What is Governance?
Basically, Governance is a set of rules and policies around your portal. It documents who will be responsible for doing what, and how often. This plan defines the policies that your organization will follow when leveraging (your portal) technology for future collaboration and productivity solutions. In addition to outlining how you will leverage the portal platform in future projects, this document should outline the roles and responsibilities for management and maintenance of your portal platform and everything that touches it.
The Governance Policy is meant to be a managed, living entity within your organization and should be updated regularly by committee. Think of your Governance Policy as a “Standard Operating Procedures” manual for your portal. Make sure you educate your Content Stewards and end-users on Governance. Get them together and explain the concept of governance (that they are rules, policies, and procedures), and how it will be enforced.
At my current company, we meet quarterly with our Content Stewards and follow up on site content (age, types, placement, metadata), design, layout, and security (at a minimum). It’s a little tedious, but the payoff is great – VERY little down time and VERY few end-user complaints about usability or “findability”!
How to craft a Governance Policy:
This is the Governance Plan template I typically use. It’s available for free on TechNet, so feel free to download it and modify it accordingly. Having this plan template is a great head start for what is usually a lengthy and detailed process. Additionally, Microsoft TechNet has a great Governance Overview site that will help you understand governance concepts in general. Review and complete this document with your portal committee (which should be everyone mentioned in our “Gather Your Team” post, in week 1).
Here are some great SharePoint Governance Resources to help you on your way to Governance Greatness!
- How to set up a Governance Committee, by Karuana Gatimu
- Office SharePoint Server 2007 Governance Checklist, by Microsoft Corporation, Mark Wagner, Joel Oleson, Arpan Shah, Jeff Tepper and others.
- Mindsharp has a great, free Governance Poster. You have to register (free) to download it, but it’s a great resource.
- Governance Considerations in Enterprise Portal Deployment, by Zach Wahl. By the way, Zach is an excellent speaker on this topic! If you ever get a chance to hear him, I would recommend doing so. Zach, if you read this, please get back onto the SharePoint conference circuit!
Keeping it up to date:
My team meets every fiscal quarter to review our Governance Policy and/or make changes accordingly. I recommend you adopt a similar strategy. Stay on top of Governance and your portal will continue to be a well-oiled machine!