SharePoint Governance: To get started, it’s important to have the right conversations!

Questions to address when developing a SharePoint Governance Plan

Just like pretty much everything else when it comes to successful technology solutions, the focus of governance planning for SharePoint needs to start with the business outcomes you are trying to enable. Understanding your business outcome goals are the first step to figuring out how to even think about governance for SharePoint. Once you understand the vision and outcome goals for your solution, you can define your governance plan to help you achieve them.

Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, "People understand me so poorly that they don't even understand my complaint about them not understanding me." If he lived in this century, Kierkegaard could have been talking about SharePoint governance - the most misunderstood and misrepresented concept in the SharePoint space! Though everyone seems to have a different definition for governance, we all seem to agree that it's one of the most important success factors for a SharePoint deployment. I think that if you understand the business goals for your solution, then a lot of planning governance is having the right conversations with the right people at the right time - so you can define what needs to be understood or in place in order to achieve these goals.

I've spent a lot of time working with my clients to create SharePoint governance plans and in the course of my work, I've developed a framework that I've used very successfully to set up and facilitate the "governance conversations" that start with validating the business objectives and result in framing a plan for governance that is 100% aligned with ensuring those objectives are achieved. My framework starts with setting up a series of meetings, each designed to focus on a specific topic so that the right stakeholders can be brought in at the right time. During these meetings, we discuss and record the answers to what I refer to as the key "governance questions." During the first half of this year, I've worked on several governance projects that have resulted in some significant changes to my governance conversations and, as a result, I've created a template that I start from on every engagement. My new "Governance Policy and Guideline Questions" for SharePoint 2013 template is available on my website in "native" format so that you can download and adapt it for your governance conversations in your organization.

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