Let’s start at the beginning … What is a governance plan? In the IT world a governance plan is typically a set of roles, responsibilities, procedures, policies, etc., that an organization can build around the usage of a particular piece of technology. When you are implementing new software either for the first time or in preparation for an upgrade, a governance plan is important, but depending on the technology, may not always be required.

When you are implementing SharePoint, a governance plan is definitely required.

As a consultant I have helped numerous companies plan and implement successful SharePoint solutions and the one thing I always insist on is strong governance. However -- like most pieces of SharePoint -- it can be difficult to figure out exactly where to begin. Every solution and company is slightly different, but what follows are some of the elements I use when creating an efficient governance plan that will actually be beneficial to users. It usually falls within the four areas detailed below: Governance Team, Software and Service Management, Information Management and Application Management.

As you work through formulating and defining these sections you can also begin writing a governance document. The document is an important piece of your plan but we all know most users won’t read it. So during this time create some visual representations of your plan -- this could be a Visio diagram or some of that Office SmartArt we all love so much. Also develop a handout or quick webinar to communicate the big topics to your user base.

Assemble the Team

Avengers Assemble! Wait ... sorry, wrong article. Or is it? Your governance team will be an integral part of your SharePoint implementation, so not only do they need to be willing, they need to be ready to contribute their skills to the cause. Your governance team should never be IT only. You need to have representation from the business as well as IT. Some of the roles that should be filled are:

  • SharePoint Owner -- This person has ultimate responsibility for making sure the project is continuing to align with the overall goals and initiatives.
  • SharePoint Infrastructure Administrator -- Responsible for all the backend maintenance and setup of SharePoint
  • SharePoint Developer/Designer -- Person or persons responsible for all custom development and branding.
  • SharePoint Site Collection Administrator -- Person responsible for helping end users with day to day tasks and issues in SharePoint.
  • Business Alignment Analyst -- This person should be responsible for communicating with business units in the organization and making sure their need are represented during the planning phase.

There are many roles that could be a part of the governance team, but these are some of the key roles that need to be assigned. Depending on the size of the organization and the use of third party vendors some of these roles may be assigned to multiple people or one person may assume multiple roles.