Effective Sharepoint Governance : A must for Sustaining the Success.

Like any IT project, Sharepoint projects can have successful launch if you deliver a solution that meets all the Stakeholder Requirements – on time, with Quality and within Budget. However, to maintain the success of your Sharepoint project in long run, you need an important tool in your hand- An Effective Governance Plan.Governance Framework

If you find that your project is suffering from any of the below problems, it is largley due to the lack of an effective Governance in place :

  • Inappropriate usage of the Sharepoint Solution.
  • Information mess & End-user confusion.
  • Degrading User experience and overall Quality over time.
  • A lot of Infrastructure and configuration issues.
  • SharePoint Solution becomes unstable every now and then.
  • Reduced adoption of the Sharepoint Solution.

An effective Governance Plan is vital for the ongoing success of your SharePoint projects. Be advised that , Governance Plan is important but is not all you need to ensure success. A governance plan alone will not ensure the success of your project. You still have to make sure that the governance plan is applied. However, not having a governance plan or having a plan that is either impractical or unrealistic is a clear indication for failure.

What is Governance all about

Governance is one of hot buzzwords for the enterprise IT Systems today.Below is the Microsoft definition of Governance and is a good definition actually :

“Governance is the set of policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that guide, direct, and control how an organization’s business divisions and IT teams cooperate to achieve business goals”

The importance of Governance is also emphasized by many standard IT management frameworks, like ITIL , COBIT and MOF

Why Governance is Vital

The mission of SharePoint Governance is to ensure that :

  • Expectation of your stakeholders are met, not just after you deliver the project but also in long run.
  • Consistency and performance of your Sharepoint Solution is maintained,
  • The risks to your project are avoided and mitigated – specially when your Sharepoint Solution is live and starts Operating.
Governance planning becomes more important for SharePoint Projects because SharePoint is designed to empower end users who are typically not IT experts and may not be aware of best practices required for the smooth operation of the Sharepoint Solution.

Take an example of collaboration portal you developed on Sharepoint. The portal is only as good as the value of its underlying content. An effective governance plan is essential to ensure that the portal delivers worthwhile content to its users in an effective way.For the portal to maintain its success, you need a Governance plan that establishes the processes and roles required to :

■ Ensure the content on the Portal  is periodically reviewed for accuracy and relevance by defining a content and site review process.
■ Ensure that content quality is maintained for the life of the Portal by implementing content quality management policies.
■ Provide a consistently high-quality user experience by defining guidelines for Content and UI designers.
■ Establish a decision-making board and escalation procedures to deal with policy violations and conflicts
■ Ensure that content on the Portal is retained in compliance with retention guidelines and policies.

An effective governance can help to:

  • Manage the Stakeholder expectations for what the SharePoint Solution is being used for.
  • Ensure the performance and availability of SharePoint Solution.
  • Protect the Sharepoint Solution from inappropriate usage that will introduce threat to Stability and Consistency.
  • Avoid or Mitigate the risks
  • Understand the impact of change and Control Change.
  •  Etablish the definition of the good and bad and deal with it accordingly
 How to plan for Governance

The first step to Governance is to have a solid  Plan Document that outlines :

■ Vision statement
■ Roles and responsibilities
■ Guiding principles
■ Policies and standards

To start preparing the governance plan, you should build a team ( ideally the stakeholders should be part of it)  to help define the key decisions or principle for Governance and then divide up the work to among them. The team should include representatives from IT, Development, Quality , Training, Human resources, Corporate communications and the people responsible for knowledge management in your organization.

The Governance principles or decisions will vary in according to Project requirements.

Below are a few ideas :

  • The established security policies and principles will apply fully to the SharePoint Solution.
  • Navigational techniques, language, processes, branding, and so on, must be standardized across the SharePoint Solution to provide a consistent user experience.
  •  The SharePoint Solution should be used for the purpose for which it was designed and implemented
  • All content must have a Owner who is ultimately responsible for content management.
  • Copyrighted material will not be added without the proper authorizations.
  • The priority order for adding new functionality into the SharePoint Solution should be as follows:

1. Out-of-the-box Implementation
2. Third-party tools
3. Development

Here is a sample Governance Plan for your reference.

For more insights on Sharepoint Governance , I would recommend below sources:

TechNet : Sharepoint Governance Overview

The Five Pillars of SharePoint Governance

SharePoint Governance Strategy

SharePoint Governance: What You Need to Know to Put a Plan Together

One Response to “Effective Sharepoint Governance : A must for Sustaining the Success.”
  1. Akash says:

    Very informative. Keep posting :-)

  2. [...] Sharepoint provides capabilities that are almost unsurpassed and empowers with , both – wide & deep- range of flexibilities. This is the power of Sharepoint, but in absence of Governance , it can cause big issues. Governance is very important to ensure that your solution is ‘long lived’. I have written entire post on it : Effective Sharepoint Governance : A must for Sustaining the Success [...]

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