For a recent project, I had to develop a design for an Application Document Repository. Specifically, the client wanted to create a single location for application related documentation. Why? The applications are critical and audit reports state the documentation is dificient. What do they mean by deficient? Well, they have 6-7 existing Application Document Repositories that are partially used by the application and project teams. Their mostly incomplete, theres no true ownership chain and as a result the documentation isnt trusted!
A quick analysis points to the problem of Governance (or lack of) which has resulted in poor executions of the Application Document Repositories. Why do I believe Portal Governance is the problem? After meeting with VPs, management and staff, the common message was "I dont have time for documentation…" and "our documentation efforts are project focused and not application forcused". Also, "we dont have an artifcat framework…" (e.g. Zackman, RUP, COBIT) they can use to identify the arifacts required based on risk / benefit.
After meeting with the Auditors I realized there wasnt synergy between IT and audit. Cultural? Yes. Large enterprises are crazy places…reorgs yearly, layoffs, hidden agendas, golden handshakes, etc…etc… After a while, the organization waffles, workload increases and knowledge walks out the door.
After much thought from reading workshop notes and having a few beers…I decided to utilize a mix of Information Architecture and the COBIT Model for my design and…began incorporating aspects of User Adoption / Governance. By taking this route I helped my client accomplish the following:
  • Get onside with Audit by using their process
  • Facilitate the adoption of an artifact framework
  • Create an information architecture to support the application portfolio
  • Provide recommendations for a govenance model to facilitate user adoption

To create the SharePoint Portal layout of sites shoudlnt take long but user adoption will…perhaps 10-15% of the applications and users within 6-12 months and the remainder over a 2-3 year period. I say this because organizational change is the culprite here…you can’t eat an elephant all in one sitting! What do I mean by this? Well, imagine a portfolio of 400-500 applications and 50-100 technical documents per application. Whose going to tackle that all at once? Also, people hate documentation, its often viewed as a nice to have but with SOX and other regulatory drivers, documentation is now playing a bigger role in IT.