SharePoint Saturday

SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities is back!

We’re gearing up for the Fall 2017 edition of SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities (#SPSTC) on October 28th at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN. We have 36 sessions planned, with 9 different SharePoint and Office 365 sessions running concurrently throughout the day. With tracks for Office 365 technologies, 101 users, Developers, Information Workers and IT Pros, we’re confident you’ll leave with new learnings and great community connections.

If you’d like to attend, please see our Web site for session abstracts and speaker bios. And while we take walk-ins on the day of the event, it is always ideal if you can register ahead of time.

We are also looking for volunteers to help us the weekend of the event. Please consider donating your time and giving back to the community.

SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities opens with a new registration record!

unitedMinnesota–the land of cold winters, SPAM and sellout SharePoint Saturday events. What a comparison!

We’re fortunate, though, to have a phenomenal SharePoint community here in the Twin Cities. With an active Minnesota SharePoint User Group that is approaching its 100th meeting and SharePoint Saturday events that sell out twice each year, we clearly have an involved (and supportive) SharePoint community.

The community THRILLED us this week, though, with their thunderous response to our registration call for the May 2013 SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities event. We’ve had 570 people register for the event in only 9 days. Sound impressive? It should. It breaks every registration record we’ve ever seen. While we may not be the largest SharePoint Saturday worldwide, we pride ourselves on being one of the best. So if you’re anywhere near Minnesota in May, please stop by. We’d love to show you how we do SharePoint Saturday Minnesota style!

For more information on this event, visit our SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities web site and registration page.

Here we go! Planning for the next SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities ramps up.

2012_SPS_Logo_300Last night was the first all-team planning meeting for our upcoming May 18th #SPSTC event. After nearly 3 hours of discussion over a packed agenda, we emerged tired but victorious! I’m most excited about some changes we’re making to this next event. We’ll be using brand-new classroom space at Normandale Community College for all our sessions. The new rooms have more space, offer better technology and are situated close to one another–thereby eliminating the speedwalking portion of our event. We’re also going to offer a community service opportunity for all attendees. This is part of our new focus on giving back…and giving back feels great!

What isn’t changing? Our focus on providing great content and networking opportunities for our attendees. We will still be running 8 concurrent sessions throughout the day, including tracks for Information Workers, IT Pros and Developers. We’ll also have sponsors on-site to provide walkthroughs of their tools/services.

If you’re interested in sponsorship opportunities for this event, please send an email to And keep an eye on our Facebook page for other event updates–including our upcoming call for speakers.

No post about #SPSTC would be complete without a shout-out to our leadership team. I can’t say enough about the enthusiasm, talent and hard work these folks bring to the table each and every day. We are one of the few organizing committees that consistently put on two SharePoint Saturday events per year–and this kind of effort comes with a personal cost. Please give Wes Preston, Jim Ferguson, Don Donais, Tamara Bredemus, Garon Rowland and Raymond Mitchell a “thank you” when you see them–they’re the best!

We are a GO! SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities will be held on November 3, 2012

And it begins again! Yesterday we kicked off preparations for our Fall iteration of SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities, to be held on Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN. As you probably know, SharePoint Saturdays are free educational events dedicated to fostering information exchange and networking opportunities for SharePoint end-users, developers and IT Pros. These SharePoint Saturday events occur in local markets throughout the world, wherever there are SharePoint peeps that want to come together and share what they know.

We are blessed to have an amazing SharePoint community in the Twin Cities. Our balmy Minnesota winters have attracted the likes of Bill English, Virgil Carroll, Wes Preston, Raymond Mitchell, Tamara Bredemus and Phil Wicklund. When you have this much local talent, you can get a jump start on building a great educational event. Mix in a strong leadership team and a community that gets excited about attending SharePoint events (even on a Saturday) and you have a hit!

