Basic Governance

This is a copy of one of my governance documents that you can use asis or modify to meet your requirements. If you would like a copy in word format click on the link to download the document. SharePoint Governance Plan

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Table of Contents

  • SharePoint Governance Plan. 1
  • What Governance means. 2
  • Defining Governance. 2
  • Where does Governance Fit. 2
  • Approach to Governance. 2
  • Governance readiness. 2
  • Governance requirements. 2
  • Starting the Governance process. 3
  • What we need to get started. 3
  • Governance topics. 3
  • SharePoint vision and direction: 3
  • Governance Policy requirements: 3
  • Governance Policy overview: 4
  • Governance Implementation: 4
  • Content ownership: 4
  • SharePoint site Creation Policy: 5
  • SharePoint Permission management. 6
  • Change Management. 6
  • Information Lifecycle. 7
  • Portal Home Page. 8
  • For Governance to succeed: 9

 What Governance means

Defining Governance

Governance defines the Stakeholders, Business processes, policies or rules and technologies that deliver and maintain the integrity of a service. It should also be fair and enforceable to ensure that the service has current and reliable information.

Where does Governance Fit

Governance is a layer that encompasses the SharePoint collection in its entirety, sites, site creation, libraries, content, content types, security and the metadata used to classify this information.

Approach to Governance

There are two approaches that can be used to govern SharePoint

  • Centrally Managed (IT Department or a Governance committee that would include the Knowledge Management group and then implemented and enforced by the IT Department)
  • Distributed management (implemented by the IT department and enforced by each group at the site level and monitored by the Knowledge management team)

Governance readiness

  • Start small
  • Form a governance board ([OUR  COMPANY] SharePoint Steering Committee)
  • Answer common questions (what, who and why)
  • Update as required
  • Monitor and enforce

Governance requirements

  • There will be many different opinions and it may be difficult to start
  • Reviewing governance models that are being used in a variety of SharePoint environments will demonstrate that there are no step by step guides and that each one will be different from the next. The materials will be either too high level or not specific to our requirements.
  • Governance will be different from organization to organization and from branch to branch.
  • Several assumptions regarding topology and use of SharePoint may need to be implied.

Starting the Governance process

What we need to get started

  • Governance topics
  • The outputs and results we want
  • Implementing and enforcing the policies
  • Measure and report the results

Governance topics SharePoint vision and direction:

  • What will SharePoint be used for:
    • Publishing content (Portal Site Home Page)
    • HR documents
    • Project tracking sites
    • Training schedules and calendars
    • Document sharing (internal and with clients)
    • Blogs
    • Team sites
    • Document workspaces
  • How will SharePoint fit into the existing infrastructure
    • A short description or bulleted list of how and or what current Line of Business applications may be move to the SharePoint infrastructure.
  • Business Commitment:
    • Resources required to:
      • Prepare policies and procedures
      • implement and enforce
      • monitor and report
  • Leadership:
    • Technical
    • Strategic
    • Operational
  • Business requirements:
    • Specific Governance Policies
    • Documentation (available to all)
  • Business involvement:
    • Strongly recommended but not essential

Governance Policy requirements:

  • Tied to a business and or technical need
  • Concise statement of the actual policy
  • Identify responsibilities
  • Implications
  • Measure of success
  • Do not specify how to achieve the result

Governance Policy overview:

Requirement >

Governance Policy


Business or





Policy statement








Governance Implementation:

  • Content ownership
  • Site Creation
  • Permission management
  • Release management
  • Information lifecycle
  • Home Page updates


Content ownership:

  • Governing content ownership assigns responsibilities to content or business owner
SharePoint Content policy: Objective:To ensure clear ownership and responsibility for all content in SharePoint. Policy statement:All sites created within the [OUR  COMPANY] SharePoint site collection environment will have a clearly defined owner, identified and documented at the time of creation. Implementation:The site creation request form will include a required field for business owner. This field will contain the names of either one or two individuals; at least one should have a manager or higher job title.Prior to site creation, the designated manager(s) must review and accept the Site Ownership guidelines published [[here]].Site ownership will be tracked by the Access control administrator and reviewed on a regular basis to ensure concurrency.   Comments:  

SharePoint site Creation Policy:


Objective:To manage the creation of SharePoint sites in order to contain the “sprawl” of these sites, to ensure that the correct object types are used and the prevention of creating un-owned and unmanaged sites.  Policy Statement:The creation of SharePoint sites will be performed by a suitably qualified person (who to be decided). All new sites must be classified as to the security requirements and then created in the appropriate location based on these classifications. All new site creations must be approved by the governance board ([OUR  COMPANY] SharePoint steering committee).Implementation:The site creation request form will include a field for the Site Title, Required by date, contact telephone number, a Site Description of the intended usage of the site, legal Group and data Classification. The Site Title should be a name that will give a reference to what the site will be used for and may be changed during the creation. No special characters can be used in this field.The Site Required By field will contain the date that the site is required byThe Contact Telephone will contain the telephone number of the contact person who will be able to give more information to the analyst.The Site Description field must identify the type of content the site will contain The Group or branch that will own and maintain the data contained in the site The Classification (grant access to) must be one of the following:

  • [OUR  COMPANY] Only
  • [OUR  COMPANY] and other Branches
  • [OUR  COMPANY], other Branches and external stakeholders

