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Build Effective Document and Content Management Solutions with this 10-Point SharePoint Governance Plan

Get the greatest value from SharePoint Microsoft by starting with a good implementation plan

While SharePoint has its ease-of-use reputation, it is not an easy “out-of-the-box” solution to achieving organizational effectiveness. Many organizations that simply purchase the software grossly underestimate the amount of tooling needed to make SharePoint work effectively for their organization, potentially causing time consuming and expensive errors.

Roadblocks and complexities become apparent pretty quickly without a good governance plan, which defines implementation and policies to support and manage the organization’s SharePoint infrastructure.

First and foremost, involve all stakeholders from the beginning…success depends a lot on everyone having input in the process.

The following ten points and subsequent questions around those points regarding developing and implementing governance plan must be addressed in order to make implementation a success.


Decide who needs to access the SharePoint server and how. Is this access only for employees? Or does it need to be given to vendors, customers and/or clients as well? Will the server need to be accessible from outside the firewall or VPN? Will users be authorized through an active directory or database repository?

Backup and Disaster Recovery

How will you handle file storage and deletion? Determine how long items will remain in the Recycle Bin. How often should site-level and database backups be performed and how long should they be maintained? Where should backup files be stored? What will the process be for recovering lost or deleted sites?

Look to the Future

Be sure to plan for future growth and demands. How fast do you expect usage of SharePoint software to grow? How many users will be accessing the system and when? How many sites will be required? How many servers will you need for front-end web, database, indexing and other services?

Records Retention and Disposition

Establish how you will ensure compliance and best practices for managing important records. Identify what industry standards and compliance policies your company will adhere to. What records/files are subject to long-term retention, and how long? What will the process be for disposing records that have met their retention requirements?

System Support

Determine how and who will handle in-house and third-party technical support. Who will provide basic help desk support? How will technical support issues be logged? At what level should you consider bringing in Microsoft or some other third-party consultant?


Determine maximum size for uploaded files and content maintained on servers. How much space is there available for content? What, if any, should be the maximum size of your SharePoint sites? Is it necessary to have different size limits for different types of sites and files?

Site Requisition

Identify responsibilities and processes for site management. Who will create new SharePoint sites? What features will be included? Should any special training be required for someone to become a site administrator?

Custom Extensions

Identify and plan for customized process or application development. Will custom web parts, workflows and features be allowed? What naming and development conventions should be required? Will custom items need to go through a code review process?


Standardize the look and feel of SharePoint sites. Will they need corporate colors? Are there design templates to which SharePoint sites need to adhere? Are custom themes allowed?

Content Management Policies

Develop rules and limitations on the types of content allowed. Will you allow employees to create personal sites? If so, what sort of content restrictions will be required? What custom properties need to be tracked in the user’s profile, and who should be allowed to see them?

Not following these ten steps to creating a good governance plan can lead to problems on many levels. Adding new servers can become problematic and sites can grow out of control. Not to mention, backup and disaster recovery can almost be impossible without standards and procedures in place.

Think of SharePoint as a platform, rather than a mere application. Many look at it as an application since SharePoint offers many “out-of-the-box” functions like team collaboration and personal sites. SharePoint’s biggest benefit is that it is an open-ended platform…any level of customization is possible.

Check back soon with the information technology knowledge center for more information on the uses of SharePoint and issues surrounding its implementation at your company.


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