes
  • A few other application examples
  • Next Steps

This tutorial was created to orient new users to CorasWorks on that “whats” and “whys” of CorasWorks.  A deeper dive is available via CorasWorks distance learning or self-paced training.  Contact training@corasworks.net for more information.

Remember the options in the video player allowing you to view the video in full screen, access the Table of Contents, and adjust the volume.

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What does CorasWorks do?

As much as I’d like to think that everyone knows what CorasWorks does, that’s not the case.  I was reminded of this the other day when my 9 year old entered my office and said “dad, what is it that you do again?”  Well, we do applications on SharePoint, and here’s a short piece to help further answer the question.


Our application development platform can help you:

  • quickly and easily extend and enhance existing SharePoint sites or apps (drop-and-go Widgets),
  • snap together light applications with speed and ease (wizard driven configurations), or
  • build and maintain sophisticated apps on your own or with the help of CorasWorks Professional Services (advanced components and solution architecture).

Our training team is here to help provide guidance on the education front, or point you in the right direction if you’d like to speak with other folks within the organization.  Just drop us a line at training@corasworks.net or call 866-580-3115 ext 110.

 

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Who Needs Some SharePoint Basics?

Tag, you’re it; you are now a SharePoint Site Owner.  Or, Congratulations, you just inherited a SharePoint site.  There are many different ways of becoming a new Site Owner, but the honor doesn’t always come with orientation, a guide book, or instructions.   So what are you really the proud owner of, what does the responsibility include, and what can you do with your new powers?

I created the video below to help provide some guidance and give you a jump start with some SharePoint basics.  Knowing the basics is also important so you can get the most from CorasWorks.  In less than an hour we’re only able to scratch the surface, but I’ll get you to the starting line on the road to success with SharePoint and CorasWorks.   

The list below provides an overview of the lesson objectives and the video includes a table of contents for easy navigation.  Be sure to share it with others in a similar situation or provide feedback to training@corasworks.net.  

  • The definitions for key SharePoint terms
  • How to easily access information
  • How to work with the SharePoint Ribbon
  • How to customize the navigation
  • How to modify a page layout
  • How to create new web pages
  • How to modify and customize views of information
  • How to modify lists with customized columns
  • How to create new lists and libraries
  • How to add web parts to a page
  • How to add pictures to a site
  • How to add and modify content
  • How to drive business process

Tips for viewing the video:  Placing your cursor over the bottom of the player displays controls to pause, increase/decrease volume, or view in full screen mode.  Use the video’s table of contents to navigate to specific topics of interest.  Clicking outside the video area collapses the table of contents.

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Driving SharePoint User Adoption

If you build it, will they come? Have the freedoms of the SharePoint platform left your users wondering what’s available, why it’s important, and how to get there? Does your SharePoint training focus too much on the “how do I…,”  losing sight of the bigger productivity picture?  These are some of the questions at the heart of user adoption.

Information Overload

When I lived in New York I rode the subway a lot. As I was learning my way around the city I’d get off at unfamiliar stops, surface to the street, and be faced with information overload. There was so much to see, so many options, and no clear direction. Sound familiar?

There isn’t an app for that!

Today “there’s an app for that,” probably 100+ to get you around NYC, but last I checked there isn’t one to guide you through your SharePoint environment. So there isn’t a 99 cent answer to help your users find their way, but based on your SharePoint investment isn’t it worth some thought and action?

A customer’s solution

Fortistar, a long time customer of CorasWorks, has built a robust intranet called Fortistar Connect. It includes numerous collaborative applications, point solutions, and general work management – touching nearly every aspect of their business. David Comora, their CIO, is committed to supporting his users. This means not only “tweaking” the system to meet users needs, and building new solutions to make life easier, but also showing them the way.

While many users are currently active in Fortistar Connect, I recently worked with David to create an introductory video to help drive greater user adoption. He’s also working with us on a learning center in SharePoint with CorasWorks to delivery ongoing training and support through videos and documentation.

