You have spent days and weeks defining the governance of what users can and cannot do in your organization’s Microsoft 365 environment. After careful documentation and several rounds of review, you’re finally ready to publish — only to find out that your governance documents are incomplete and do not account for all scenarios.
What do you do? Do you publish the current document and then start working on an update with the new content? Or do you hold off on publishing until everything is up to date?
You make the decision to publish your document on your intranet, only to run into a common challenge: users don’t read it. That’s because governance documentation often run the risk of being “Too Long, Didn’t Read.” How do we get around this problem? And are there better options?
In many instances, the major problem with a large encompassing governance documentation is the size of the document, which can make it difficult to easily find what you are looking for. Second, documents are often downloaded to a user’s drive. It’s easier to use offline, but it also immediately outdated when a new version is published to the intranet. And governance documents sometimes read as dictionaries or as text without concrete examples, leaving it open to interpretation.
Fortunately, there are some recommendations we can share:
Create a User Resource Center
Creating a user guide — or a resource center —means you can focus on the consumer/user. This makes it more accessible than focusing the governance on IT specific criteria of who and what can be performed. You can use this site as the portal for all potential questions, such as how a user can perform tasks to be more efficient. Use guides and examples to model the patterns you want the user to follow.
Using SharePoint is highly recommended, as other tools and applications in the Microsoft 365 environment are already using SharePoint or some of its functionality (such as Teams, OneDrive, etc.) If your organization is first migrating to Microsoft 365, chances are they already have existing intranets internally or externally hosted on a variety of platforms. You can take advantage of that instead of starting from scratch.
Additionally, using a SharePoint site as your governance documentation allows you to break the content up in manageable chunks. Web pages and posts should be short and focused, rather than long and complicated. Using tools such as indexed searches, focused and related content links, or a table of contents page allows the user to jump directly to the content they want.
Tips to Creating a Successful User Resource Center in SharePoint
- Limit the content to no more than five minutes’ worth of reading. If you need to, break it up into multiple pages. Linking additional resources is more helpful than adding more content to cover a broader topic.
- Use meta data tags to categorize the content. This way, related content can dynamically be linked together and presented on topic pages.
- If possible, use automations through workflows.
- Do not document the obvious –make it a resource for users to continually return to.
- Apply policies in active directory where possible!
Establishing the User Resource Center site on your SharePoint intranet will make it easier for users to see examples of how to apply governance policies and ensure that your most up-to-date governance documentation actually gets used.