Governance is a hot topic but its definition is varying depending on who in the organization you speak with. Some view it as a content management framework and some view it as pie in the sky executive vision for making business decisions. Both these views are correct but they are only two ‘pieces of the pie’ of a larger holistic view.

So what is that holistic view? A framework for for representation, ownership, making decisions, guiding principles for making decisions and the granular impact to your Collaboration Service. At a more granular level, governance addresses:

  • Service Level Agreement for your Collaboration Service
  • IT Architects providing technology direction
  • Executives providing vision, mandating action and aligning organization
  • Procurement gating purchasing decisions
  • Project Management Office to police projects
  • Product managers tieing it together

So if you read Microsoft’s documentation its very focused on how to manage features. Which is a piece of the Governance pie but not the complete view.

Do you have governance problems? The quick way to check is to ask some questions:

  • Who owns the SharePoint collaboration service (Name of a person)?
  • Who is on our governance committee?
  • Can you describe the governance plan and your role?
  • Do you have several deployments/pockets of SharePoint?

So if you do have governance problems and are looking to establish a Collaboration Service you could be at risk of a false start.

Specific to SharePoint (or your collaboration service), decisions must be made regarding the following in order to fully leverage your asset:

  • Who is responsible for the service?
  • What is the service level?
  • How do you ensure compliance?
  • What functions will be enabled? Disabled?
  • Level of fault tolerance?
  • How do the software boundaries impact my architecture?
  • What services (Search, Document mgmt, My Sites etc…) will SharePoint provide? How will it fit into the big picture view given your incumbent applications?
  • How many farms are require to meet requirements (Performance, capacity, local laws)?
  • What is the information architecture (Sites, Pages, Web Parts) will be utilized?
  • What features do I use to provide the required functionality?
  • How do SharePoint technology best practices and software boundaries affect my design and capacity plan?
  • What must I do to prepare operations (Staffing, monitoring etc…)?
  • How is change managed?

At the end of the day, Governance addresses the service provided, maintaining the quality of service, how to maximize asset utilization (Projects leveraging the service), features and functions to be provided and how the platform will be extended and leveraged across the organization.