D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Creating A User Group: Winnipeg Sharepoint UG Case Study

Sunday, November 16, 2008 1:13 PM

In my last post, I talked about how to start a user group and what the steps were to get it going. In this post I’ll talk about how we got our SharePoint user group up and running in less than a week.

November 10

Juan Larios emailed myself, Eric Legault, and Gerald Danais about getting a SharePoint group going. We had discussed this idea on and off as a group over the last few months, but now we were ready to actually make it happen!

We discussed that we’d aim for a January 09 event, seeing as how December is a poor month to start a group in.

November 12

I got an email from Ed Musters (site / blog) (MVP, Sharepoint MCTS, President of Toronto .NET User Group) saying he’d be in town the last week in November and would be willing to do a talk. Opportunity was knocking, and loudly. I quickly emailed the guys and we decided to try and get our first SharePoint User Group event to happen November 25th.

At this point we had two of the four things needed to get a user group going:
- A speaker
- A date

Now we just needed a venue and then start getting the word out.

November 14

We had two leads for a venue booking: one through a local college (which looks to be our permanent home), and a second at a conference room in my office building that I have access to reserve. Both were free, and because of time constraints we booked the conference room. We had our third of the four things: a venue.

November 16

The last thing we needed was to get the word out and build hype. Because of my involvement with the Winnipeg .NET User Group, I was able to get a blurb about the SharePoint group out in their last email blast for the WNUG November event. I also did up a PDF to send to my list of contacts at various organizations to help spread the word. We’ll also be blogging this of course.

Now, we also were able to do a few other things on short notice to help round out the event. Although not required, it is a good idea to provide food for the event…especially if you’re going to be going over dinner time. Gerald and Eric own their own companies, and offered to sponsor the food for the event.

We also put in a word to Microsoft letting them know, and they’re going to see if any swag can be sent on short notice for our kickoff meeting.

Next Steps

We have some next steps that we’ll be able to work on over December in preparation for the January event. Things like setting up a bank account, getting more sponsors on board, associating with INETA, and finalizing our event location. But you can see that with a dedicated group of people, it really doesn’t take long to get something like this up and running. If you’ve been thinking about getting a user group going, don’t think you need to get all your ducks in a row before moving on the idea…get the basics down and get the group going, then focus on the other items.



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