Governance in SharePoint is important if you want a platform that’s going to last you a long time. But when is the right time to implement it?
If your company is brand new to SharePoint and never had an intranet before, governance is not something you can start right away. It’s like trying to explain what the ocean is to someone who’s never seen it. You need to first get them there, get them onto the beach, into a costume and their feet into the water. Once that’s done and they decided they love the ocean, you can explain about being careful swimming in them in. But you can do it all for them in the beginning, even though they don’t know why you’re doing it. They will catch on later, and that’s okay.
What you need to do is build the governance in to the platform so that the users don’t have to deal with it at first. Then whilst you’re training them, you teach them the rules at the same time so it just becomes the way things are done here. For example, activate all the site collection audit settings, activate versioning on lists and libraries, put categories onto discussion forums, format all the pages in the same way, use a standard date setting and format. Automate as much governance as you can.
If your company has had a SharePoint intranet for many years with some adoption but no governance, this becomes trickier to do. People are used to the way they do things and SharePoint may just be a document dumping ground now. If that’s the case, a site audit needs to take place to see the extent of the sprawl, followed by an intensive marketing campaign as to why people need to change their ways. This can take a long time because people don’t like to change.
Keep governance simple. If somebody isn’t going to lose their job over it, it shouldn’t be a rule. Don’t nitpick. At the end of the day, most intranets become monsters over time, its just the nature of the beast. As long as the data is on SharePoint, that’s half the battle won.