The new site will be created in the SharePoint hierarchy based on the classification and requirement. The new site will appear in the menu dynamically based on this hierarchy.   Comments:  


SharePoint Permission management

  • To ensure that security is set consistently and conforms to [OUR  COMPANY] corporate and or industry standards.
Objective:To ensure the consistent application of [OUR  COMPANY] SharePoint permissions and alignment of SharePoint permissions with [OUR  COMPANY] Security Policy Policy Statement:All sites will have permissions defined and assigned at creation based on their Classification in the Site Creation policy. All Sub Sites may have unique permissions or inherit the permission of their parent based on the classification in the site creation policy. Implementation:Each site created with unique permissions must support each of the permission levels as outlined in the permission level policy as recorded [[here]].Site access should only be granted using Active directory global groups nested in a SharePoint group with the appropriate level of access. It is extremely difficult to maintain nest user accounts in a SharePoint group so this should be avoided at all cost. SharePoint groups and site permission will be managed by the Access control Administrator. Site access will be determined by the appropriate business/site owner and or the [Person] if persons outside of the company are included. The person should be added to the appropriate Active Directory group by a designated person.All site access requests will be tracked in the SharePoint site permission tracker and any unique additions should have a removal date included in the tracker.Site security settings will be audited every (x) months by the SharePoint Access control Administrator and Site collection access will be reviewed every (6) months. All SharePoint group names will conform to the [[[OUR  COMPANY] Naming convention]] and each group created will have the 1_SharePoint_Owners group assigned as group owner. The 1_SharePoint_Owners group will also be granted full control of any site that does not inherit permissions.   Comments:  


Change Management

  • Reduces the risk to SharePoint
  • All significant changes are tested prior to implementation
  • Provides a mechanism for review and approval of changes
  • Ensure changes align with [OUR  COMPANY] SharePoint Strategy
Objective:To minimize the disruption to the production SharePoint environment due to unauthorised and or untested changes. Policy Statement:All changes to [OUR  COMPANY] SharePoint sites, except those listed below, must be implemented and tested in a non production environment prior to deployment in production. Changes exempt from this policy are:

  • The addition, deletion or modification to documents and list items
  • Changes to metadata attributes on documents and list items
  • The creation of new approved sites and their settings of site permissions
  • Changes to site access implemented by modifying IDIR security group memberships

  Implementation: The SharePoint support team may maintain a suitable non production site collection or environment and make this available to any person that will be testing and implementing changes to the production environment. The [OUR  COMPANY] SharePoint Change control processes will be used for all changes not specified in the above list of exceptions.   Comments:    


Information Lifecycle

  • Governing content prevents system degradation
  • Reduces storage costs
  • Increases system capacity
Objective:To minimize the cost and management overhead associated with inactive and historical data. Policy Statement:All documents and lists will be externalized to Tier 2 storage after (X) months of inactivity and purged from SharePoint after 3 years of inactivity.Project tracking sites will be archived to Tier 2 storage after (x) months of inactivity after the project has been closed.Documents and list items identified as records will be handled as per [OUR  COMPANY] policy and the Government record requirement. Implementation:External archiving and data purging will be monitored and controlled through the [OUR  COMPANY] Knowledge/Records Management team in conjunction with the SharePoint Steering committee and the Information technology unit. Comments:    


Portal Home Page

  • Governing content ensures only current and relevant information is available on the home page
  • Reduces maintenance costs
  • Increases system availability
Objective:To ensure stable and current page that will provide accurate and relevant information at a minimized management and cost overhead associated with the home page data. Policy Statement:The company portal home page will be a publishing site that is updated at regular periods or when information needs to be made available to all staff members. The site will be edited and maintained by a group of competent staff members that have had the appropriate training and all content changes Images and or textual will be submitted to the company [records management] office (this may be different in your organization) for approval before being included in the site. Any images added will conform to the quality and sizes as stated in the implementation instructions below or as may be change from time to time by the request of the SharePoint steering committee.Implementation:The following items and sections will be controlled by this policy and by the relevant staff that have been assigned these duties.

  1. Header (static)
    1. Logo updating through Master page
    2. Menu updated through “Site Actions > Site Settings > Navigation”
    3. Flex Slider
      1. Updated by Portal Home page editors group
      2. Images are 1000 x 240 pixels
      3. Each image has a specific name.
      4. Images are located in the “BannerImages” picture library of the root site, accessible through the “Site Actions > View All Site Content” option.
      5. Featured Columns
        1. Header should not be changed, as it may affect the header format.
        2. Content is editable by the Wiki page editors
        3. Middle Info boxes
          1. Header should not be changed, as it may affect the header layout.
          2. Contact editable by suitably qualified staff
          3. Middle info bottom (Resources)
            1. This area should be static and may not be edited without prior approval from the appropriate group. Editable by the Wiki page editors
            2. Footer
              1. Updated in the Master Page by suitably qualified staff.



For Governance to succeed:

  • Processes need to be tested (online forms)
  • Documentation complete and available
  • Responsibilities for certain tasks need to be assigned
  • Training for key individuals
  • Access to appropriate tools
  • The above needs to be flexible and the appropriate change controls in place
  • Measure and publish results