Painting the lines of governance

January 29, 2013 —  (Page 1 of 3)
I have come to realize that governance and compliance are two words that few companies in the SharePoint world truly understand. What do these words mean, and how do they wreak havoc on otherwise successful projects? Moreover, why is governance so difficult to dictate, implement and manage for organizations? Many articles have been written to try to address this issue, but this one takes a slightly different perspective by looking at the foundation or starting point in governance—a common understanding.

When I am working with a client, my first step is always to ensure a common understanding between us, so that we can begin moving forward together. My description of governance and compliance in kick-off meetings is as follows: Picture a huge parking lot on a beautiful summer day, with cars neatly lined up row after row. From a bird’s-eye view, you can see the yellow lines clearly marking each spot, and the cars, each backed in, waiting for their owners. You can make out the parking receipts on the dashboard of each car, indicating that the owner has paid for that spot for a specific amount of time. In the adjacent building, you can see that the meter man is leaving his office to check the cars, as he does every two hours, on the hour.

So, how does my parking example relate to governance and compliance? It’s simple. The existence of yellow lines, expectation of purchase and cars parking between the lines are all part of governance. Each of these standards has been created from what largely amounts to a governance plan. When drivers pull into a parking lot, they understand that they must park between the lines, pay for use of that spot, and park in an organized way in order to only use one spot (we have all seen that car parked on or over the line, so trigger that memory the next time a site is created or used improperly). Compliance is the meter man, the individual who has to look at each receipt to ensure the owner has paid for use of the spot. If they do not, a ticket will be issued for a higher value than the original ticket purchase, to underscore the fact that one must pay for use of the spot.

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