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February 11, 2013

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SharePoint Governance as a foundation for efficiency

by Anders B. Skjønaa (SharePointPeople.dk)

It is hard to predict the growth of SharePoint adoption in an organization. In most companies SharePoint provide support for unstructured collaboration scenarios and it is almost a given in these types of solutions, that the technology platform mainly just sits there and wait, until users start utilizing them. Users are in control, and many factors – outside your reach – may affect the usage of your SharePoint platform.

This is one of the most important reasons, why we want a solid governance practice. To sustain an effective operation and a stable SharePoint service, we need to have good policies and controls. Simple as that.

So, one of the things you need to discuss, when implementing a governance practice around SharePoint, is what the mandate this practice will have. You should prepare yourself for a situation, where a business executive tells you “to forget about all that governance stuff, and just get it done”. This person may have perfectly valid reasons to push for a quick fix and you can easily end up in a tight place. You need the mandate, the tools and the insight to make a decision on what to do.

So why would someone tell you to forget about all these good things you have been working on? Well, most people do not see governance as being a mean for effectiveness. You should probably ask yourself right now, if your primary driver for implementing SharePoint Governance is to secure the platform, information and the services, or if it is also a way for you do your job as effective as possible? Well, is it?

It should be! Good governance efforts, when communicated well and integrated into the operating procedures of your SharePoint teams, will not only mitigate risks and help you stay in compliance with internal and external regulations, but also help you make better decision faster and save you lots of time.

SharePoint Governance – well practiced – is in fact a time saving effort. A simple example; if you provide a deployment policy that dictates deployment going through thorough testing in QA and UAT before going into production, you will most probably find defects that would prevent the code from running in production and have a negative impact other applications in the platform. Fixing issues early is by far the most effective approach, and proper governance can ensure that you are doing this every time.

I am not saying, that it should not be possible to make an exception to governance policies. Exceptions are an important part of any governance practice. Just be aware – when you create your governance policies – of the types of exceptions you can expect in your company. This can help you identifying the right level of governance (how strict should you be?) and will prepare you to make the right recommendation or decision, when the policy is being questioned.

Read more from Governance, SharePoint, Strategy

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