I have been thinking about Web governance and SharePoint this past week. For the first time in my career, I saw a well-managed SharePoint implementation with ample (read several hundred), well-structured sites. The implementation was easy to maintain I heard, all sites had consistent and good navigation (gauged by usability studies), and the naming convention was phenomenal as well.
I recently gave a talk to a group about how to plan for and execute a
ROT clean up. (ROT, meaning the treatment of Redundant, Outdated, or
Trivial content). Throughout the presentation, we kept
coming back to questions along the lines of, "how do I get senior
management to buy in?" or "how do I get content owners to agree to
There is a principle of "do not harm" in life. But as doctors for the Web, we all line up promising to fix the ailments that disrupt the organization and cause agony amongst all ranks, most notably perhaps with on-the-ground soldiers, the Web Team. What is often hard to comprehend is that organizations, especially those whose sites seem to be mostly in the ICU and just pages away from a code blue, are often the slowest to change and most likely to relapse.
Let me be clear at the beginning: I do not dislike the “Web.0s.” I am wary of them. That’s different than not liking them. I’m excited by the possibilities of the maturing Web. I want to lean into the expanding Web with Twittering, wiki-ing, cloud computing abandon, and tap dance across the Semantic Web in a beaded gown.
Implementing Web Governance in Large Organizations
Web Governance implementation within large organizations, be they in private or public sector, is very much like building a house of cards. It requires balance in placement and timing, or otherwise it can crumble quickly leaving you with nothing but a mess and frustration.
One of my favorite t-shirts is a geeky play on the seven OSI layers of networking. This shirt basically emphasizes that sure there are all these technical aspects that many of us are supposed to be working on (and perhaps learned about in college), but we all spend a lot of our time on political and other people-based layers (see also Layer 8).
Fundamentally, what we do for our clients is not particularly complicated. When someone in my family asks me what I do for a living, I say: We help organizations apply traditional, tried and true business practices to Web site management. At the end of the business day, organizations are trying to sell, inform, educate, influence-- you name it. The fundamental objectives are the same as they have always been. And fundamental rules of engagement still apply.