When I first got involved with the Twin Cities SharePoint Camp three years ago, I was thrilled to find an opportunity to learn from and network with other SharePoint enthusiasts. We started out small, with 75-100 people attending Saturday events at a local training center. But after adopting the SharePoint Saturday mantle and forming a leadership team to guide the events, we’ve grown to staggering proportions. Take a look at the growth curve in our number of attendees:

Our last event (held in April 2012) had nearly 30 sponsors, 28 breakout sessions, 2 hands-on labs and 450+ attendees. For a recap of the day, see my summary blog post:

The pressure is clearly on to maintain the quality of our SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities events. We want to continue pulling in great speakers and offering a great opportunity for attendees to learn and connect. With that in mind, we’ve opened the call for speakers for our November 3rd event. If you have a SharePoint story, please put together an abstract and submit to present. All the submission details are posted on our web site:

#spstc smashes our previous record, becoming one of the largest SharePoint Saturdays ever!

SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities ROCKED this weekend with 450+ attendees! By our estimations, this places us right behind SharePoint Saturday DC as the most well-attended SharePoint Saturday event EVER. Thanks to all our organizing staff, volunteers, speakers, sponsors and attendees for making this such a fabulous event. Our continued success ensures that this event will be around for many years to come…

We kicked things off on Friday with event setup. We had an army of 20+ tackling all the work, and were able to unload all our materials, organize sponsor exhibition tables, assemble sponsor/speaker gift bags, place signs and stuff attendee bags in a record 2 hours. Not an easy feat! A big thanks to Cyndi Kesler, Irene Kesler, Mary Neumann, Avi Sujeeth, Dave Hall, Lynne Figg, Phil Jirsa, Raymond Mitchell, Don Donais, Colleen Haviland, Tamara Bredemus, Wes Preston and many others for your efforts.

The speaker dinner was held Friday night at Tavern on France. Great food, great company and an amazing assortment of SharePoint knowledge all in one place. We had a great mix of attendees join in for SharePint starting at 8:30 pm. Great to meet attendees who drove long distances to attend the event–including a special shout out to the UWEC and CVTC folks from my hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Great to see you!

Saturday morning got off to an early start with a 4:45 am wake-up call. By 7 am we were on site at Normandale Community College amassing our volunteer workforce. (While we’ve had outstanding volunteers at all our previous events, we knew that pulling off this 450+ person event was going to take an army of help. We’re so fortunate to have an active SharePoint community that really jumped in to help us out!) By 8 am registration was up and running and we had 30+ volunteers handing out lanyards, pointing people towards breakfast and handing out attendee t-shirts and bags. A special “thank you” to Edith Young for hanging with me as chief troubleshooter Saturday morning. Much appreciated!

When we kicked off the event at 9 am, Normandale’s 400-seater Auditorium was filled to capacity. Our slogan for this event was “Occupy SharePoint.” A popular choice, but attendees loved hearing our other rejected slogans:

  • Come for the mall, stay for the SharePoint. SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities.
  • Smart people, good food AND I learned something. Must be SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities!
  • Adopt an End User today at SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities.
  • Keep your End Users happy and healthy. Remember to spay and neuter.
  • SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities – April 14, 2012. More fun than taxes!
  • Hmmm. That worked at SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities…

And yes, these slogans are all created by Tamara Bredemus, our fantastic comedic talent 🙂

The rest of the day went by in a blur. We had 30 fantastic sessions, a vendor exhibition area that was packed to capacity and great food/networking opportunities. To help wind down after the big day, we took a bunch of speakers and attendees to Khan’s Mongolian BBQ for dinner. Follow that up with some rollercoaster rides at the Mall of America and you have a FULL day.

It’s impossible to thank everyone who had a hand in this event, but please know that it could not succeed without a huge amount of positive energy! It also wouldn’t have been the same without many of our fantastic speakers that came great distances to attend. Thanks to Mark Rackley, Richard Harbridge, Jeff Willinger, Kim Frehe, Doug Hemminger, Tasha Scott, Mary Leigh Mackie, et. al. for traveling to Minneapolis for this event. And a special thanks to Sean McDonough for making a repeat appearance. You make everything more fun, man!

For those of you that can’t wait for another SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities, don’t despair…we’re already locking in a date for the fall. Stay tuned for more information.

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SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities: We’re biggering, but in a good way.

