Two Critical Reasons You Need to Build a SharePoint Governance Plan

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If you’ve been around SharePoint for any amount of time you may have heard of the term Governance. So what is it and why is it so important? So glad you ask, because in this article we will review what governance means to the success of SharePoint in the long-term as well as discussing the 2 critical reasons why you need to build a governance plan!    

SharePoint Governance is…

Before we can dive into why we need SharePoint Governance, we first must answer the question what is SharePoint Governance? Microsoft defines SharePoint Governances on TechNet: 

“Governance is the set of policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that guide, direct, and control how an organization’s business divisions and IT teams cooperate to achieve business goals.”    

In short, SharePoint governance determines who is responsible, how it will be maintained, and the tools that will be used to accomplish these items. For example, if you decide to use Sharegate’s SharePoint administration tool called Sharegate Governance, you would have to mention it in your plan. 

Reason 1 – SharePoint Requires Clear Communication  

Unlike most products, the business owns the SharePoint content and NOT the IT department. I will repeat the business owns SharePoint content and not IT.  This point is critical as you begin to think of your governance plan. For a second, let’s think of SharePoint in terms of Facebook. In this example we will use “the user” as the business owner. When “the user” accesses content on a Facebook page they don’t necessarily need to know or even understand the complex infrastructure design running. That part of the design is owned by IT.  Governance sets a clear line between what is owned by the business…the content, and what is owned by the IT geeks…the infrastructure. 

It’s the IT department role to maintain the infrastructure while the business should manage the content.  

Roles and responsibilities in a SharePoint Governance Plan

In this image we can visually see the individual roles and responsibilities that each individual has in the governance plan.  Notice, for example, that the Farm Admin is responsible for all things pertaining to the SharePoint Farm and NOT in the Site Collection. Smaller organizations may not have the resources to have a Farm Admin, Site Collection Admin, Site Admin, etc. That’s ok, make sure you consider how the business with own the content and create your governance accordingly.               

Reason 2 – Content Structure is Critical in SharePoint  

Often times an Executive hears about the beauty of SharePoint, contacts IT to set it up and done. Like with most products this so called “amazing product” is setup with a high buzz due to its great features and services for about 2 weeks.  As users begin to dump there files and folders into the team sites it begins to lose momentum…why?    
All too often, this scenario is familiar.  No planning, no rules, no structure.  Without structure, the SharePoint team sites over time become nothing more than a “glorified file structure” that lacks any type of organization. Content becomes unsearchable due to its naming schemes; permissions are broken at the document level causing users to frequently receive “access denied” errors, etc.  So how do we fix this? Content structure!   

Organizational content structure if planned and created during the governance process can save an Organization valuable of time and heartache.    

A basic content structure may look similar to this…  

Term Sets examples in SharePoint

Term Sets are a great way to easily identify documents.

Customized Search Results in SharePoint

Customized Search Results will provide end-users a great way to find any document with a few simple clicks!


When planning out SharePoint governance ensure both of these points are documented. Without both, your SharePoint world is doomed for failure. Sharegate offers a very simple tool that helps you manage your SharePoint environment according to your Governance plan. This SharePoint Governance tool allows you to find and fix compliance issues in SharePoint quickly. For more information on governance check out some other great Sharegate articles in the series below.

SharePoint Governance Series  

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