Friday, November 24, 2017

Scratch your own itch

pexels-photo-145985

The length and breadth of cloud services like Azure and Office 365 continue to grow. This size can be very intimidating for those starting their journey with these tools. A very common question I get is, “where do I start?”.

Many people’s first attempt at learning these technologies is simply too general. Just wanting to “learn Office 365” for example has too many entry points. I would suggest that your best option is to bring a specific project or need to your learning process.

For me, this was the need to create a process for migrating SharePoint on premises to Office 365 which I detailed here:

I finally get Microsoft Azure

I’ve seen others do things like move their accounting system into Azure or a third party service running on Windows or Linux. What about using Microsoft Flow to automate a manual process in your business? Even if the project you want to tackle has nothing to actually do with something in your business, bringing a very specific challenge to cloud services that you need to solve will accelerate your learning.

Of course, this learning process is going to result in many failures and frustrations. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve had to redo something because I ‘stuffed up’ or the amount of time I have invested in solving something that in fact, turned out to have a very simple resolution. All of that is simply part of the learning process and something you’ll need to accept will happen.

As they say, in the process of learning there is never really any failures. It is all simply knowledge accumulation and if nothing else it shows you want not to do next time. Once you embrace this, wrong steps remain frustrating but actually give you a renewed energy to find the right solution.

However, it is too easy to become dishearten if you don’t have a specific goal you want to achieve. Having no or ill defined goals doesn’t provide the focus when you want to give up as it gets ‘tough’ in my experience. So, from the start, set out to solve something specific and I thing you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the result.