1. Why Is Governance Planning So Important?
A portal or collaboration solution is only as good
as the value of its underlying content. A strong governance plan is
essential to ensure that a solution delivers worthwhile content to its
users in an effective way. Moreover, governance planning is especially
important for SharePoint solutions because SharePoint is designed to
empower end users who are typically not Information Technology (IT) or
content management experts and may not be aware of best practices that
will not only improve usability but also save them a lot of time and
energy when creating and deploying new sites.
A governance plan establishes the processes and roles required to
Avoid solution, team site, and content
“sprawl” (that is, unmanaged sites and content that is not periodically
reviewed for accuracy and relevance) by defining a content and site
Ensure that content quality is maintained for the life of the solution by implementing content quality management policies.
Provide a consistently high-quality user experience by defining guidelines for site and content designers.
clear decision-making authority and escalation procedures so policy
violations are dealt with and conflicts are resolved on a timely basis.
Ensure that the solution strategy is aligned with business objectives so that it continuously delivers business value.
Ensure that content is retained in compliance with record retention guidelines.
Adoption of a new SharePoint solution often involves
a dramatic change in user behavior—specifically, greater integration of
technology into day-to-day work and increased collaboration. In more
traditional IT solution deployments, the solution business logic
changes relatively infrequently. In a SharePoint solution, both the
back-end database and business logic change frequently and often
significantly. Moreover, the business, market, and technology are
guaranteed to change during the lifetime of the solution. This implies
that business stakeholders must be continuously engaged given that
SharePoint’s ability to meet user needs is critically dependent on
areas such as data quality, content relevance and currency, and
frequent updates, all of which are business user responsibilities.
What new aspects of governance do you need to consider for SharePoint 2010?
Governance planning is even more important
in SharePoint 2010 because the increased emphasis and availability of
social computing features means there are more types of content to
SharePoint 2010 offers users a
far more participatory role in the solution information architecture
through the use of “social data” such as tags, bookmarks, and ratings.
Users need to understand and internalize the value proposition for
leveraging these features. Solution designers will likely need to
provide both guidance and encouragement for their use.
introduces new capabilities for sharing metadata across multiple Site
Collections and even server farms, which require planning and control
to leverage. An additional new role is required to manage and maintain
the dictionary of shared metadata.
2010 includes new and more user-friendly records management
capabilities, including the ability to declare a record “in place.”
While many organizations had records management plans and
policies for their MOSS 2007 implementations, enforcing and acting on
these plans was not consistent. The new records management capabilities
introduce an opportunity to create and enforce your records management
SharePoint 2010 offers many more
opportunities for users to customize their sites with easy-to-apply
themes, SharePoint Designer, and the opportunity to create “sandbox
solutions.” Your governance plan now needs to include decisions
regarding how, where, and when to allow configuration using these
the substance of the governance plan is a core component of launch
planning and the ongoing management of your SharePoint environment. It
is especially important to ensure that page and site owners understand
and commit to the content management responsibilities included in the
roles and responsibilities section of your governance plan. Integrate
relevant elements of your governance plan into the training and ongoing
support you provide for site and content owners.
2. How Do I Create a Governance Plan?
If you are documenting your governance plan for the
first time, you will probably find it most effective to put together a
small team to help define the key “framing” decisions for governance
and then divide up the work to document the details among the team
members. The team should clearly include representatives from IT who
are responsible for overall IT system use policies, but you will also
want to include representatives from the team responsible for system
maintenance within IT and outside of IT, people who can represent the
interests of those responsible for training, human resources, corporate
communications, and if this role exists, people responsible for
knowledge management in the organization.
Use the vision statement your SharePoint
project sponsors and stakeholders established as a foundation for your
governance plan. Identify the basic governance principles at a high
level before beginning to draft the actual governance plan. Meet with
team members who have the appropriate expertise to draft sections
addressing how the various aspects of your environment will be managed.
Review each major component of your plan with sponsors, stakeholders
and core team members to ensure you are in agreement about the major
components of the plan: vision, guiding principles, roles and
responsibilities, and key policy decisions.