Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Missing the Point on Spirit of Governance

Over a short period of time in the SharePoint community, the term "governance" has evolved to describe a class of software products or features. Yet, IT governance has nothing to do with what tools a SharePoint administrator has. Instead, IT governance has everything to do with the people and processes side of things; and the decision making framework that, when in play, can be used to determine that a portal should exist, who should manage it, who it should serve, how decisions will be made affecting it. Governance is really about policies, processes, roles, responsibilities, and priorities (Ross, 2004).

The scope of an effective Information Management Governance Model spans beyond a specific solution, such as SharePoint Intranet or collaboration portal, and encompasses the Information Management practices occurring throughout the organization. A SharePoint governance model should be a subset to that. Putting this in the context of documentation, an overarching Information Management Statement of Governance document should exist and define the framework at the global level, while specific statement of governance documents should be maintained for each Information Management system within the organization; SharePoint being one of those.

The IT project management framework is another significant and relevant topic to governance. The project management framework established the processes followed to initiate, plan, and execute IT projects. These processes should include such activities as the evaluation of new SharePoint projects in the context of the organization's overall information architecture. Aligning the project management decision making with Information Management, business, and IT decision making results in solutions that have backing, are sustainable, and actually provide business value.

The spirit of governance is really about defining what the processes should be, and if generous enough, explaining why to some extent. In the end, governance models maintain decision making integrity amongst people...that is not something a portal administrator can do by running a report or recovering a deleted site.


Ross, J., Weill, P. (2004). Recipe for Good Governance. Retrieved August 4, 2010 from http://www.cio.com/article/29162/Recipe_for_Good_Governance.

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