There's been lots of chatter online recently about Web governance... particularly when it comes to SharePoint. Just do a Twitter search on "governance sharepoint" and you'll see what I mean. Even sharepointgovernance.org launched recently. Can you tell it's a hot topic?
Definition of back channel communication: "'Grapevine' or informal communications that travels parallel to (and sometimes ahead of) official channels in an organization or society" from BusinessDictionary.com.
Of course, the "real work" of organizations is usually done informally, so unofficial communication is extremely important. That said, if you run a large Web site, you have probably encountered these types of internal issues:
The WelchmanPierpoint offices are located in Baltimore, MD. So what, you ask? Well, Baltimore is about 40 minutes by train from Washington, DC, so, we have a lot of federal government clients. We didn't plan it that way, it just worked out like that. As it turns out, that's not a bad thing. Federal government agencies for the most part have pretty messed up Web sites. And that's what we like: big, super-bad, un-navigable Web site atrocities.
For a few years, I hosted a fun annual scavenger hunt in the Adams Morgan / Dupont Circle area of Washington, DC. Before everyone raced out with the clue list, I would go over the rules -- everyone would roll their eyes and groan at this point. A few hours later, after everyone got back with ginko leaves, strangers' phone numbers, religious group brochures, and obscure cooking ingredients, there would be quite vocal disputes over who got points for what. Of course, at that point, the rules would help move things along so that the prizes could be given out.
So there I was facilitating a Web standards team meeting recently when I hear, "Could we just compile the best practices on all this instead of working on crafting Web standards in these meetings?" Hmm. I too wish it were that easy.