How to Overcome Slow SharePoint End User Adoption | Part 3: Lack of Governance

In this five blog series, I will describe the top five obstacles that I have encountered on the SharePoint battlefield and share my recommendations for overcoming them.

I have already covered two common obstacles – preconceived notions of SharePoint and lack of communication. Today, I will discuss another area that is often ignored – governance.

Obstacle 3: Lack of Governance

SharePoint is meant to be a tool that can be used company-wide, across all departments, and if you ask me, that is truly a glorious thing! However, I often see SharePoint solutions being deployed at the department or single business unit level, which usually opens a giant can of SharePoint worms! When SharePoint is used this way, users are not able to rely on consistent use on a company-wide scale. Furthermore, the result of each department growing independently is often end user confusion, frustration, misuse, inefficiency and even abandonment.

Recommendation: Governance!

Contrary to popular belief, even though SharePoint is a technology, all departments should be involved, not just IT. I recommend forming a governance committee to develop and implement a company-wide governance plan. It is important to have representatives from the various departments who will be using the platform to ensure everyone’s needs are met. However, it is equally as important to allow those who are most knowledgeable with SharePoint to lead this initiative (and in most cases that is IT).  Additionally, the committee should also consist of members of higher management with decision making power. The governance plan will essentially be the rules of the road for the SharePoint project.

A complete governance plan:

  • Includes a roadmap that establishes lines of ownership for business and technical teams
  • Outlines who is responsible for what area of the platform
  • Clearly defines an end-user agreement and training program. Users need a foundation of policies, procedures and best practices to get them started and to fall back on.

For more information on SharePoint governance Susan Hanley of and Benjamin Niaulin, a certified SharePoint trainer, have some great advice for developing a SharePoint governance plan.

So, in addition to creating a communication plan, it is equally important to create a governance plan.  You employees need to know the who, what, when, why and how of all matters relating to SharePoint in your organization.