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Why do SharePoint Governance Best Practices matter?

https://saketa.com/blog/sharepoint-governance-best-practices/
SharePoint Governance Best Practices play a major role in the smooth functioning of Advanced Collaboration platforms such M365 and Teams

Asked by: Saketa S. | Location: Seattle, WA | Mar 17, 2021

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Saketa S.

Seattle, WA

Mar 17, 2021

Why do SharePoint Governance Best Practices matter?
SharePoint Governance Best Practices play a major role in the smooth and efficient functioning of Advanced Collaboration platforms such SharePoint, M365, Microsoft Teams and more. Good governance can add significant value to your organization by extensively integrating this platform to your centralized business goals. A proper governance strategy connects your business and users to this platform to help, support and secure all your content and collaborative communication. It lets you:
• Drive user adoption
• Maximize ROI
• Reduce risk.
• Improve productivity and business agility.
WHY DO SHAREPOINT GOVERNANCE BEST PRACTICES MATTER?
With expert-curated governance plans and guidelines, a governance strategy helps support and secure the content and users of the SharePoint platform.
For instance, SharePoint is so useful and SharePoint sites can be created and deployed so quickly and easily that organizations end up in a cluttered mess. As a result, users can’t find the content they need, and administrators can’t keep track of sensitive content and protect it properly — the platform fails to meet the organization’s goals due to the governance gap. Having strong governance in place avoids these issues, enabling the business to:
• Drive user adoption — Strong governance helps ensure SharePoint content is easy to create, find and use, so users will embrace the platform rather than try to find ways to work around it.
• Maximize ROI — A governance plan helps you uncover the value of the platform and guide its strategic development, so you get the most from your investment.
• Reduce risk — A governance plan that protects business IP and is aligned with appropriate compliance regulations minimizes potentially devastating risk. For instance, a good governance plan will include provisions for regularly running audits on usage, security, content or permissions.
• Improve productivity and business agility — A well-governed SharePoint platform creates a deep pool of collective intelligence across an organization, arming users with the information and context to move faster and make smarter decisions.
PILLARS TO AWESOME SHAREPOINT GOVERNANCE
Four secrets to success More broadly, you need to build trust in your SharePoint governance strategy. Following these four principles can help ensure success.
VISIBILITY
Make the work you do to define policies and procedures a matter of public discourse. One of the more successful governance initiatives I led started with a town hall event, with a Q&A for anyone interested enough to come and raise their hand. Our regular governance body meetings were open-door sessions, with end-users and executives alike joining in when something they had a vested interest in was being discussed.
REGULAR KEY UPDATES
Keep people informed about your progress. Sometimes updating a SharePoint task list at the end of the day is sufficient; sometimes more frequent communication using other tools is the right choice. Vary this collaboration level depending upon the immediacy of the workload in front of you and the maturity of your governance plan over time.
CONSTANT OPTIMIZATION
Don’t roll out a governance plan, document it in a binder, and put that binder on a shelf to gather dust and be forgotten. Project activities, reporting, and communication strategies constantly evolve because of changing business requirements, customer needs, and other factors. Keep upgrading your governance strategy for the better.
GATHER FEEDBACK, ACT ON IT
This tip was mentioned earlier but it bears repeating: Seek out feedback from your users and pay attention to it. Some people have no problem speaking up, but other people might not be so forthcoming. Look for opportunities to reach out and connect so that you can get a more complete view of what people think. When people are heard, it builds confidence in your strategy.
BEST PRACTICES FOR BUILDING A SHAREPOINT GOVERNANCE STRATEGY
Developing and maintaining a strong SharePoint governance strategy requires careful planning upfront and continual nurturing and adjustments as you use the platform. The following best practices will help you throughout the process.
CREATE AN INTERNAL SHAREPOINT USER GROUP
In an ideal world, organizations will build a SharePoint governance plan before implementing the platform. If you’re proactively building a governance plan, the first step is to talk with your future users so you can understand their content, workflows and anticipated usage. However, as noted earlier, SharePoint is so useful and easy to deploy that often sites go up first and governance comes later. In that case, the first step is still the same — talk with your users! Find out how they are interacting with SharePoint, including what sites are out there, how much they are used, who has access to them, what types of content are being stored there, and what frustrations users have.
BUILD A BROADER COMMUNICATION STRATEGY
Don’t limit your communications to the SharePoint user group; you also need to keep the larger SharePoint community abreast of what is happening with the platform, including details on the governance strategy, changes to policies, site redesigns or a platform upgrade. Make sure to solicit their feedback using strategies like community sites and polls, along with data such as search metrics — and consider their ideas seriously. Governance should enable them not to prevent them from being productive. Look for ways to ensure user adoption of the platform, such as offering training and support.
PROMOTE GOVERNANCE TRANSPARENCY
Make your policies visible. When people ask questions, point them to a SharePoint site with the answers. Make the site functional and refresh it frequently; it should not be a one-time dumping ground for rarely used process documentation. This should be a working platform from which you manage your process, accept suggestions and make changes as needed.
CLEARLY DEFINE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
Outline the functions required to deploy and govern your SharePoint environment at the enterprise, organizational and site levels. Define roles according to skills and interests. Define Owner, Approver, Reviewer, and Participant for each of these tasks. It is simple and clear. Determine which functions should be managed centrally and which are better handled at the site collection and site levels. SharePoint works best when the management of its many functions is distributed to the people who know how the business should be run. Be clear on w clear on what you expect from each role so people can be held accountable.
DON’T START FROM SCRATCH, TAILOR IT TO MEET YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS
Microsoft provides plenty of content around optimal settings and system limitations, and that’s a good place to start. But having a personalized strategy involving selected SharePoint Governance Best Practices always help. Just need to remember that you need to constantly refine your strategy based on a solid understanding of your own business requirements. Adapt your policies (content limits, permissions, information rights management policies, and so on) using a consistent and transparent change management process to fit into the organizational priorities.
STANDARDIZE YOUR POLICIES AND PROCEDURES.
Create policies and procedures that are consistent across your organization. A given business unit might have different information rights management rules than the rest of the company, but the policies that govern how those rules are managed should be consistent across the organization.
WHEN YOU NEED TO MIGRATE CONTENT, LEVERAGE YOUR METADATA
Resist the urge to complete migrations as quickly as possible by simply dumping all data from the source environment into the target. Instead, use your metadata to sort your content by relevance, age, popularity, team, geography and other factors. By reducing the amount of sprawl and improving organization, you will deliver a target environment that’s easier for you to manage and easier for users to navigate, reducing overhead while improving user productivity and driving platform adoption.
GOVERNANCE AND CULTURE
Organizational culture plays a major role in governance planning as well as implementation. Define the rules applied to SharePoint management that is valid for everyone in the company with maybe different permission levels. For example, some people might believe that it is better for users to create their own sites on SharePoint while some might consider such vast and unrestricted access to SharePoint to be a major risk factor. There are many other areas in SharePoint related to the use of data, where it is stored, and who has access to that data and all you must do is, follow the basic SharePoint governance best practices and plan judiciously according to your organizational needs.
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