Start Building a SharePoint Governance Plan in the Real World

By “THE” Benjamin Niaulin of ShareGate

The buzz word, SharePoint Governance, sure has become bigger than it actually has to be. It can almost be compared to the burden of carrying the ring in Lord of the Rings if it is assigned to you. When starting your SharePoint project, you keep hearing about how having a SharePoint Governance Plan is crucial for success, but no one tells you how to build it. Granted, Microsoft has released a lot more help on the matter than back with SharePoint 2007, but I think it’s important to have a real world example and explanations rather than just templates. So I decided to write this series of articles to help you build this SharePoint Governance Plan without over complicating things.

What is a SharePoint Governance Plan and who writes it?

SharePoint Governance Plan Real World
Let’s get some definitions out of the way. If we want to build a Governance Plan, we first need to understand what it is exactly and what purpose it serves. When I start my document, after the title and main presentation page, the first thing you will see is a summary and the objectives of the plan I am writing. Essentially, the summary is the definition of a Governance Plan:

The SharePoint Governance Plan is a guidebook outlining the administration, maintenance, and support of X Corporation’s SharePoint environments. It identifies lines of ownership for both business and technical teams, defining who is responsible for what areas of the system. Furthermore it establishes rules for appropriate usage of the SharePoint environments.

Recognize the text? It comes from Microsoft’s sample governance plan but is a great way to start off ours as well.

But then, who should be in charge of writing this important document? The question I am often asked is “Should it be done by the Business or by IT?” and my answer is simple. It should be done by whomever is most knowledgeable on the SharePoint Platform and in most cases, that’s IT.

SharePoint Governance will vary based on company maturity

SharePoint Governance Plan Real World
Back in the days of SharePoint 2010, I had written an article on SharePoint Governance that can help you get a head start while I build this article series. The article stresses how important it is to build a plan, but that it doesn’t have to be a complicated one for it to be successful.

We’ve established that a SharePoint Governance can be made out to be very complicated or as we saw in my article above, simple. The thing is, this will vary based on the company’s maturity with SharePoint, and often its’ size. Larger enterprises will not have the same needs as a smaller or medium-sized company.

Therefore, you need to take this into consideration while you read this article, not everything will apply to you. The goal of the article is to help you get started with your SharePoint Project and setting up a Governance plan to help make it a success.

The famous « We want to Collaborate » at the beginning of the project

SharePoint Governance Plan Real World
In an ideal world, you know exactly what SharePoint does and what you plan to do with it. Whether it is to build an Intranet with the Publishing Feature or Team Sites to facilitate collaboration with very specific goals. Unfortunately, it often isn’t what we are facing when talking to either our customers or management. Here is what I hear sometimes:

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