SharePoint governance strategy in action

Based on my recent experience of the past few months implementing many SharePoint features I wanted to share the knowledge I have gained with others who may about to start what I have done.

SharePoint may be “the best sweetie shop in town” for all its range of  features for people to use but the governance raises for intranet professionals a different set of challenges.

The strategy for SharePoint governance has to be very different to other publishing or collaborative tools.

I believe there are three approaches which can give you the governance your organisation needs with SharePoint.  You don’t have to use just one but can combine some of each.  What works best for you will depend on a number of different factors.  Among them:

  • Restricting use – stopping some features from being used e.g. SharePoint Designer
  • Encouraging best practice – guidance and training available
  • Preventing problems – checking content before it is published

Each of these approaches can support your governance strategy for SharePoint.  The key is to understand what you need to use SharePoint for.

I’ll post more on the strategic benefits of each approach and some of the benefits and drawbacks you need to consider.

19 responses to “SharePoint governance strategy in action

  1. Mark

    Ref the second bullet point – an element of intranet governance at my old employer, The Open University, that I always liked was that you did not get your log in / access to the intranet (in-house developed) CMS until AFTER you had completed the half day training course.

    I think this is a good strategy whatever the tool is, but strangely enough not one I have ever seen replicated anywhere else. What do you guys do on this front ?

    • Jed,

      For our existing publishing tools, publishers must have completed training on standards compliance including usability and accessibility that need to be re-taken every two years. See more details here

      However we will need to take a different approach with SharePoint 2010 as you can publish ‘formal type’ accredited content in several ways and places without going down the route used for existing publishing tools.

      I believe making it as simple and easy to encourage the people to use the right tools with very clear guidance – podcasts, etc – to show what best practice is more appropriate than a mandatory training step which can be avoided.

      What’s your take on this?


  2. Looking forward to reading the rest Mark. We’re going down the 2010 route and unfortunately haven’t gotten the governance piece pegged down yet.

  3. Mark

    Many thanks for the response and the link to the previous article. I have no experience with 2010 yet, but I understand your comment ref making it easy for people. However some times we are bound to suffer from the “you can lead the horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” syndrome, so I think there may still be a case for some ‘mandatory’ basic training.

    Certainly I know I get requests for help from people who may have done a half days training 2 years ago when MOSS2007 was introduced into the business, but don’t use it day in and day out, and apparently would rather email me than sit through the training video’s on IT’s portal ! So of course we will never have a perfect system, and organisations and their workforces will be contextually different, but I look forward to hearing how your 2010 implementation proceeds with respect to this issue.


  4. Jed,

    Actually I do agree with you that you do need some enforcement rather than just relying on encouragement. The difficulty I’m finding with SP2010 is how is an effective way of doing this.

    In BT every person can be a site collection administrator and has a MySite and MyProfile so has the means to publish all types of content if not in the right place.

    To restrict these from ‘on demand’ to ‘by request’ or switch off features like SharePoint Designer seems the only way to be able to mandate training and it be effective.

    The loss of innovation is seen as too high a price to pay.

    Have I got the balance wrong? Am I missing something which you have used successfully?


  5. Mark

    Ref: “The loss of innovation is seen as too high a price to pay.”

    And therein lies the crux of the matter eh !

    “Have I got the balance wrong? Am I missing something which you have used successfully?” – nope, not at all, your organisation (from what I know through your writing and other public outlets) is well ahead of mine in terms of innovation. As for the balance, well I don’t have enough information to comment really. I would ask though, why is everyone given site collection admin rights – could you not allow innovative use without the blanket high level of permissions ?

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  7. Jed,

    The question “why is everyone given site collection rights?” is one that keeps being asked by people in BT without a clear decision on whether it is changed to something better such as you suggest.

    It doesn’t keep me awake at night but I do believe it will need refining if examples of poor behaviour are seen caused by the permission rights given by default.


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