Curbing SharePoint Sprawl
Written by Jill Hannemann, Director of Knowledge Management and Suzanne Carroll, Senior Knowledge Management Consultant, Project Performance Corporation. Many thanks for their contribution.
SharePoint “sprawl” is a term that has become widely adopted in the SharePoint community to describe a SharePoint installation that was introduced to a business with little to no explanation as to what users are to use it for. The purpose for SharePoint may have been explained as a collaboration environment, but there were no policies or guiding principles determining site and object creation, content loading to libraries, naming convention for files, or how and when to use version control for documents. The lack of policy and process around these areas can lead to a SharePoint environment where users can’t find what they are looking for, or if they find what they are looking for, they are uncertain as to if this is the golden copy or the latest version to be referencing. Many organizations are facing these challenges with SharePoint, and it’s through the development of policies and processes that are tailored to your own organization that assist in curbing the resultant “sprawl” that may occur through active usage.
SharePoint Governance can be structured around PPC’s four pillars of Governance: value statement, roles and responsibilities, policies and processes, and a communications, training and support plan. These four pillars establish the core components to governance by affirming the business objectives for SharePoint and the various collections, then establishing the roles and responsibilities for the operations and maintenance of SharePoint in the context of the business objectives, and the policies and processes that govern the operations and maintenance of collections, sites, libraries, and usage. The fourth pillar of communication and training is intended to ensure that the user base is educated on how and why to use SharePoint, ensuring common understanding and expectation on what SharePoint is and isn’t supposed to do for the business.