MVP for the 10th Year!

MVP_Logo_Secondary_Blue288_RGB_300ppiFor me July 1st has always been an anxious day.  No matter how many times I’ve been awarded as an MVP I’m always nervous when my anniversary comes around and its time to be evaluated for a re-award. This year I am being joined by all the other MVPs as Microsoft consolidates and makes July 1st the re-award date for everyone.  But other changes in the program made this year’s wait more disconcerting than normal.  You can now have community contributions noted in multiple areas, but that also means that your contributions may be diluted by being split up.  But for the 10th year Microsoft has decided that my contributions to the SharePoint and Office 365 community were sufficient to earn  me an MVP award again for the category of “Office Servers and Services”.  In the coming year I will continue to focus on SharePoint and Office 365. But this year I hope to also expand by digging back into Dynamics CRM, especially how it integrates with Office 365.

I continue to start each day by answering a few questions on the MSDN and TechNet Forums.  But am also hoping to expand my presence on the public Yammer forums and the Microsoft Tech Community.  As a former trainer I still get excited by providing answers to interesting questions for people. Finding the answers to these questions often teaches me new things about SharePoint and Office 365.  I’m also looking forward to continuing to share what I know at several conferences this year.  I’m always looking for new topics that people would like to hear about.  If you have a question or a topic then drop me a line and my next talk may be inspired by you.

I’m also always inspired by my friends and colleagues in the MVP program.  The knowledge they have continues to amaze me and its a definite advantage to have so many intelligent friends. This last year has seen a number of my MVP friends leave the program to join Microsoft as employees. That is a constant reminder of all the great people who work for Microsoft.  Being able to network with them is also a great privilege.

But the bottom line is still that I wouldn’t be an MVP if it weren’t for all of you out there in the SharePoint community. Its been great to meet all of you in person and thanks for all the questions that you’ve asked. As long as you keep asking questions and listening to me at conferences I’ll keep trying to learn more and share what I’ve learned with all of you.  Without you I wouldn’t be receiving this award. I hope to continue to live up to the honor and hope that I never get complacent about what its really about: Helping to support the SharePoint and Office 365 community.

Office 365 Groups: Default Sharing Settings Relaxed

Office365GroupsWhen Office 365 Groups first shipped sharing with External Users was disabled.  Over time that default policy was changed to allow sharing with External Users who were already in your Azure AD.  In other words you could share with External Users IF you had already shared something else in your environment with that External User.  Based on user feedback this default sharing policy is being further relaxed to allow sharing with any Authenticated External User.  Anonymous Guest links will still not be allowed.

This change will apply to all Office Group sites that are created in the future, but will not apply to existing Office Group sites.  To apply the new default to existing Office Group sites use the following PowerShell:

Set-SPOSite -Identity `
     -SharingCapability ExternalUserSharingOnly

You can also revert new Office Group sites back to the more restrictive setting using the following PowerShell:

Set-SPOSite -Identity `
     -SharingCapability ExistingExternalUserSharingOnly

This change will loosen the security settings in Office 365 somewhat, but should also make the experience more predictable since it matches the setting in most other sites that allow External Sharing.  So as long as you are aware of the change it should be a good move.

SharePoint Fest – Denver Wrap-up, Slides, and Demos

My wife and I really enjoyed our visit to Denver last week.  The conference attendees were great and asked a lot of good questions at both of my sessions.  It was a pleasure to feel that I was sharing information that people really wanted to learn about.  It was even more exciting because this was my first chance to present under the logo of my own company.  As you’ve probably seen on my web site I’ve left Blue Chip Consulting and launched my own one man firm under then name Don’t Pa..Panic Consulting.  The Denver conference was just two weeks after deciding to go independent.  So everything looked bright and shiny and new, to go with my new business cards.

The one thing that didn’t go well were the demos in my DLP talk.  Despite checking them the night before, the SharePoint sites I was using for demos refused to load during my talk.  I also tried demoing creating a new custom DLP policy and although that worked perfectly at 6:30 AM, when trying it for my talk PowerShell threw an error saying it couldn’t find the Exchange endpoint on the server.  So I promised to spend some time this week recording the demos and making them available here.  Note: I’m still working on the recordings, but they will be up soon.

I also promised to make my slides available, so I’ve uploaded them here.  They are also available on the SharePoint Fest Denver site for attendees.  If you have any follow-up questions please email me at  You can download a copy of the slides from each talk using the links below:

ECM 104 – OneDrive for Business: How to manage Sharing and Syncing with the Next Gen client

ECM 203 – Protecting your Content: Demystifying Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in SharePoint

DLP Demos

Demo1: Creating Compliance Policy & eDiscovery Centers

More Soon !

What’s in a Name?

HitchhikersGuideI’ve been using the Don’t Pa..Panic brand for my individual work for almost 20 years now. The common reaction I get to the name is the question; “Oh, are you a Douglas Adams fan too?” I do happen to be a fan of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. (For those of you who don’t get the analogy all I can say is “Read the Book”).  But that’s not where the name comes from.

Actually, it all starts back in the 70’s when I met my wife.  In those days we were idealistic college students who believed firmly in the “Women’s Liberation” movement. So when we got married at the end of college we naturally decided to preserve her family name as a married couple.  So I ended up with a new middle name that is pronounced “Pah-Paa-Neck”.  My wife had already coined the name of the company as a slogan when she ran for an elected position as a freshman. She says her prior use of the name gives her the copyright, but she lets me use it as long as I make her a Vice President in the company.  But that’s OK.  She’s been an incredible partner for over 40 years of marriage so being a VP is a minor concession.

But in addition to being a play on words the name actually means something.  The goal of my consulting company is to help bring sense and order to an otherwise chaotic business climate.  The pace of change keeps accelerating and sometimes its hard for business leaders to know where to go next.  The goal of Don’t Pa..Panic Consulting is to help provide a roadmap to implementing collaboration systems that will transform your company, and to do it all with a level head and a minimum of Panic.

So hang in there, don’t panic, and give me a call.

SharePoint Fest – DC Wrap-up and Slides

SPFDC17PortalBadgev2I continue to feel honored that SharePoint Fest invites me to present at their conferences.  The most recent even was in DC a couple weeks ago.  The attendees were great and both of my talks were well received. As always I really enjoyed the conference and the discussions I had with attendees and the other presenters. This is one of the few times each year that I get to see a lot of my friends who live all over the world.  The next conference is in Denver in June.  I hope to see you there.

I had lots of attendees at both sessions who asked for the slides so I’ve uploaded them here.  They are also available on the SharePoint Fest DC site.  If you have any follow-up questions please email me at  You can download a copy of the slides from each talk using the links below:

BV 202 – SharePoint 2016: What’s New and Why should I Upgrade?

ECM 104 – Protecting your Content: Demystifying Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in SharePoint 2016