MVPs for SharePoint 2010: Practical SharePoint Governance for Everyone

Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by SharePoint Server MVP Kanwal Khipple as part of the MVP Award Program Blog's "MVPs for SharePoint" series. Kanwal Khipple , is a Principal SharePoint Architect for BrightStarr . Kanwal focuses on cloud technologies, ECM, WCM and designing solutions using SharePoint. Kanwal is an author, SharePoint evangelist, speaker, and blogger. Kanwal will be speaking at TSPBUG on Practical Tips to Increase SharePoint Adoption , Branding SharePoint 2010 for Your Business at SPSIndia as well as Becoming a SharePoint Design Ninja at TSPUG . Kanwal lives in Toronto, Canada and you can find him blogging on his personal blog and SharePoint Buzz . Do what the cool kids are doing and follow him on twitter @kkhipple and @sharepointbuzz

Congratulations, your company adopted SharePoint! You are now one of the hundred million plus licensed users that are using SharePoint within your organization.  In one form or another, many of you reading this blog are now responsible for maintaining SharePoint. 

As Uncle Ben said, with great power comes great responsibility.  The same is true for SharePoint: as the adoption of SharePoint increases within your organization, it can get out of control if proper governance is not in place. 

Follow along as I go through practical SharePoint Governance Tips for Everyone:

What is Governance?

In order to understand what Governance is, it’s important to know its origin - the word governance comes from the Latin word to steer.

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

The goal of this post is to help you understand how leveraging SharePoint features effectively can help you govern your SharePoint site. Here are my tips on how to steer (govern) your SharePoint environments to stay on course. These tips leverage out of the box features and assist you in implementing Governance in SharePoint 2010.

Rethink Folders and Leverage Metadata

Folders are a familiar way to organize documents especially if you’ve used file shares or even your local hard drive. The problem with file shares is that we all have our own approach for how documents should be organized.  When migrating their file shares to SharePoint, many organizations inadvertently don’t rethink their use of Folders and leverage Metadata. 

The problem with folders is that you are assuming you know today how you want to see your content tomorrow.  You are also forcing one structure of organizing documents.  Instead, consider using SharePoint columns – otherwise known as metadata. 

Metadata is often described as data about data.  Here’s how I like to explain metadata:

Take a good look at your favourite book’s cover.  The Front cover usually includes the title of the book, sub-title, publisher, author(s) as well as an image to describe what the book is about.  At the back of the book you will have a summary of the book as well as some review quotes. 

This usually provides you a 10,000 foot high view of what the book is about. As the front and back cover, together provided you enough information about the book to make a purchase.

Out of the box, SharePoint automatically captures the following metadata for you:

  • Created By – the authenticated user that created the document in SharePoint
  • Modified By – the authenticated user that last modified the document in SharePoint
  • Created (date time stamp) – the date and time when the document was created
  • Modified (date time stamp) – the date and time when the document was modified

Take this a step further and capture additional metadata from users when they upload and work on documents. 

How to Create a New Column

Here’s how you go about creating metadata for your document library:

  1. Browse to your SharePoint document library
  2. From the Fluent Ribbon, click on Library Tools > Library toolbar
  3. Click on Create Column in the Manage Views group

4. in the Create Column dialog box, specify the Name, Type as well as Additional Column Settings


You can repeat these steps to capture additional metadata about each document that is uploaded.  Users will be able to quickly filter document libraries based on this metadata and for popular filters you will be easily able to create views for everyone to use. This will help everyone understand the document contents whether they have worked in your organization for the past 20 years or just joined.  The goal really is to improve findability.

Metadata is better for organizing as it allows you quickly see what content is available, gives users the ability to filter / sort on the fly, create views with the Group By option as well as improves search engine results. And that’s just the beginning. 

Simplify SharePoint Management

There’s a fine line you have to walk between allow your employees working freely or putting too many restrictions on the level of access they have.   Many organizations, provide their users the ability to create their own site collections for collaborating on a project together by giving them self service features.  With SharePoint 2010, you now can configure notifications and automatic deletion of site collections that are not being used.

Follow these steps to configure to Site Collection Use and Auto-Deletion settings:

  1. Log in as a Farm Administrator to SharePoint Central Administration
  2. Click Application Management link

  1. In the Application Management page, within the Site Collections section, click Confirm site use and deletion.
  2. In the Site Use Confirmation and Deletion page, within the Confirmation and Automatic Deletion Settings section, you the the following options: 

    1. Configure Email Notifications - Select or clear the Send e-mail notification to owners of unused site collections check box. . If you select this check box you can configure how frequently you want to send notifications:
      1. Type the number of days (minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 365 days) after the site creation or after the site usage is confirmed
    2. Configure Email Notification Schedule - Specify a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule for e-mail notifications. The default schedule is daily. You can also specify the exact time (default time is 12:00 AM) to run the check for the site usage.
    3. Configure Automatic Deletion - Select or clear the Automatically delete the site collection if use is not confirmed check box.
      If you select this check box, type the number of notifications (default is 28 notifications) to send before the site collection is deleted.

Additionally, with SharePoint 2010 Service Pack 1 (SP1) being released at the end of this month, you will want to check out the new Site Recycle Bin functionality which will allow administrators to quickly and easily recover site collections and sites accidentally deleted by their owners in a process similar to that of the Recycle Bin we have for Lists, Libraries, and Documents. If you can’t wait for the end of the month, then consider downloading the open source project  SharePoint Site Recycle Bin.

What Are Your Practical SharePoint Governance Tips?

Creating columns to leveraging metadata appropriately and configuring site collection use and auto-deletion settings are some of my favourite practical Governance tips. To keep this post concise, I have posted a few more practical SharePoint Governance tips on my blog. 

The good thing is that governance does not have to be complicated, it’s the little things that can make the difference. Your governance plan will organically grow over time. It’s a set of rules that your organization will manage over time. 

Now I’d like to ask you, are you already using these SharePoint features?  If so, what’s your experience.  For the benefit of everyone reading this blog, what are your favourite practical SharePoint tips? Comment below!

Governance Resources