Thoughts on SharePoint governance

Nothing seems to attract attention more these days to a blog post than sticking the words SharePoint and governance in the title … without wishing to jump on the bandwagon – actually, jumping firmly on the bandwagon with a double backwards flip and triple salco thrown in – here are my thoughts to add to the cascade of information on the subject.

[To be honest, what follows is not specific to SharePoint but you’ve got to grab attention where you can! 🙂 ]

Anyway … it seems to me that when people talk about intranet governance they seem to view the intranet as a single amorphous blob which needs to be governed (read controlled) in one way. To me, this misses a whole spectrum of nuances around user needs and normally results in an overly restrictive governance regime designed for top-end, formal content being imposed across all content types and all user needs (see previous posts on the subject of differing content types: Changing nature of intranet content; and Content types should complement not compete).

To take account of different content types and user needs, you really need different governance models running in parallel with differing levels of control along a spectrum – a kind of controlometer if you like … at one end: total control; and at the other: the opposite of total control … whatever that is … anarchy; chaos; trust – you choose!

So, below is an attempt to illustrate the above in diagrammatic form.

As an aside, there’s one content type I’ve listed which might surprise people – the under-web. It strikes me that in the drive for control of intranet content over the last few years – fuelled by sound business reasons – we’ve stifled innovation and creativity and decoupled experimentation from core intranet platforms driving it under desks where it is extremely difficult to benefit from the great things which go on in these spaces. We should always legislate for experimentation in our governance models.

A final point, content types shouldn’t be kept apart in a kind of quarantine from each other … there should be exposure and cross fertilisation of different content types both to the left and right of the spectrum to generate valuable context.

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  1. Nice to read your controlmeter, again 🙂
    I totally agree on the imprtance of nuances in the governance for different types of content for different user’s needs. What is crucial in your self-explanatory picture is certainly the ability of content to fertilze other content, and generate valuable content.
    Bon d’accord, I just repeat your words but the concept is so simple and so rich that it is difficult for some persons to accept it.

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  3. Great diagram, Richard. I really like it.

    Regarding the “under web”, I have always recommended that companies allow for experimentation. I helped one of my clients define a way to handle the “under web”. Here’s what they are doing:

    – Creating an experimental place, labeled as such.
    – Requiring that each experiment be “declared”: owner, time frame for evaluation
    – Providing a small amount of “seed money” for each experiment.
    – Establishing a review policy where at the end of the time frame they and the owner decide to (a) continue experimenting or (b) stop it or (c) surface it to the official level to fit somewhere in the global navigation framework.

    This may sound very controlled, but their objective is benefit from all the entreprenurial energy in their organization (there’s a lot!) but to keep a relatively firm control over the official work environment.

    What do you think about this approach?

  4. Jane – I really like your approach – I might have to nick it! 🙂

    I’m also interested in tapping in to the experimentation of the enthusiastic – the less ‘institutionalised’ experimentation which always goes on at the edges – quite hard to do.

    Thanks for your comment!

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