ECM Governance – Part Four

In this post, we continue the description of different categories of guiding principles for a SharePoint implementation (note that these are not the only categories as some may need to be added or removed depending on the purpose of the solution).

In my last post on this topic, we reviewed the General and Security principle categories. In this post we will look at the following categories:

  • Document Management Principles
  • Publishing Principles

Document Management Principles

Document management principles have to do with the way in which our solution should manage and control the creation and modification of documents in the system.  The reason it is not referred to here as ‘records’ or ‘information management’ is really a matter of scope. Document management principles need to encompass records and information management (RIM), but should also encompass content that is not part of the document or information strategy.  We are not going to rewrite the RIM (if one exists), but rather we will try to capture the principles behind why the architecture and strategy were implemented.  In addition, we will define principles for content that have not been defined in the RIM (like SharePoint lists) and configuration specific items, like the version control, check-in and check out and draft version rules.

The document management principles are not meant to replace the RIM, but are meant to tie the RIM strategy and governance into the governance of the ECM solution (remember to keep it simple and understandable).  In reality, the document management principles are probably the most numerous set of rules you will have in your ECM governance plan, as most of ECM is about the management of documents and content.  As an example of a document management principle, my number one rule for all governance (your governance plan will fail without it), is “all content is owned.” Notice that it is a principle that encompasses more than just records or documents, addressing all types of content; yet it still applies as a document management process because it affects the way people will work with documents and records.

All Content is Owned
Principle – All content must have a clearly identified “owner”.
Implication – Users need to know who to contact if content on a site is out of date or inaccurate. The content owner is responsible for all the content in a site and for ensuring it is up to date. Each site should have a clearly defined owner that is visible on the main page of each site.

Publishing Principles

Publishing principles describe the way in which we plan on using the intranet and published site capabilities of the solution.  They should encompass plans for language variations, the way we are reviewing and publishing content and any other principles that may affect the configuration of the publishing and audience components of the solution.

Publishing principles are about the control of who sees what and when, they provide a foundation for portals and as such are only used when a portal solution is required.  As an example of a publishing principle, I have included “All portal and department site content is reviewed and approved prior to being published”, which encompasses the fact that portal and department sites are highly controlled and all changes are reviewed and approved prior to being made available to users.

All portal and department site content is reviewed and approved prior to being published
Principle – All content changes for publishing sites must be reviewed and approved before the changes can be published.
Implication –  Content owners are responsible for updates, while site approvers are accountable for the correctness and appropriateness of the content being published.

In my next post, we will complete the definitions of the categories for principles and move on to addressing other important governance topics such as: Who does what in governance implementation? How can we make principles work within an organization?

Originally posted by David McMillan on Moss Adventures.