At the Microsoft SharePoint 2011 conference in Anaheim, California, I spoke with a few people regarding governance. What is governance? Why is it needed? Why is it so difficult to get right? I bounced ideas off consultants and after some discussion, confirmed what I believe SharePoint governance is, why large companies desperately need it, and why such companies have such a difficult time implementing it.

Some of you might know that you have a problem with governance; others of you might not. To determine whether you have a governance problem, ask stakeholders these questions:

  • Do you get fair representation in governance-related decisions?
  • Can you articulate the purpose and value of a governance program?
  • Does SharePoint provide the content and features that different user groups expect and need?
  • Do users complain about poor experiences (e.g., slow, lack of usable content and features) using SharePoint?
  • Do you experience excessive operational costs, incidents, and outages?
  • Are conflicts between silos of operation degrading teamwork and prompting resistance to SharePoint?
  • Do you have compliance and eDiscovery issues with site data?
  • Do you experience inconsistent messaging and understanding of the SharePoint Service offering?
  • Are you slow to plan and execute SharePoint because of disagreements regarding priority?
  • Do people avoid getting involved with SharePoint?

In this article, I’ll provide a practical approach to developing and implementing a company governance plan that can address these concerns. I’ll present a real-life scenario that can describe many organizations that use SharePoint farms.

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