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Are You Asking the Right Governance Questions?

Cloud_QuestionIt’s been said that there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. While this is not always true (check out these stupid questions out if you doubt that), there are definitely better questions than others you can be asking.

Knowledge management expert Susan Hanley, believes the trick with good governance is not about asking good or bad questions, it’s about asking the right questions.

Here’s why…

to understand what your governance policy should contain really depends on first understanding what’s important for the business, that is, your business objectives. Once you understand what your business is trying to achieve, you can then work out what needs to be in place to achieve these goals.

As luck would have it, there’s very rarely one person that has all the information so you’re going to need to elicit it from a number of people through some targeted “governance conversations”. Here’s where asking the right questions comes into play. You’re probably dealing with some busy people here and you might only get one shot at this so you’d better get it right.

Wouldn’t it be great to have some tried and tested questions from an expert, someone who’s done all the heavy lifting for you?


Susan has spent a lot of time working with clients to create governance plans for enterprise collaboration technologies and in the course of her work and has asked a number of different questions in order to discover the right ones. She has created a template for these questions and because she is so generous and loves sharing her hard earned wisdom, you can download them here for free.

While some of these questions are specific to SharePoint and Office 365 Governance, a lot are broader and could be applied to other enterprise collaboration technologies.


Susan_Hanley_Governance Questions


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These questions are regularly updated as Susan learns more about the best questions to ask so make sure you check her site for updates.

How to get the most out of this framework

  • Start by setting up a series of meetings, each designed to focus on a specific topic. This ensures that the right stakeholders can be brought in at the right time and the governance conversations are as targeted as possible. Susan has broken these down in her document which you might like to follow.Distribute the questions in advance to give people time to prepare.
  • Don’t spend any more than 2-3 hours per meeting and don’t make them all in the same week – because the governance stakeholders may need some time to think about the implications of some of their decisions and socialize them with their colleagues.
  • These questions work best when they’re adapted for each individual organisation so make sure you tailor these to suit yours.
  • Make sure to include people who are empowered to make decisions and answer the questions – and make sure that you have the right people for the right questions. For example, you will need to engage people from HR when you ask questions about what should be included in the User Profile.

About the Author

Sue_HanleySusan Hanley is an expert in knowledge management and the design, development and implementation of collaboration solutions. She was also a top rated speaker at Enterprise Collaboration Innovation & Tech Fest.

Sue’s client list includes many of the Fortune 500 along with some of the world’s leading academic, professional services, and not-for-profit organisations. Sue is an avid skier, so if you want to find her in the winter, it’s best to look on the ski slopes!


















Image courtesy of and Ventrilock