Create a Clear SharePoint Governance Policy in 5 Steps

Welcome to the latest installment of our blog series on migrating to Microsoft SharePoint. Catch up by reading last week’s blog post on training. Today, we’ll take a closer look at SharePoint governance.

While it’s never too late to create an information governance plan, it makes the most sense to do so before you begin your SharePoint deployment. Take this opportunity to learn from others’ missteps: Of the companies AIIM surveyed that had already started a SharePoint migration, half of them plan on going back to update and better enforce information governance policies this year.

When you hear “governance”, your mind may gravitate toward locking down features and functionality. I strongly urge you to not look at it in this manner. What does successful governance look like? Essentially, you want to create an environment where your users believe they’re working the way they always do, but in reality they’re working the way for which you planned. It’s this sleight of hand that could make or break your SharePoint deployment.

This means giving users the features they need while maintaining very simple approval, monitoring, and tracking. Your governance plan should answer a simple question: How do you create an environment where users can create new workspaces, invite people into those workspaces, collaborate on content, and archive it properly when they’re done? 

Follow these steps to build governance by design:

  1. Don’t put an end date on governance. Forget the phrase “successful SharePoint governance”. Success implies completion, and governance is never complete. Think of it as a governed SharePoint business improvement, which describes the perpetual cycle of improvement in a SharePoint implementation fortified by a solid SharePoint governance plan and active committee.
  2. Define quantitative metrics for improvement. Without a clear declaration of what constitutes improvement, even the most well-intentioned governance plan will fall flat. Have a quantitative metric for each policy or procedure outlined in your SharePoint governance plan. Make it a point to consistently document and measure metrics to demonstrate the extent to which your governance plan is improving the overall SharePoint enterprise.
  3. Create a governance committee. SharePoint governance may be a smaller piece of the information governance pie, but it’s still a very important one that requires oversight by your companies’ top leadership. SharePoint governance committees, the voice of the SharePoint governance plan, should be comprised of business and IT leaders as well as senior management. Look at it as another opportunity to partner with the business.
  4. Write a formal governance plan. Keep in mind that governance plans will evolve as your journey with SharePoint matures. There’s also no single template for governance planning that meets everyone’s specific needs. Governance will look differently in different organizations, whether due to their size, geography, or industry. Regardless, there are several core elements that your governance plan should make sure to include, such as operational management, technical operations, site and security administration, content administration, and personal/social administration.
  5. Consider third-party technology to help with enforcement. From an IT resourcing perspective it's unrealistic to expect that one IT resource (or even team) can oversee the majority of the policies and procedures defined in the SharePoint governance plan given their other responsibilities. There are available software solutions that can help monitor and automate many of the scenarios you define in your governance plan, helping with enforcement.

Come back next week as we will share five important SharePoint security tips to implement the moment you migrate. Can’t wait until then? Download our free eBook today to ace your SharePoint migration.

Written by Co-Founder, Evangelist and Chief Marketing Officer, Heather Newman

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