SharePoint Governance: Putting Your Plan into Action

By Matthew Bretzius posted 06-27-2013 10:09


This is a guest post by Jeremy Thake, AvePoint Chief Architect and Microsoft SharePoint Most Valuable Professional (MVP)

(Note: This is part of our series “Collaborate with Confidence”. Previous posts: SharePoint Governance: How Much Does Your Organization Need and How to Enforce It

The most daunting part of putting together a governance plan may be the step in which you actually attempt to implement it within your organization. You’ve got everything written and planned out on paper, but now it’s time to actually put everything in motion. In order to make SharePoint governance seem more tangible and actionable, organizations can follow a few best practices for governance plan development and implementation, as outlined by AvePoint Director of Client Services Randy Williams in his white paper, “How to Implement an Effective SharePoint Governance Plan:

Start Small
Don’t try and implement your entire governance plan all at one time. Start with a small subset of the plan, and then work to grow and evolve with your business plans for SharePoint.

Evaluate Readiness
Your governance policies should match the readiness and maturity level of your company’s SharePoint environment and its people.

Form a Governance Board
Like many other aspects of an organization’s business, boards are created to ensure that necessary growth and goals are met over a course of time. SharePoint is a business and technical solution, so it makes sense to have a cross-functional board of business users and IT personnel that develop the governance plan. Membership should include key departments that are affected by the SharePoint solution.

Answer Common Questions
It’s a near certainty that your users will ask a variety of questions during the adoption process as they really delve into SharePoint for the first time. In order to provide the most detailed and comprehensive governance plan for your organization, it is important to answer all of these common questions as they come up. Doing so will provide clear guidance to your users while helping to push SharePoint adoption.

Can You Enforce It?
You cannot just assume that your users will always do the right thing, knowingly or unknowingly, so you must be sure that your governance policy is enforceable. If not, it becomes weak and ineffective. You should avoid defining governance policies in areas where you can’t enforce them.

Keep Your Governance Plan Fresh
Just because you started small and put your plan in to place does not mean you can set it to auto-pilot and let it take care of itself forever. You need to give your plan the necessary attention so that it grows with your organization’s needs. Your governance board should meet at least once a quarter to examine your plan and discuss any revisions it thinks are needed.

It’s important to think of your governance plan like planting a tree – just because you plant the seed doesn’t mean you can just walk away and leave it to survive on its own. Sometimes you’ll have to water it to help it grow, and other times you’ll have to prune it back to ensure it’s not getting too big and budding out of control. If you pay attention and nurture it along the way, you’ll end up with a sturdy governance plan that is enforceable and suits your organization’s needs.

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