Governance has become a hot topic in the SharePoint community. In my previous post I explained a few of the compelling reasons why. Now I am going to get into what governance is.
In the minds of a lot of people, governance is limited to “Thou shalt nots”. While restricting what people can do on SharePoint can be an integral part of a governance plan, thou shalt not make “Thou shalt nots” the whole story; it shouldn’t be, because if it is, you are missing a lot of valuable and powerful ways to make your SharePoint deployment successful.
Governance, as I see it, is five things – the first four are:
the rules of the road
how those rules are enforced
who is responsible for making the rules
who is responsible for enforcing them
Whoa. That was easy, wasn’t it?
Well, OK, “simple” maybe. Easy? Probably not.
I saved the best for last. The best thing about governance is it is an opportunity to align your technology with the business.
I had the wonderful opportunity last month at the Central Texas SharePoint User Group to hear Bill English talk about aligning SharePoint with the business. It was a fantastic presentation, and even if you read his linked post (which you should), I urge you to take the opportunity if you have it to hear Bill speak.
The creation of your governance plan is a great opportunity to start the conversation about making that alignment happen. In order to figure out what your users should (and shouldn’t) be doing in your environment, it is a good idea to know what your SharePoint is for. If you can get that purpose aligned with the business needs and define that alignment, you are halfway to having a governance plan.
If you can align with the business, the business will be invested in a successful implementation (buy in!), and will be more willing to take on the responsibilities inherent in a governance plan.
Yes, responsibilities. Remember what I wrote about making sure the content is accurate, that it adheres to company policies, that it is relevant, that it is accessible to those who need access (and inaccessible to those who should not have access), and easy to find? Someone has to do all of that.
A SharePoint Administrator knows about SharePoint. That is their job. If they are well rounded, they may also have some knowledge about business processes, HR policies, and the company’s structure and products. But unless the company is very small, the best person to maintain the content is the content owner, the best person to maintain the process is the process owner, the best person to manage the people is the people manager, and so on. They all have the specific, relevant knowledge about their subject areas needed to make accurate decisions. The SharePoint Administrator should not be a bottleneck that the business has to get through in order to accomplish the business’ goals (though the Administrator should be there to support those goals). After all, the whole point of SharePoint is empowering the end users.
But, as Spider-Man says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” With the power to create (and disposition) data, documents, content of all sorts, must come the responsibility to manage that content. And not only should they bear at least some (if not most) of the responsibility for managing that data and the processes, but they should be a part of making decisions about what the rules are going to be regarding how that content and the processes are to be managed. After all, with responsibility should come some power, too.
So you have your purpose, your purposeful alignment with the business needs and goals, and you are including the business stakeholders as part of the process. Now you can start delegating responsibilities (at least to the limit of what your organizational culture will allow). What responsibilities do you delegate? Ah, that is for an upcoming post.
One final note on this – remember that I said that if your governance plan is limited to “Thou shalt nots“, you are missing a lot of valuable and powerful ways to make your SharePoint deployment successful? Here are a few things to think about regarding responsibilities – who is responsible for your disaster recovery? Are you going to do DR drills – bring down the site and recover it from a backup? How often? Who is responsible for making sure all of the business stakeholders get a voice – who is herding the cats? Who is responsible for balancing the needs of the stakeholders? Once you open up to governance being about more than “Thou shalt not”, you may find that your governance plan could become integral to overhauling your organizational culture….
Next time – SharePoint Governance – vs Organizational Culture (Uh-oh!)
(It’s Thunderdome! Say it with me – “Two men enter, one man leaves!”)
As an aside – When I was listing the two… no, three… no, four… the five – five – things the SharePoint governance is, I felt I knew what it was to be part of the Spanish Inquisition. You weren’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition, were you? Apparently, it is pop culture reference day here at Working It Out. Sometimes I just can’t help myself.
|Read the whole series on SharePoint Governance:|
|Part One:||SharePoint Governance – Why?|
|Part Two:||SharePoint Governance – What is it? (You are here!)|
|Part Three:||SharePoint Governance – vs Organizational Culture|
|Part Four:||SharePoint Governance – Your Plan|
|Part Five:||SharePoint Governance – Law & Order|