Governance in SharePoint – Part 3

In Governance in SharePoint – Part 1 I focussed on some of the key thoughts, definitions and critical factors of developing and implementing SharePoint governance. Part 2 explored some of the best practical and theoretical frameworks I’ve come across to effectively apply SharePoint governance. This article will identify some of the main aspects for consideration when creating a SharePoint governance plan and part 4 will highlight some of the main out-of-the-box features that can be harnessed in SharePoint to implement governance policies, standards and procedures.

One of the things that tends to lack in a lot of the theoretical frameworks is what should actually be considered within each ‘Pillar’, ‘Process’, ‘Stage’ or ‘Phase’. That’s not to say that this information doesn’t exist – it certainly does and in huge quantities – and with any luck, this post will go some of the way to bridging the gap between the theory and practical points. To reference this post accurately would be largely impossible considering notes were taken through trawling across numerous sites, blogs, books and white papers and collated at the end, so rather than even attempt to do so what I will do is list a number of resources not reflected anywhere else in this governance series at the end of this post.

When thinking of the most logical way to structure this post i’ve decided to grab one of the theories from my previous post and very loosely categorise the items within those Pillars. I’ve chosen Ant Clay’s 5 Pillars of SharePoint Governance as it most clearly aligns with the majority of items I have to list. I’ve also chosen to expand on some of the possible roles that may exist when governing SharePoint – I suggest reading some of the referenced links towards the end of this post to expand on why they may exist.

Possible Roles when Governing SharePoint

  • Executive sponsor/stakeholders
  • Governance board/steering committee:  Financial stakeholders, IT leaders, Business owners
  • Compliance officers
  • Change management
  • Stakeholder management
  • Project management
  • Business analysis
  • Solution administrator
  • Development team
  • Infrastructure and operations team
  • Technology support team
  • Metadata steering committee/content steward (IA or taxonomists)
  • Trainers
  • SharePoint coach or centre of excellence (provides evangelism, mentoring, support)
  • Power users community of practice
  • Site owners
  • Site users

Things to Consider when Creating a Governance Plan

IT assurance

  • Establish hardware requirements
  • Ensure the physical environment (secure hardware, ensure environment temperature etc)
  • Establish farm topology and configuration requirements
  • Undertake capacity planning
  • Devise a suitable backup/restore and disaster recovery plan
  • Devise failover strategies / high availability
  • Plan to hold disaster recovery drills
  • Identify and monitor sizing and storage limits (file system and database)
  • Identify and monitor the Microsoft limits and boundaries
  • Plan to perform database configuration and maintenance activities
  • Identify and implement web application policies
  • Plan to monitor error logs (Application/Security event logs and the ULS)
  • Plan to monitor SharePoint health check
  • Plan to monitor performance and perform optimisation (server and network)
  • Identify load balancing requirements
  • Plan for updates and patching
  • Ensure valid service accounts and plan for password management
  • Plan application pools for security, reliability, performance
  • Identify the content and solution deployment process
  • Determine process for allowing 3rd party solutions

Project governance

  • Consider establishing a PMO
  • Determine activities and processes required for effective project governance
  • Determine stakeholder management requirements
  • Determine change management requirements
  • Ensure an effective support and problem resolution structure is in place
  • Identify structure to implement changes and maintenance
  • Ensure the SDLC has been considered and appropriate ALM is in place
  • Determine process for code review and acceptance
  • Ensure appropriate system documentation is a part of any project phase

Information governance

  • Identify compliance requirements in terms of company policy, regulatory and legal requirements
  • Establish the terms of use (copyright, disclaimers, privacy codes)
  • Monitor and enforce copyright restrictions
  • Identify requirements for multi-language support
  • Define security requirements
  • Determine how users can request access and will be granted access
  • Maintain visibility into users’ usage and permissions
  • Consider authentication requirements (internal/external access)
  • Define SharePoint’s information architecture
  • Define the site hierarchy
  • Define navigation requirements
  • Determine how sites will be provisioned (how to request a new site, reasons for creating a new site)
  • Identify site design requirements and develop site templates
  • Establish content guidelines
  • Determine content auditing and review requirements
  • Determine versioning requirements
  • Define content retention and disposal policies
  • Establish recycle bin policies
  • Define site lifecycle management requirements (time of life, deletion, archiving)
  • Determine records retention requirements
  • Define taxonomy and metadata
  • Define content types
  • Establish user experience guidelines
  • Establish consistent branding requirements (use of themes? master pages?)
  • Ensure page layouts and content organisation
  • Determine policies around social tags and ratings
  • Determine customisation policy (SP Designer + custom code)
  • Establish consistent views for document libraries
  • Identify and implement search requirements

Technology and business alignment

  • Identify the SharePoint sponsor
  • Establish the SharePoint steering committee
  • Identify business unit participation
  • Establish the vision statement for SharePoint
  • Identify the scope and intentions of implementing SharePoint
  • Identify and agree upon the business goals
  • Define the roles and responsibilities for SharePoint
  • Determine site and content ownership, accountability and responsibility
  • Establish RTO, RPO and RLO disaster recovery requirements
  • Plan for user lifecycle management (on-boarding, transferring, termination of users)
  • Determine browser standards and support requirements
  • Define communication standards for SharePoint
  • Establish service level agreements with stakeholders
  • Determine budget and charging models

Continuous improvement

  • Establish the key performance indicators and metrics
  • Determine automated notification requirements where governance isn’t being enforced
  • Identify and implement training plans with associated governance topics
  • Determine auditing and reporting requirements
  • Ensure success of the governance process is measured consistently
  • Identify how users can provide feedback for the process
  • Determine how governance will be enforced across the board
  • Ensure all changes are sufficiently documented and updated
  • Ensure a user adoption plan has been considered and is given focus

In this post we identified some of the main roles that may exist when governing SharePoint and touched on some of the points for consideration when governing across Ant Clay’s 5 Pillars of Governance. This list should be considered far from exhaustive and is simply an example of some of the items which may be of importance – it should merely serve as a starting point to both cull and build upon to suit your organisational needs. The next post in this series, Governance in SharePoint – Part 4, will highlight some of the main out-of-the-box features that can be harnessed in SharePoint to implement governance policies, standards and procedures.


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