Governance is the Foundation of SharePoint Success

Governance is the Foundation of SharePoint Success

When you hear about implementing or enhancing a SharePoint deployment, one confusing concept that comes up is governance. It’s a confusing term and it can be intimidating, perhaps because its not entirely clear what it means, or perhaps because it brings connotations of regular front page headlines of this governing body or that governing body in gridlock, wars of words, and low approval ratings. Who wants to contemplate a concept like that? The short answer is: you do and the process doesn’t need to be as intimidating as the name sounds.

From the Rand Group perspective, a governance plan is a framework for the everyday usage of your SharePoint site. Think of it as the rails on which your SharePoint deployment runs. The goal for the plan is not to govern what happens in each train car, merely to lay out the tracks on which it runs so that your SharePoint train gets to the place your organization intended.
A governance plan is a living thing, memorialized in a document and managed according to a set of guidelines that makes sense for your organization.

Microsoft provides some great resources on what goes into a SharePoint governance plan here.

What actually gets included depends on what makes sense for your organization. It is quite possible to get into the spirit of creating a governance plan and throw in the whole kitchen sink, but the best governance plans contain just enough to cover the elements you care about, and not more. Hence, the plan being a living thing – it will change as you add new features and types of content to your site, as your organizational policies evolve, and as you discover what works and does not for your particular implementation. Here are some of the typical items included:

  1. Overview of plan and methodology:
    • Team Members
    • Communication styles
    • Process for updates
    • Etc.
  2. Content Lifecycle Management
  3. Policies (Sandbox, requesting new sites, etc.)
  4. Development Guidelines
  5. Training
  6. Support
  7. Taxonomy Control/Governance
  8. Security

To determine what goes into your governance plan and build one out, we typically follow a methodology similar to the following:

  1. Complete first round of requirements meetings before starting on governance
  2. Ensure proper scope for governance plan
  3. Form governance group and kickoff governance effort
  4. Hold focused governance meetings with appropriate stakeholders
  5. Develop draft of plan and review with governance group
  6. Update as necessary to finalize plan
  7. Determine rhythm for regular governance plan review and updates (part of governance plan)

A SharePoint governance plan is really the basis of success for any SharePoint implementation, and a step that must not be ignored. To learn more about governance plans or if you have any questions, send me a message. I’m happy to talk.

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