I attended a discussion yesterday morning of the Boston KM Forum - the topic was "Decision-Making: How Knowledge Influences Outcomes." The conversation around the table brought a bit of clarity to some SharePoint work I've been doing this week.
My company is redesigning our public website and moving it to the SharePoint platform. The infrastructure engineer who built the site in staging chose the Publishing Portal site collection template as the basis for the site. It's clear that this is a good choice for an external-facing site, however all the MOSS 2007 implementations I've worked on have been intranets built on the Collaboration Portal template - so I have been out of my comfort zone with the Publishing Portal site.
I'm running into situations where I can't build functionality into the site the way I'm used to doing, because there are fewer options for list and library templates as well as fewer web parts available. (For example, there is no Links list template out-of-box; you're steered toward using the Summary LInks control embedded in the page.)
For me it's been perplexing that this functionality isn't included up-front (you can activate the Team Collaboration Lists site feature to get the usual templates like Links and Surveys on the site); however I have been working with the site out-of-box, without enabling additional features, to see if I can do what I need to do in different ways. This has been working, and yesterday morning's conversation about "how we decide" made this more clear:
Fewer options = fewer decisions = EASIER TO USE.
The Publishing site is designed to simplify page creation and content display. It puts more emphasis on workflow (i.e. approval of page content) and less emphasis on collaborative team- or project-oriented functionality. Rather than lighting up the templates I'm used to seeing from the Collaboration Portal template, I'm going to leave the site in its out-of-box condition as long as is workable, so that the solution I'm building for the content owners is as simple to use as possible.
More blogs to come on this subject as I accumulate the Lessons Learned!