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SharePoint policies define company fundamentals, such as what site owners and developers must/must not or should/should not do. Policies typically include items such as what can/cannot be posted, how security must be managed, and developer change-control mandates. Policies typically are developed by the SharePoint solutions team, which must include representatives from both the technology and business stakeholder communities. Following are some of the policy decisions that will frame your governance plan and form the specific basis of your roles and responsibilities definitions:

  • At what level does the company enable self-service? Can users create their own sites or are they IT-provisioned? When does IT perform actions on behalf of users?
  • What quota should be allowed?
  • How will data or sites be expired?
  • What customizations/development will the company allow?
  • Can users modify web parts on team sites? Can they modify web parts on pages that are part of the corporate intranet publishing portal?
  • Will some web parts be "fixed" on the page, or will page owners be allowed to customize all of the content on their pages?
  • Who is allowed to set up or request site-wide content types or site columns? How much central control do you want to have over the values in site columns?
  • What is the right way to add permissions? By user? AD group? SharePoint group?

It may make sense to support multiple tiers of service, each having a different set of policies. For example, one SharePoint web application might provide an ad-hoc environment more suited to quick, short-term sites, while another SharePoint web application provides a more structured and controlled SharePoint experience. Having both (or even three tiers of service) makes sense for a large number of organizations. See the following table for a comparison.


Ad Hoc

Highly Structured

Site provisioning




Fixed, small quota

Negotiable, large quota

Cost to business units

Free or low-cost

Higher cost, chargeback

Life of sites

Short-term expiring

Longer-term or permanent

Available templates

Out-of-box only

Custom templates and web parts

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