Trailer to the feature film

Below is a short “trailer” to the Fortistar video that is one example of how you can engage your user to help drive user adoption (note this is just the trailer and you can’t link to the feature film).

Grab some popcorn…

 

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You Don’t Need to be a Project Guy…

…to manage projects in SharePoint.

Confessions of a non-project guy

I’m not a project manager, and I’m not in IT, but like most of my readers I have project type work.  I too traditionally managed this work in an ad hoc fashion with spreadsheets, email, static weekly reports, and other manually intensive activities.  And yes, I’ve missed a deadline.  And yes, I’ve produced work that I knew could have been better.

What’s a non-project guy to do? 

When CorasWorks came out with a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution a few years ago I saw it as a product for users who had a Project Manager title, or a PMO role.  Not true, or at least only partially true.

The deep functionality and flexibility of the CorasWorks PPM meets the needs for those schooled or skilled in project and portfolio management.  However, what about the rest of us?  Well, we need to face the fact that we manage projects, and look at the flexibility of tools like the CorasWorks PPM to help us meet our goals and objectives and make life easier.

How can you tell if you’re a project manager? 

You’re probably a project manager if two or more of the following apply:

You have goals, and those goals break down into a series of tasks and subtasks that need to be delivered in a certain timeframe.  A goal may translate to one or more projects that are made up of task and sub-task deliverables.  Project guys would consider the sum of those tasks a “schedule.”

You encounter challenges, which in the project world could be considered risks.  If those risks aren’t addressed they become issues.  And if issues are mitigated, they can impact the quality of your work, costs, and/or on time delivery.

You work on teams and cross functionally.  There are people you count on to help you get work done. These folks are essentially Project Members.  They could have task assignments, help address issues, contribute documents, conduct reviews, provide subject matter expertise, and more.

You produce reports and status updates on a regular basis.  This is the common weekly email report, PowerPoint, or Excel spreadsheet that is static and usually out of date the minute after it’s sent.

You collaborate.  Meaning you need input, feedback, and ideas shared among team members to help make decisions, address problems, and in general reach your goals.

You wear several hats, or have responsibility for more than one group and area of your business.  If so, you likely manage multiple projects of different types.

Get out of the box!

You may have started to manage project type work in SharePoint.  If so, congratulations, you have one foot out of the box.  However the CorasWorks PPM may open you up to a new world of organization, access, visibility, communication, and productivity that you didn’t know was possible.

Here’s a short video of how I, the non-project guy, set up a project for training updates using the CorasWorks PPM.

Happy viewing. After watching the videos, if you’d like more information, email us at info@corasworks.net.

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Just In Time Video Training and Support for SharePoint

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, what’s a video worth?

It could be worth the difference between answering a users question quickly and effectively or having them continue to struggle and escalate their frustration.

Question:  How do I create a CorasWorks Actions Library?
Answer:  View this 3 minute video.

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Now the embedded video in this blog is rendered in a smaller viewing area for the purpose of providing an example, however users would have a larger player to clearly see the content and access controls to pause, fast forward, and replay the video.

CorasWorks uses Jing, a free product from TechSmith

The video was produced using a free product from TechSmith called Jing.  Individuals can set up an account and download Jing to their desktop.   The product allows users to capture all or a portion of their screen and record up to 5 minutes of video.  Saved video content is stored on Screencast.com, where there are a number of options for managing your videos.

After producing a video, users have options such as pasting the link into an email or embedding code into a blog, pdf, or other document for viewing.  CorasWorks uses Jing to create video content that is used by our customer support, training, and product development teams.

Make video lessons accessible to your users

For CorasWorks training and education, we recognize it’s often not enough to have short, standalone video tutorials to demonstrate various “how to’s.”  Therefore we adapted the CorasWorks Cim product to deliver learning centers for our customers on active support and maintenance.

Have a look at how I took this 3 minute video shown above and added it to our Platform Learning Center, along with a job aid, to make it more accessible to our customers.

If you need access to the Learning Center, and you’re active on support and maintenance, email training@corasworks.net.  Use the same email to request more information about creating a learning center for your organization.

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