What Should you Spend Your Time Documenting about SharePoint These Days?

The SharePoint Maven wrote a great article this week on the best way to implement SharePoint in a large organisation. We agree wholeheartedly with his sentiments. Why? Because the world just moves too fast now and technology even faster. You’re just wasting time writing RFP’s and business cases.

That doesn’t mean your intranet must go ungoverned! It is FAR wiser to spend a decent amount of time documenting a proper Microsoft 365 / Office 365 / SharePoint strategy and governance plan. Companies are still missing this step, and we promise you, it will result in a rebuild down the line if you do. Every Office 365 client we have seen in the past year has countless new silos of information they didn’t even know existed. The platforms encompassed in Microsoft 365 are enormous, you have got to understand the full capacity of all the tools available in it, and how to manage them.

Take the permissions model alone; there are 13 admin centres – each with even more fine-grained permissions, 6 places to configure external sharing, 3 options to share thereafter, endless SharePoint permissions, and now, Office 365 groups just to confuse you even more. This is where you need to start documenting things. What will be switched on, when, who will have access to manage them? The list gets long.

It’s like we’ve come full circle in SharePoint Land. Way back when in the early years, we used to write hideously long governance documents. They were the bane of all our lives. Then we got smart about it and made it much shorter for the business users to absorb and implement. It was easy to do. There was only on-premise SharePoint and the platform was stable for at least 3 years till a new release comes along. (Oh how I miss those days…). But the cloud has now taken over and the tech is moving at breakneck speed. Platforms have been rolled into one giant Microsoft 365 banner and all hell is breaking loose. We have got no choice now but to go back to long governance documents. It’s crucial to have them. And please don’t forget in your governance plans, to include having complete app descriptions! Your platform becomes useless to any administrator without them! Add the descriptions! For example, is versioning activated, special permissions, any workflow, and specify which one seeing as there are 4 workflow engines; what alerts, any reusable metadata. Be specific, they are your mini user manuals to your site.

If you build any automated or complex solution, make sure you have a technical guide documented once it’s complete. Clients : Do not pay your vendors unless you are given these documents! Vendors : I don’t want to hear how you hate documentation, clients spend a lot of money on us, it is our jobs to provide proper handover documentation so they can self-service in the long-run.

Once your strategy and governance is signed off, you can run wild with your implementation. Then everybody wins.

Don’t forget to share your successes.


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