I speak for men, and human opportunities! For your information, you Lorax, I’m figgering on biggering and biggering, and biggering, and BIGGERING, turning MORE truffula trees into thneeds! Which everyone, everyone, EVERYONE NEEDS! (quote from the Once-ler in Dr. Seuss’ famous book, “The Lorax”)

We’re not in the “thneed” market, but we have been dedicated to “biggering and biggering” SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities. Our goal was to expand the variety and number of our sessions, incorporate hands-on labs, include more sponsors and drive up attendee numbers so we can offer more networking and educational opportunities for the Twin Cities market.

When we launched our first SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities event back in March 2010, we were thrilled to have 175 attendees pre-register. It is truly amazing how far we’ve come in only two years. This week–for the first time ever–we have maxed out with 600 registrations for our spring SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities event! While we’re proud of how much we’ve grown, we feel an even stronger need to put on a top-quality event.

To ensure we have enough content (and enough space) to accommodate all our attendees, our April 14th event will include 30 sessions running in 8 different session rooms. We have tracks for Information Workers, IT Pros/Admins and Developers along with a hands-on lab, a SharePoint 101 track and general sessions. We also have almost 30 sponsors committed to answering your questions and providing product/consulting overviews.

We also have a fantastic collection of speakers. These people are incredible. They believe in the power of our SharePoint community and work tirelessly to build top-quality sessions. We have some familiar faces presenting, including Don Donais, Wes Preston, Jeff Willinger, Brian Caauwe, Virgil Carroll, Todd Bleeker, Sean McDonough, Zandy Garrard and Richard Harbridge. We also have some speakers that are new to the Twin Cities venue–including Matthew Ruderman, Mark Rackley, Tasha Scott, Megan Caauwe, Tennille Gruman, Kim Frehe, Tennille Gruman and many more. I’m honored to join this group of speakers, and will be delivering a user adoption session titled “No Miracle Required: Driving Successful User Adoption.” I’ll discuss how you can build a roadmap for user adoption and highlight real-life scenarios that have delivered great results!

I also want to give a shout out to Webtrends, who is sponsoring our Guidebook mobile app for this event. Go to to download your guide so you can view the event’s sessions, build your personal schedule, see the list of speakers and sponsors, keep up with the event’s Twitter feed and look at maps of the venue.

And if you haven’t registered for SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities yet, get on the waitlist. It’s an event you don’t want to miss!

P.S. Here’s a special treat for you Dr. Seuss fans. Enjoy!

Don’t miss ScarePoint Saturday!

Ghosts, ghouls, candy…and SharePoint? Clearly not the obvious choice. But who says IT folks can’t have a sense of humor?

ScarePoint Saturday is the fourth in our series of semi-annual Twin Cities SharePoint Saturday events. This fall’s event is scheduled for October 29, 2011 at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN.

SharePoint Saturdays are FREE training events designed to provide education and SharePoint-centered networking opportunities. SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities has been growing steadily over the past 2 years, growing from 100 attendees in March 2010 to nearly 300 attendees in April 2011. And while I’m not objective, I think ScarePoint Saturday might just be our best (and largest) event yet!

We still have sessions spanning 3 key tracks:

  • IT Pro/Admin
  • Developer
  • Information Worker

But we’ve also added in some new elements. The SharePoint 101 track will help new SharePoint-ers hit the ground running. From an overview of what SharePoint is and how it can be used to gathering requirements, understanding critical success factors and calculating return on investment (ROI), this track delivers SharePoint success.

The new hands-on lab provides an outstanding opportunity to learn from the best. Mindsharp will be on-site with two of their best trainers and a room full of laptops. If you’re interested in creating reusable workflows or using document set content types in SharePoint 2010, you won’t want to miss Tamara Bredemus’ sessions! And if you need a deep-dive on SharePoint’s Application Programming Interface, don’t miss the hands-on deep dive with Todd Bleeker.

But these are only a few of the 28 sessions we’ll be delivering during ScarePoint Saturday. From SharePoint governance to Office 365 and PowerShell, this event has you covered. For detailed session abstracts and registration information, visit our web site at

So who will you see there?

