Amending Oleson & Wagner’s 2007 SharePoint governance plan from a Records perspective (Part 1)

By Mimi Dionne posted 07-07-2010 08:48



When I was a girl, some family friends divorced. An old and poignant story, I thought I’d heard all the details as they unfolded. I was wrong. As shocking as the separation was at the time, I learned recently that during their trial separation each spouse individually visited my parents to demand public statements of loyalty from them as a condition of continuing friendship.  The threat was clear: the only way Mom and Dad would keep either person as a friend was through a public declaration of who they loved the most. I know this caused my parental units great worry and consternation—neither take any relationship for granted.  When I asked them how they arrived at the right answer, I was proud and impressed by my parents’ choice: after a great deal of thought and conference, when asked by the gossip channel later who Mom and Dad supported, they took the sides of the children.

To hear this story as an adult is to provide me with context for what has become my professional mission: when a records decision should be made, I think about what’s best for the records.  Caring for records is like caring for children—each record is individual, has its own personality, and has a life that must be supported to the end. It’s our job to nurture a record as best we can.  This place is a lonely and unpopular place at times (like a Greek chorus, I’ve overheard, “Nobody cares anyway!” in more than one culture).  I might feel it acutely, but I’m no less resolute.  If you’ve got a better idea, I’m all ears—but I’m going to take the side of the records.

Which is one of the reasons why I’ve strongly objected to MOSS 2007 Records Center as a viable storage option for records.  Thanks to excellent, hard working optimists like Don Leuders, we understand why the Records Center in MOSS 2007 is inadequate-but-better-than-nothing. Commercial off the shelf (COTS) configuration is a good, first effort; however, if Records wants to set up e-records management more closely to best practices, the architecture requires more customization than most IT departments are comfortable with implementing.  John Holliday’s helpful step-by-step guidance notwithstanding, in this era of strained resources, my IT departments have shied away from it like Mizaru, Mikazaru, and Mazaru. The level of effort can’t be justified--isn’t COTS good enough?

Looking closely at the 2007 governance template from Joel Oleson & Mark Wagner, early in the document I already notice we’re missing.  Under the roles and responsibilities of the strategy team we have words like visionary (this person “surveys the portal landscape, developing and directing its future direction”) and evangelist (“serves as cheerleader for the portal technology and what it can do for the business”) but not Records and Information Manager. One of the biggest stakeholders in the entire project is summarily brushed aside.  Document management, content management…no Records Management.  It can’t be because identifying records is simple. I’ve sat in many local SharePoint user group meetings where programmers bemoan, “but what IS a record? How do we capture it all?”

AHA! At last I hear what I’ve longed to hear! Step aside, sir, I’m about to get all Certified Records Manager on your [fill in your preferred word of choice here]…

I think one of the reasons that the RIMgr was left out of principal considerations in MOSS 2007’s Records Center is the simplicity of the Records Center architecture (!). I can hear the programmer now, ducking his head shyly like the Good Ole’ Boys I grew up with below the Smith and Wesson line in Louisiana: “aw shucks, ma’am, it’s a site collection, thazzall. No need to worry yourself about it now, we’ll get it next time.”  Thanks to vigilants like Holliday and Leuders who keep their word (see Don’s blog at as a collective we’re providing feedback and the new release teams are listening. I bet we get mentioned in at least one vendor’s 2010 governance plan template, too. Nothing to worry about--your IT department shouldn’t want to implement Records Center in MOSS 2007. Unless the IT guys call for an implementation because Something Has Happened.

So! There’s nothing for it, it seems—we’ll need to take the 2007 template apart and rewrite it from a Records perspective. Care to dance?

#ElectronicRecordsManagement #Records-Management #SharePoint #governance