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Sharepoint 2010 : Planning for Governance (part 3) - What Is in the Governance Plan - Guiding Principles

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2/7/2014 2:20:49 AM

3.3 Guiding Principles

Guiding principles define organizational preferences supporting the vision. These critical statements reflect best practices that all users and site designers must understand and internalize to ensure the success of your solution. It is very likely that your organization will share many of the same guiding principles that we’ve seen in successful SharePoint deployments.

Use the examples shown in Table 3 to help define a starter set of guiding principles for your solution. Think about how you might create some supplemental reference material to help users internalize these principles—or consider adding a “principle of the day” to the home page of your solution. If users have a good understanding of the guiding principles, you have a reasonable shot at getting them to follow your governance guidelines.

Table 3. Examples of Guiding Principles
Governance Guiding PrincipleImplicationRemember ...
General Principles
Policies are tied to the scope and intention of the site. Governance policies will be more flexible for sites with more limited access than they will for sites that are shared with a broad audience.The different audiences for sites allow you to adapt the governance model according to business needs. While some policies will be enforced across the entire organization, others may be determined by each site owner. This means that there may be some content that will not be as structured or searchable compared to other content that will be consistently “managed.”One size does not fit all. Yes, we’ve got rules, but we’re smart enough to know when it’s appropriate to deviate from a standard in order to achieve a business objective more effectively.
Even though SharePoint may be a new vehicle for collaboration, SharePoint content is governed by all general policies pertaining to the use of IT resources, including privacy, copyright, records retention, confidentiality, document security, and so on.Content ownership, security, management, and contribution privileges are distributed across the entire organization, including users who may not have had content contribution, security, or records management privileges in the past. All content contributors need to be aware of organization policies for business-appropriate use of IT resources.Existing rules still apply—would you want your mother/boss/customer/client to see this picture? Should your mother/boss/customer/client be able to see this content?
Security Principles
Overall firm security policies about who can see what content still apply and govern the portal.Users need to think about where content is published to ensure that confidential content is only shared on sites with limited access.Publish to meet the “need to know” standards for your organization: No more, no less!
Role-based security will govern access control and permissions on each area of the portal (intranet and extranet).Users may have different permissions on different areas of the portal, which has an implication for both governance and training. While most users may not have content contribution privileges for tightly governed intranet pages, every user has Full Control privileges on his or her My Site.You may not have the same permissions on every page of the portal.
Site Design Principles
Provide a consistent user experience—users should be able to consistently find key information on any collaboration site and search for the content they need.All sites will also follow a consistent baseline design template to ensure consistency and usability across collaboration sites.Hey—it’s not about you, it’s about the user!
Design to minimize training requirements for end users—use the best (and simplest) feature for each business objective.Any user with site design privileges will be encouraged to participate in training to ensure that they use the most appropriate Web Parts and lists for each task.Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. You don’t really need to try every new feature!
Ensure that “findability” governs design decisions—optimize metadata and site configuration to provide the best value for the end-user audience, not just the content contributor.In situations where design trade-offs must be considered (more metadata versus less, information above or below “the fold,” duplicating links in multiple places), decisions should be made to make it easier for end users rather than content contributors. “Findability” means designing sites so that important information is easily visible and that navigational cues are used to help users easily find key information. It also means using metadata to improve accuracy of search results. Both the “browse” and “search” experience for users will guide design decisions in initial site development and modification over time.Avoid building the roach motel—where content “checks in” but it never “checks out.”
Site designers must understand the objectives of the recommended site design standards and make changes only when they can be justified with a valid business need.Even though site designers may have permissions that allow them to make changes to site templates and other “controlled” site areas, they agree not to arbitrarily make changes to the basic site templates based on personal preference. Suggestions for changes to the standard site templates should be elevated to the Governance/Steering Committee.It’s all about Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Use your powers wisely.
All sites/pages must have a clearly identified content “owner.”Users need to know who to contact if information on a page or site is out of date or inaccurate.Make it obvious who owns the content on all pages and sites.
Content Principles
All content is posted in just one place. Users who need access to content should create links to the document ID[*] for the document to access the content from its “authoritative” location.This means that the official version of a document is posted once by the content owner (which may be a department, not necessarily an individual). For the reader’s convenience, users may create a link to the official copy of a document from anywhere in SharePoint but should not post a “convenience copy.” Users should not post copies of documents to their personal hard drives or My Sites if they exist elsewhere in the solution.Post one copy of a document.
Edit in place—don’t delete documents to create new versions.Version control will be enabled in document libraries where prior versions need to be retained during document creation or editing. If prior versions need to be retained permanently for legal purposes, “old” versions of documents should be stored in an archive location or library. Documents will be edited in place rather than deleted and re-added so that document links created by other users will not break.Someone may be linking to your documents. Update, don’t delete!
Site Sponsors/Owners are accountable, but everyone owns the responsibility for content management.All content posted to a site shared by more than a small team will be governed by a content management process that ensures content is accurate, relevant, and current. Site Sponsors/Owners are responsible and accountable for content quality and currency and archiving old content on a timely basis, but site users are responsible for making Site Sponsors/Owners aware of content that needs updating.We’re all responsible for content management.
Links instead of e-mail attachments.Users should send links to content whenever possible rather than e-mail attachments.No more e-mail attachments!
Copyrighted material will not be added to the portal without the proper licensing or approval.Copyright violations can be very costly. This is probably one of the most frequently ignored principles on corporate intranets and one that your corporate librarian (if your organization still has one) is going to be particularly concerned about.Don’t publish what we don’t own.

[*] Document ID is a new feature in SharePoint 2010. The document ID is a unique identifier (a static URL) for the document that remains associated with the document even if it is moved to another location.

It is especially important to remember the “one size does not fit all” guiding principle when it comes to governance. Use Figure 1 to help plan both the principles and communications around your governance plan.

Figure 1. Governance based on the scope of a site

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