Lewin Wanzer is the author of Implementing Microsoft SharePoint 2019, we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.
Q: What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?
Lewin: SharePoint and Collaboration
Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?
Lewin: Funny thing is I was sent an email on LinkedIn from the publisher and they chose me as an author for this book. Amazing how God works!
Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
Lewin: I have been working with SharePoint for about 16 years and a lot of what I put in the book is lessons learned information over the years and also did a lot of research on 2019. I also have done a few installs of the product and recorded those experiences along with lessons learned.
Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?
Lewin: Yes, there were a few challenges and one was how do you write a book about an implementation. I looked at some others authors books and notice they go right to the technical stuff and don’t do a lot of work on what is important like planning, governance and assessment. So I made sure to include that in this book so that IT Professionals and Project Managers had something to work with as part of this experience. I also included technical information as well and as you know SharePoint has a vast amount of services and integrations so some of the deeper technical aspects I had no room to include I will include in my blog. The goal of my book was I wanted to lay out a clear path for implementation as well as have technical aspects throughout the book.
Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?
Lewin: The technologies in the book are more than what I expected from Microsoft. I remember in 2012 predicting all this coming when I heard about the Office 365 cloud but the most surprising for me was the Power Suite in Microsoft 365. It is an amazing product and it is so powerful bringing AI and I am in love with the workflow product Power Automate. I hope others will take advantage of the Microsoft 365 suite of tools because even if you do not like Microsoft, they have probably if not the best, one of the best suites of cloud tools on the market today.
Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?
Lewin: I will not say my book is the best book out there because there are some great books on the market and have been throughout SharePoint’s lifecycle. Although there are other choices for deploying SharePoint 2019, my book will help you make it through the process of implementing the product from start to finish. It will guide you as it gives you questions and answers to some tough areas that are not necessarily technical that you need to think about before moving forward. It provides guidance and things to look for from a planning, governance and assessment aspect which is the most important thing you need when implementing SharePoint. You can be a technical wizard but if you do not address these aspects during your implementation it will fail. Tech know how is documented all throughout the book but I find in other books you won’t find a lot of steps of guidance for successfully implementing the product. I also found this to be true when traveling during my tenure at Microsoft as a PFE. 99% of the customers I visited had no planning, governance or put much or any effort into these areas. It was all based on tech and getting the product out the door and installed quickly. You cannot afford to do that with SharePoint because it will cost you later when you have already released it to you user community.
Q. What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away from the book with?
Lewin: Guidance would be the key takeaway from this book. Its a guide to help you understand what you are facing, things to be aware of and how this version of SharePoint and the Cloud all come together.
Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?
Lewin: One of the best things you can do is invest in your learning. I started out with SharePoint buying three cheap servers on eBay and installing SharePoint over and over again until I understood it. I then played with the sites and features and learned it basically on my own with some guidance from blogs. In those days of 2007 SharePoint there weren’t many blogs and Microsoft actually didn’t have much guidance on the web site. This product came out of no where and it boomed very quickly. So, my advice is buy a server if you are focused on on-premises installation and follow the book to guide you through the installation process until you understand what SharePoint can provide, how it works under the hood and integrations that come along with the technology.
Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?
Lewin: Although I have not updated my blog in a couple years I am going to get back to it again. I already have written a few posts for SharePoint 2019 and Microsoft 365 which I plan to post in the next month or two. I will update this interview and other areas of social media once I publish more content.
Q. Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?
Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?
Lewin: The process I went through with Packt was very easy for me. Although my time was limited in some cases they were understanding and worked with me. I can’t thank them enough for giving me the opportunity to release this book. This has been a very rewarding experience.
Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?
Lewin: Yes, I do belong to a few technology communities. Since Covid has hit I have not gone to any meetings but once this virus is no longer around I plan on doing speaking engagements and getting more involved in the community again.
Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?
Lewin: I read a lot of tech books but when I do research I find some blogs that I use frequently like SharePoint Diary, Vladtalkstech, SharePoint Maven and Microsoft tech blogs and product guidance. There are some others but these stand out as some of the most used when I am looking for answers.
Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?
Lewin: It was tough for me to prioritize this book and taking the time to write. I was in the middle of a 2013 to 2013 cloud to cloud 15TB migration at the time for a company and my time was limited. I was doing this project alone with no help under a lot of pressure because the project was months behind. I had come on board later in the project so it had been at a standstill when I got on board. This made this even more time consuming and there was no time to do anything correctly as we were forced to migrate once I came up with a plan of action. So taking time out for writing was very tough so one of the things I did was jot down ideas as I went along and then wrote about them during my time off. This helped me push through the book a lot faster and with the help of Angel this process really went a lot faster. I appreciate her finding the time to help on this project as I know she was under the same constraints.
Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?
Lewin: The most crucial tip I can give from me was making sure not to repeat myself. I find that when I write I may say the same thing twice in a different way in the same paragraph. You will see in the book I do bring up topics later in the book that were covered in the beginning of the book so it references an important step but within the same paragraph we want to be precise on what we say so it is understood completely.
You can find Lewin’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here