Posts Tagged 'Governance'

SharePoint 2010: More Than a Year Already

SharePoint in the past year

Since SharePoint 2010 was released I have been working on various projects and will start to share some of my experiences and suggestions over the coming months. During this time Learning Tree produced a number of new courses ranging from basic usage to Enterprise Application development in addition to the SharePoint 2007 courses which are still very popular. Why so many courses ?

Both Business and Technical SharePoint Skills Are Needed

The skills taught on these courses are required because of the complexity of both versions of SharePoint. They are powerful products but without proper planning a poor implementation can result in less than desired results. The starting point is to decide why you want to use SharePoint. Concentrate on the business value and work forward from there. There are so many features that it can be difficult to know where to start so good requirements definitions will be essential.

Preferably start with a simple project. Maybe a training planning site complete with a calendar for dates when you are attending our courses. J

The suggestions I posted here still make sense and hopefully will help you get started.

Use a Guide

Guidance from someone who has been through this process of planning and designing SharePoint sites may be another good way to start – for example, someone like an experienced Learning Tree Instructor. SharePoint is a large and complex product. Any advice that helps reduce your project’s delivery time is worth considering.

Flexibility is the Key

In the light of your own experience if you find that the early sites you create aren’t quite what you want then you can easily make changes and move things around until you arrive at a better solution. SharePoint is great in this regard, as it’s flexible, and when you are ready you can easily save your site as a re-usable template. If you need more guidance, Learning Tree offers a variety of SharePoint courses to choose from.

Review and Learn

As you make changes it’s worth documenting what you have done and why so that you can review these later and assess what has worked and what hasn’t over time. An iterative process will normally result in a better solution than trying to plan everything up front. As your experience grows these documents will also help you move in to tackle the bigger projects such as public facing web portals, Enterprise search environments, and Business intelligence dashboards.

User Feedback

Use WIKI’s, Surveys, and discussion forums to get real-world feedback from your users and then implement the changes that make sense.

Give It a Go

In reality it’s unlikely that you will have all the possible skills you need before you need to use them and certainly with the increasing responsibilities I.T. departments face, time will also be lacking. The important thing is to make a start. So carry out as much planning as you can but don’t get stuck in endless requirements sessions and re-designs without making a start.

Create a simple test server within a virtual machine and experiment. As your confidence grows start planning for a more serious production installation.

For now making use of tools found within in SharePoint and using basic governance will allow you to build SharePoint outwards and reap business rewards rather than letting it spiral out of control.


Dreaming of SharePoint Governance

Setting up SharePoint and getting it running is not really that technically challenging. I know, you have database servers, firewalls, web sites, etc to setup and configure but it all works pretty well. The challenges of SharePoint installation are organization changes that will impact how members of
the organization work together. 

The SharePoint community has a term called “Governance” that means putting the guidelines, practices, procedures in place so the organization can incorporate SharePoint in their daily lives.  If properly governed, the organizational install should be as easy as the software install, but it hardly is. 

I’ve been doing lots of thinking about this, and yesterday I woke up with my head buzzing about it.  While sipping coffee and still waking up, I wrote down the thoughts I had about what governance included.  Here is list of what governance includes from my dreams (or is that nightmare?) in no particular order.

  • Site collection organization and communication of usage to organization
  • SharePoint server security configuration and clear communication between SharePoint security admin and help desk staff who normally move people in and out of an organization and manage organization groups
  • Document library usage, and proper training of end users on features (check in / out, approval etc)
  • Policy for moving LAN network drives to SharePoint
  • Policy for when to use LAN vs SharePoint
  • List integration with the thousands of Excel lists hanging around the organization and impossible to find
  • Proper integration with MS Office, and training for users on how to use Office with SharePoint
  • Rollout plans for users, administrators, IT and business professionals
  • SharePoint Development – When to use SharePoint as a platform and when to develop custom or integrated mode?
  • Data Integration – policy how to integrate organization data (from network drive, to corporate database in SharePoint
  • Policy for front end customization
  • Backup and recovery procedures and communication to users
  • Executive involvement

Too bad organizational installs do not have a “Next >” button. The list is not complete and needs some refinement, particularly when thinking about governance for a specific organization. However, it’s a good start when looking at what needs to be installed.

Gord Maric

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