How to deliver a Modern SharePoint Governance

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SharePoint governance. I think we’re well past the point of debating whether we need it or not. Yes, we do. I would argue we need it now more than ever before, particularly in SharePoint Online where more control has been placed in the end-user’s hands with Group-backed sites and its many touch-points with other Office 365 apps and services.

To avoid the wild west scenario from playing out, governance is what allows us to have a sustainable, compliant, supportable environment over the long-haul. You can automate some of your governance processes, however there will always be a need to communicate guidelines, rules and manual processes to information workers in your organization to complete the governance picture.

To be clear, the audience for a full-blown SharePoint governance plan reaches far beyond the information workers in your organization. It also includes the IT, corporate Communications, HR, Information Management, and Legal teams. Although this post demonstrates how to build a governance plan targeting information workers, the same technique can be used to include content for those other areas as well.

My recommendation is to start with one area and build on it.

How you choose to implement your governance plan will have a big impact on how much it’ll be used. What’s the best way to go about it in the modern SharePoint world?

I’ve built governance plans in the form of Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, OneNote notebooks, classic SharePoint pages, and now modern SharePoint pages. Hands down, my favorite of all is modern SharePoint pages for 2 main reasons: it’s easy to consume and it’s easy to change.

Both critical things for a governance plan to stand the test of time.


Easy to consume

Using a model similar to what was used in my blog series Build Targeted Training on Office 365 Adoption Center, I like to use a modern Communication site and build a term set including terms for the over-all topics you’ll cover in your governance plan. This allows you to start small and grow with your plan. Come up with your own terms on how you want to group your guidance.

Example terms:

  • Site Owner
  • Site Builder
  • Solution Builder
  • Staying Compliant

Then, create modern pages using a Governance Page content type configured to include the above term set as a page property. Tag each page with the term(s) that apply, and organize them via Highlighted Content Web Parts on your site pages.

Information workers in your organization will browse to your site and, if you’ve done a good job at selecting the topics, can quickly get to their area of interest. For example, you could build a modern page with a highlighted content web part displaying all pages tagged with ‘Site Owner’ to provide the guidelines for site owners in your organization. You may want to cover things like:

  • best practices for administering site permissions
  • organizing your content
  • standards for building modern pages
  • closing down your site

Below is an example of what this might look like:

Sample

Another benefit of modern pages is they’re responsive, ensuring they’ll display beautifully on any device (in case someone has a burning governance question and only has their mobile phone with them). 🙂


Easy to change

In SharePoint Online, product changes are happening at a fairly brisk pace. You need to be able to adjust your governance guidelines, rules, or processes if the change impacts them.

By building your governance plan with modern pages, this is simple to do. Each page should cover a specific topic so when you need to make a change to something, you edit the content on the page rather than editing a huge document. You can also reorganize them by adding new tags and re-tagging pages as required. By leveraging the modern web parts available to you on a modern page, you can add images, include video, links, embedded documents, feedback forms, and much more. So awesome!

Modern pages have everything you’ll need to build out an engaging, easy-to-follow governance plan and is infinitely better than paragraphs of text on a page. It actually has a chance of being read!


I’m currently building a modern SharePoint Governance plan using this technique and it has been very well-received. I’d love to know what you’ve done for your Governance plan.

Hopefully you have one. 🙂

Thanks for reading.

-JCK

3 comments

    1. Agreed Chirag. Looking at SharePoint as the back-end repository behind those collaboration spaces is a good angle to take. I said SharePoint Governance, but all those other apps/services are close at-hand. You certainly could organize and label your governance plan in that way for sure! Thanks for the feedback!

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