Building effective governance policies to manage your SharePoint Environment
Governing SharePoint is a complex process requiring the creation of policies that can improve or deter user adoption, tool functionality, and success of the implementation. Without SharePoint Governance, end users can perform rogue and catastrophic damage to an environment. Therefore, Governance is essential but too much or not addressing policies in a correct format can have harmful effects.
In order to facilitate and determine SharePoint Governance policies, Microsoft recommends the establishment of a two part governance structure comprised of a Governance Committee (e.g. Strategy Team, CCB) and a Tactical Team. The Governance Committee collaborates on policy and strategic business decisions to help shape the use of the SharePoint environment. TEDI has adapted the use and structure specifically to respond to the Government processes and business requirements.
Depending on the environment, the Governance Committee will sometimes remain as the Governance Committee (e.g. Department of Labor), or be combined with existing governance teams (e.g. CCB National Credit Union Administration – NCUA). In either case, this team is responsible for the development and driving of the business rules of the environment including External User access, Team Site naming consistency, SharePoint Designer use policy and other essential business use decisions.
The Tactical Team represents the technical and implementation group which facilitates and guides the Governance Committee on decision making and policy execution. Their responsibilities include, but are not limited to, custom development, quality assurance, infrastructure, networking, and other essential IT related implementation requirements. In addition, the Tactical Team provides implementation assistance across the board for the demands of the SharePoint environment, including maintenance, security/permissions, .NET development, custom solutions, quality assurance, and infrastructure support.
In addition to assisting with Governance Committee selection which generally consists of Directorate/Division Directors, TEDI also provides Committee Members training on SharePoint use and education on how policies influence the environment and capabilities of users. This training is an essential component of the success of the engagement as it is vital that decision-makers understand how their policies affect the methods used by end users.
SharePoint Governance Facilitation
TEDI guides clients through three phases of Governance implementation for both new and existing SharePoint environments. Each phase is designed to accomplish a predetermined series of tasks with the goal of creating a fully operational SharePoint Environment. Below are the three phases outlined and the group of tasks beneath each phase. Note, this is a baseline methodology and is intended to be flexible for the individual needs of the organizations we encounter.
3 Phases for Implementation
Phase 1 Includes the Following:
Analysis of Current SharePoint Environment: Analysis of existing infrastructure will determine any constraints on scalability. Our analysis will provide an assessment on the business drivers and how the configuration/architecture of the SharePoint environment will best address these needs. Items like licensing, external users, search and other critical features will be assessed based on the needs of the Government agency.
Collaborate on SharePoint Architecture Design: Collaboration with Government IT personnel is needed to produce a scalable architecture approach that will satisfy requirements for security, collaboration, and SharePoint process integration. The design should provide for key business drivers (e.g. Multi-tenancy, external users, high security etc). In addition, we can provide a .wsp baseline template beyond the OOTB site templates provided by Microsoft.
Governance Team/CCB Creation or Induction: The Governance Team is a Microsoft Best Practice and TEDI has employed this approach on several previous engagements. Having a Governance Team is intended to facilitate the business drivers associated with managing a SharePoint environment. When implemented in a Government organization, the Governance Team sometimes remains the Governance Team (e.g. Department of Labor). Whereas in other engagements like the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) it was combined with existing governance teams (e.g. CCB). In either case, this team develops and drives the business rules of the environment, including access by External Users, consistency in Team Site naming, use policy of SharePoint Designer in agency departments etc. It is also important to note that the Tactical Team is also part of the Governance methodology recommended by Microsoft which generally includes any technical resources which would include TEDI and all other technical resources (e.g. networking, infrastructure team etc.)
Governance Team Training Performed: In addition to Governance Team selection for Governance decisions, TEDI recommends training this team of Directorate/Division Directors on SharePoint use and educate them on how policies influence the environment. This training is essential to the success of the engagement as these individuals will make decisions vital to the capabilities and methods used by end users.
Edits Performed to Baseline Training and Support Material: In parallel with ongoing Governance Team meetings, TEDI recommends preparing other training material for the specific needs of the organization. This includes training for by stakeholder including End Users, Project Managers, and Leadership. This is usually tailored per engagement and not featured on this site. Template material provides Government a strong foundation and will be customized for the individual needs for SharePoint.
Launch of the SharePoint Team Support Home Page: Our baseline SharePoint Team Support Home Page is a .wsp solution that will activate numerous capabilities essential for Government agencies. This includes customized libraries, lists, content types, and site columns that provide end users essential knowledge and how-to information. This includes an already populated FAQ Page, SharePoint Request Guide Page, Site Owner Resources for how-to guidance, helpful links, and the SharePoint Server Request List used to capture end user SharePoint Requests.
Launch of Help Desk SharePoint Solution: With SharePoint experience from 15 Government Agencies, TEDI has created baseline templates for a variety of needs and requirements. Our Help Desk SharePoint Solution provides a baseline for defect management. It works independently of Team Foundation Server but can also integrate with TFS as needed.
Phase 2 Includes the Following:
Environment Architecture Deployment: At this stage, the architecture should have been collaborated and vetted with the Government. We recommend deployment of configurations and server needs through PowerShell as much as possible, if not entirely, to allow the Government to retain deployment methodologies for records management purposes.
Pilot Programs are Designed, Tested, and Deployed: Pilot Programs include all baseline .wsp solutions with new customizations to support the specific needs of the Government. Collaboration with all stakeholders ensures global solutions for standardizing the use of SharePoint. User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is recommended for all solutions designed within the environment.
Governance Team Meetings for Governance: Governance Meetings are intended to create, edit, or review SharePoint Governance policies. These policies are identified in the SharePoint Enterprise Governance Document. Each policy object is transposed into PowerPoint presentations (e.g. 508 Compliance) and used as talking points with the Governance Team. The Governance Team implementation will facilitate the creation of Global SharePoint policies that should be communicated and educated to the collective environment.
Formally Accepting SharePoint Requests: The SharePoint Support Team should have deployed the customized Defect Tracking/Help Desk Solution and will be capable of fielding requests from end users.
Phase 3 Includes the Following:
Stakeholder Training Begins: Our training is based on role. This can range from agency to agency but our general approach includes End User Training. Developer’s Course (geared toward use with TFS and SharePoint), Project Manager Training, and Governance Team Training. Our templates include PowerPoint presentations, training guides (takeaways), and cheat sheets. These items are all customized per engagement.
Outreach for Process Integration into SharePoint: Driving end user adoption evolves from satisfying critical, complex, or heavily shared processes. Our outreach program is designed to provide the Government communication on SharePoint functionality, use cases, Governance, and other potentially important information if and when they consider using the SharePoint environment.
Customizations and Development Begin: The ability to accept requests began in phase 2 and will likely prompt the initial requests. During phase 3, the recommended SharePoint Support Team will be capable to fulfill requests and address Government requests with customizations, configuration, and development support.