We’ve got an amazing speaker pool for this event, including Bill English, Todd Bleeker, Shai Petel, Virgil Carroll, Zandy Garrard and many more. I also want to thank some of our speakers that are traveling long distances to attend our event. Ruven Gotz, Richard Harbridge, Chris Geier and Becky Isserman–THANK YOU! We are honored to have you at the event.

We also have the usual suspects keeping things running smoothly. This event could not be held without heroic efforts by Wes Preston, Colleen Haviland, Tamara Bredemus, Don Donais and Raymond Mitchell. We are an eccentric bunch, though. And at Halloween we may start looking like a certain famous family:

So come check out ScarePoint Saturday. We’ll take your tricks, your treats and your SharePoint questions. Attendees will also score a limited-edition ScarePoint Saturday t-shirt (model not included).


Helpful links:

SharePoint Saturday Chicago recap

I’m just back from a great SharePoint Saturday event in Chicago. It was a whirwind weekend–but so worth it! We had a fantastic group of speakers, including Robert Bogue, Cathy Dew, Paul Schaeflein, Virgil Carroll, Todd Klindt, Raymond Mitchell, Wes Preston, Richard Harbridge, Ruven Gotz, etc. I also had the chance to meet some new folks, including Jason Gallicchio and Jeff Shuey.

The highlight for me was the success of our 101 track. Wes led things off with his “What is this thing called SharePoint?” session. He did a great job setting the stage and explaining how SharePoint can do a wide variety of things, but that it needs to be implemented in a clear crawl, walk, run manner. Richard Harbridge came up next with his session on future-proofing SharePoint. He brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and energy to all his work, and I loved getting the chance to see him in action! After lunch, Ruven took over the track. He dived into requirements gathering, the information architecture process and mind mapping/taxonomy building–all in 75 minutes. I’ve seen Ruven present several times, but I felt like a newbie soaking up information in his session. Great stuff! My session on ROI and “real” business use cases wrapped up the track. Attendees had a lot of great questions, and the session ended quickly (but with 30 seconds to spare).

After the event, we had SharePint at Quigley’s, sponsored by Rackspace. We had 20-30 attendees make the afterparty–great fun! I also got to enjoy a slice of Chicago deep dish pizza with Virgil, Ruven, Richard and Jason afterwards. All in all, a fantastic weekend. Thanks to Chris et. al.  for all their hard work organizing their event. You did a great job!

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On the horizon: SharePoint Saturday Chicago (6.11.2011)

I’m looking forward to a fantastic summer. We’ve got vacations to go on, parties to host/attend, a paver front walkway to rip out and redo (yuck) and time to sit out on the back porch with friends. With all that on tap, I’m still looking forward to attending SharePoint Saturday Chicago in early June. Here’s a few key reasons why:

  • It’s the *first* SharePoint Saturday I’ve had the chance to attend (outside of SPS Twin Cities)
  • It’s launching a new SharePoint 101 track I’m incredibly excited about! The track includes 4 building-block sessions that layer together to provide a complete roadmap for SharePoint. It’ll take you from the basics (aka what is SharePoint and what can I do with it?) through the requirements definition and future-proofing/governance processes and culminate with a look at real-world implementations and guidelines for calculating ROI on your implementation. An incredible track of sessions, all available for FREE just by attending. (Note: The final schedule has not been posted yet, but it looks like I’m the final leg of this 101-track, coming in at the end to present on ROI.)
  • It’s giving me the chance to catch up with some SharePoint friends I don’t get to see too often (Chris Geier, Ruven Gotz, Richard Harbridge, Cathy Dew, etc.) while also giving me the chance to hang out with local Twin Cities SharePoint gurus Wes Preston, Virgil Carroll and Raymond Mitchell.
  • It’s the first SharePoint event I get to bring my hubby to! Jason is usually holding down the home front while I get to wander about and talk about SharePoint. I’m looking forward to bringing him along for the ride. We’ll have to wait to see how much of a heckler he is… 

Want more information? Check out the SPS Chicago site. Here’s a marketing blurb from the event’s organizers:

This year’s suburban edition of SharePoint Saturday 2011 will feature 3 unique tracks in hopes to provide more value to the attendees.  These unique tracks will be

1. SharePoint 101 and will seek to walk users through the beginning of their SharePoint journey from the basics of what is SharePoint to planning your implementation.

