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What Your Fantasy Football Policy Says About Your SharePoint Governance

by Craig Roth  |  October 24, 2012  |  Comments Off on What Your Fantasy Football Policy Says About Your SharePoint Governance

Is your office’s fantasy football league posted on your intranet?  The answer to that question can sometimes provide insight into where a company is on the governance continuum.

I start out SharePoint governance discussions with clients by asking questions that determine the organization’s place on the governance continuum (from “Wild West” decentralized to “iron-fisted” centralized). That way I can give advice customized to their situation.

But sometimes it is difficult to tease out any solid answers. That’s when I move to fantasy football. I’ve found that a basic set of seemingly frivolous questions can quickly determine the general area an organization sits on the governance continuum. Fantasy football is about as frivolous as it gets, although it does let peers interact regardless of organizational boundaries and hierarchy and it’s a community (even if it’s not the type of useful community you’d prefer). Depending on season and region you can substitute NCAA pools, community postings (“puppies for sale” or “our nanny is going to be available soon”), jai alai, etc.

The basic question is: Does your senior management allow (or, if the subject hasn’t yet been broached, how would they feel about):

  • Fantasy football / NCAA pools set up on the intranet? 
  • “Puppies for sale”-type listings on the intranet or employee portal?
  • Pictures from the office party that are posted by the partygoers (not corporate communications or an officially sanctioned poster)?
  • Serendipitous meeting: are there events that try to spark relationships between people that don’t normally meet, such as a holiday dinner with assigned seating such that no two people from the same team sit together?  Or a golf outing where teams are randomized rather than letting friends stick together?

Questions about non-work activities at work and loose bonds test the trust management has in employees and the value they put on enterprise communities in ways that formal org structure than questions about formal processes and HR policies do not.

These questions work best when I’m in person with a room full of the organization’s staff around a table. The facial expressions and nervous laughter tell me more about their feelings of freedom than the verbal answers. Besides, you get some funny stories this way. Or find the occasional underground site (“Really? Have you ever wondered who Reggie Bush is on the SAP Help Desk team? If the employee directory lists ‘rushing yardage’ instead of ‘LOMA certification level’ …”).

I’m not advocating whether organizations should allow that stuff on their intranet or not, just as I don’t advocate a particular spot on the governance continuum. I’m just trying to figure out where an organization is since governance policies and processes should match the type of governance the organization is ready for. And it’s possible to allow end user empowerment on work-related tasks and draw the line on non-work related distractions. It’s just that when all else fails, I’ve found those questions to be a useful way to tease out control issues that otherwise remain hidden.

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Category: governance  microsoft-sharepoint  portals  

Craig Roth
Research VP, Tech and Service Providers
7 years at Gartner
28 years IT industry

Craig Roth is a Research Vice President focused on cloud office suites, collaboration tools, content management, and how they are being impacted by digital workplace and digital business trends...Read Full Bio

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