Brian Blogs on SharePoint

Information, curiosities, and observations about SharePoint and the community.

Archive for August, 2009

Governance? We don’t need no stinkin Governance…

Posted by Brian Gough on August 27, 2009

I have been on a contract for a large retailer recently, and seeing the issues they are facing currently prompted me to write this little rant.

I’m sure many of you have heard statements similar to these…

“We won’t need a real governance plan, the site owners can manage their sites themselves..” or

“We will add a governance plan later; let’s just get it installed so we can start using it.”

This company installed MOSS with the intent of releasing it slowly to throughout their organization. We all know about “best intentions” don’t we? As you can probably guess, they had a major ‘Share-plosion’ and sites were popping up everywhere with all kinds of variances in their sites. I do not know how the genie got out of the bottle but it did. Maybe if you knew the right person you could get a site created and they told two friends and they told two friends, etc. Who knows?

All the different groups had great intentions and meant well. They want to use SharePoint to help them stay organized and get their jobs done quicker and easier. This is great, perfect,… but they had no governance plan in place. Uh oh…

Flash forward a couple of years….

Do any of you remember the Super Bowl commercial of the cowboys trying to herd cats? Keep that image in mind as you read on…

Now that the cats are loose, they have a governance plan and are trying to implement and enforce it. This is rarely an easy task. Now they are faced with the uphill battle of getting control over all those sites ( cats ) and their owners. (if the owners are even with the company any longer ) Some of the situations they are facing now are; where one team wants the features another team has ( note the little’f’); or site owners have moved on to other teams or other companies; or folks have gotten used to working with their sites in certain ways and having certain capabilities ( and usually are not very open to giving any of it up); some groups customized their sites rather nicely, while others have done very little customizing and just leveraged the Out of the box look and feel, and capabilities. All these and more can cause untold numbers of issues in the long and short term.

Now, not only do they have a technical battle to fight, they have a PR battle to fight as well. The PR battle itself has multiple fronts. One for their team and what they are trying to accomplish to make everything better, and one for SharePoint itself. Users that were not trained properly, or just thrown into what some person had created and left for them, get frustrated. They tend to blame the product instead of the process or configuration. This generates naysayers that could impede what you are trying to do with SharePoint as negativity about the product spreads.

This is where we are now, and I am sure it will all work out fine. They have a good team of people in place and a much clearer goal. But it is going to take work, patience and finesse to get where they need to be.

This is all very unfortunate, and it happens more often than you may think. Anytime I am at a community event or gathering of some kind, I always hear another “governance” story. Many of these problems could have been avoided by taking the time up front to define a governance plan and implement it from the get go. I know it is tempting to install SharePoint and “start getting your money’s worth out of it” right away, but the unseen costs, both financially, and from a morale perspective should be given very real consideration. So please, please stress the importance of governance “early and often” as it will make your life easier and your users lives easier in the long run.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great day!

Brian Gough


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Code Camp is coming to town!

Posted by Brian Gough on August 25, 2009

“Again?” you ask?  Yes, again, but this time it’s bigger and better than ever!  We are teaming up with other User Groups in the Carolina’sand pooling our resources.  This promises to be the biggest one yet.  It is scheduled for October 10, 2009 so mark your calendars!

The call for speakers should be open real soon now.

Here is the official site –

Stay tuned and hope to see you there!



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