A Basic Guide to SharePoint Governance

Topics: SharePoint Tips, SharePoint Online, SharePoint Governance

Written by Quentin Russell

As you probably know, SharePoint is a great tool for helping your company get work done. No other platform offers the same amount of flexibility to match the work you're doing. However, SharePoint is only as effective as your ability to manage it. SharePoint governance is powerful and can help you ensure SharePoint continues to help you. Let's take a look at SharePoint governance and what you need to do to enact it.

What is SharePoint Governance

Put simply, SharePoint governance is the law. What does that mean? Well, Governance can be defined as your company's policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that guide how people use your company's SharePoint. It's a formal guide that ensures your users aren't making a mess out of your sites and pages.

While the basics of SharePoint are easy, some of the higher level stuff can leave most users confused. A poorly managed SharePoint site can see issues including accidentally deleting documents, making too many copies, subsites being stacked like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and more. There isn't a company using SharePoint that wouldn't benefit from creating a governance plan.

Note that it doesn't have to be a complicated plan - even just a simple set of ground rules can go a long way toward keeping your company's SharePoint organized. In fact, most companies wouldn't benefit from building a complicated plan. The truth is, most users only use SharePoint for document management and group/team sites. Taking too much time to make too large of plan would just waste your time. When coming up with a governance plan, you need to actively consider how SharePoint is used in your company and plan accordingly.

Reasons To Implement SharePoint Governance

There are several tangible benefits for implementing governance for your SharePoint. Here are a couple reasons to consider:

Growth and Scaling

Smaller companies don't have too much to worry about when it comes to governance. Smaller organizations with less than 50 often don't generate enough content to create messes. However, as your company grows you need to consider adopting a governance plan. SharePoint governance can ensure that everything stays organized and nothing gets lost as you expand. 

User Adoption

This is a big one. While most people are familiar with Microsoft platforms, they may not be familiar with SharePoint Online specifically. Having a governance policy in place ensures that users don't feel overwhelmed or lost in your sites and pages. Instead, they know the limits of what they can do which provides a space for them to learn the system without fear of messing with anything that doesn't relate to their position. 

Quality Standards

This is another big reason. It's important that your company documents have a consistent level of quality all throughout your SharePoint sites and pages. Having a governance plan helps users know what the requirements are for creating, editing, and managing documents. This way, you can go into any site or page and know what to expect. 

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What Should a SharePoint Governance Plan Have

While the specifics of your governance plan will depend on your company's needs, here are some must-have components of a great governance plan:

Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities need to be clearly communicated in your plan. This way, everyone knows what they need to be doing and who does x when y happens. This can include situations of document ownership, who is responsible for audits, and more.

Policies and Procedures

The meat of your SharePoint governance plan. These are the rules that define what users can and cannot do in SharePoint. This includes situations such as who can edit what, whether users can create sites, and managing access for third parties. 

Back-Up Plans

Things aren't always going to run smoothly in SharePoint. When things do go wrong, it's important to have a plan to address it quickly and easily. 

Design Concepts

Your sites should be uniform in both function and form. What that means is that your sites and pages should have a consistent look or "branding."

Steering Committee

Your company needs to have a written out plan for regularly meeting to address any concerns or updates in SharePoint. This should consist of a wide range of users in your organization - regular users, administrators, owners, etc. This way, you can ensure that your SharePoint is operating smoothly and effectively.

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Things to Consider

There are a wide range of things to consider when implementing a governance plan. These will vary depending on your organizational needs. Let's take a look at some consistent ones:

Training & Implementation

Creating a governance policy is great, but it won't mean anything if you don't implement it. Users need to be trained in your governance policies. Once trained, you need to consistently enforce implementation and track that they're following the new procedures.


One thing you need to consider is how your SharePoint governance plan will scale with your organization. Think about your growth and your plans. You plan should match these and amplify them for the future.


While your steering committee is great for managing your governance plan, some users' issues might slip through the cracks. Send out regular forms to solicit feedback from your userbase. Try once a month for it to be most effective. 


SharePoint can be a powerful tool for your company if managed correctly. With SharePoint governance, you can effectively manage SharePoint and make it work for your company. Make sure to use the tips above so you can achieve peak SharePoint governance.

If you have any questions about SharePoint governance, or you're interested in working with Dock 365 to build custom SharePoint solutions for your company, fill out the form to the right to schedule a demo and get started today.

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