2. Office365.  You have heard about it, but what is it really and how may it apply to your needs?

3. Advanced topics in SharePoint.  If you are one that typically does not go to user group or community events because there is not enough depth. This track is for you.  We will be showcasing some experts in the SharePoint community imparting their bits of wisdom. 

In short this year’s suburban edition will seek to provide something for everyone, and attract an audience from the entire spectrum.

SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities recap

Last Saturday (April 9th) was our third SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities event. It was fabulous! The event involved:

7 months of planning
16 sponsors
20 sessions; 2 half-day deep dives
260+ attendees
50 gallons of coffee served

We started off Friday afternoon with setup at Normandale Community College. We had an oustanding team, and managed to get everything ready in record time! Thanks to Colleen Haviland, Mary Neumann, Angela Spores, Cyndi & Irene Kesler, Wes Preston, Raymond Mitchell, Cheryl Lesser, Don Donais and Chaitanya Khaladkar for all your help.

Next up, speaker dinner at Tavern On France. Was great to get the chance to meet some new folks, including Troy Ronning, Sean McDonough, Jason Trent and Carlos Valcarcel. Had a great dinner, hilarious conversation with Wes Preston, Raymond Mitchell et. al. and a to-die-for piece of chocolate cake.

We stayed after the speaker dinner for SharePint. We’ve never had the SharePint on the night before the event, but attendance was great. We had 25-30 attendees drop by (including Johnny Harbieh, Becka Armagost, Fred Baer, Jennifer Devens & Nick Giuliano) to kick things off. By far, the best SharePint we’ve had at SPSTC. Look for us to continue the Friday night trend on that in the future.

Day-of event, the planning committee was on-site at 7 am. The vendor area was humming by 7:30, and by 8:15 attendees were streaming in. We had 6-7 people covering registration, but the people kept coming! We ran out of attendees t-shirts by 8:45 am and were thrilled to smash our earlier attendance records! In October 2010 we had 150 attendees. It’s amazing how quickly we’ve grown to the 300 attendee mark.

We kicked off the day with the Welcome session and the top 10 list why SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities rocks. Here it is:

10. We have a cool hashtag – #spstc

9. We have 30 hours of presentations by 20 speakers. Sorry, though, there’s no session on splitting yourself like an amoeba. You can only go to 1 session at a time.

8. We’ve doubled our previous record for attendees. (This means even more people for you to follow on Twitter!)

7. Fitness is no longer a part of SharePoint Saturday. You don’t have to walk miles from the parking lot to the sessions.

6. Free food! With healthy choices. But don’t panic, we still have unhealthy choices.

5. Sponsors! Sponsors! Sponsors! Stop by their booth and say, “Thanks for the free event.”

4. We’ll track down presentations for you and upload them to our SharePoint site.

3. You don’t have to go outside to get to any of the sessions. (Inside joke for any of you that attended SPSTC at the University of Minnesota.)

2. You don’t have to fight Gopher fans (or take out a second mortgage) to get a parking spot.

1. You can win a Kinect! And we’ll even give you the Xbox to go with it.

Once we kicked things off, the day flew by. Attendees flooded the session rooms and visited the vendor booths. Lunch included networking and a chance to play the Kinect. My session, “I need some ROI…but I have no idea where to begin!” provided a great opportunity to get to know attendees (and their organizations) a bit better.

We finished off the day with a wrap/giveaway party. We had a bunch of Best Buy gift cards, educational books/DVDs, SharePoint Saturday shirts, an iPod shuffle and the Xbox/Kinect. Congrats to all the winners!

After the event was over, a few of us went to Khan’s Mongolian Barbeque. A perfect way to sum up the weekend. Am looking forward to the next SharePoint Saturday–after a bit of rest.

A couple of final notes:

I want to thank my volunteer team for all their help in making this event a grand success. We couldn’t do it without you!

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