If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail

By Danielle Arad - June 13, 2012

SharePoint 2010 includes great, new features for enabling Enterprise Content Management ECM, Records Management RM, and Document Imaging.

When using SharePoint as an ECM platform, limited planning is a warning sign for a disaster to come. You must be willing to spend the time to plan your SharePoint deployment, or you will fail. Below is a list of some of the new features in SharePoint 2010, the minimum attention they require, and the risks of ignoring them completely.

Managed Meta Data: Taxonomy

Attention Needed: Establish Taxonomy for a subset of documents before implementation. Receive approval from end-users on the taxonomy structure. Plan for how Taxonomy will be used in navigation, faceted search, and records management. Establish governance for modification of Taxonomy.

Risk: A useless Taxonomy. A Taxonomy growing organically or out of control. Overuse of “Other” or parent only categories. Mirroring the poor structure of shared drives.

Managed Meta Data: Folksonomy ( Tags, I Like It, Rating )

Attention Needed: Research of commonly used terms. Drive user adoption and excitement. Setup governance for term adoption. Don’t accept just any term. Plan for how the results will be consumed.

Risk: Too many terms. Repeated terms. Using tags instead of taxonomy.

Content Type Publishing

Attention Needed: Plan content types ahead of time. Plan hierarchy of content type inheritance. Determine governance for content type modification. Plan for how content types will be used in search, views, and navigation.

Risks: Too many locations where content types live. Too many people modifying content types. Letting content types grow organically and disrupting their value.

Document ID Service

Attention Needed: Determine a useful ID schema upfront. Governance. Planning of who and when a schema can be changed. Effects on existing documents. Planning for use cases when document ID will be used to locate documents.

Risks: Never utilizing Document ID service. Changing a schema when the previous is already being used. Disrupting value. Inadvertently reducing the ability to search for documents.

Content Organizer

Attention Needed: Establish routing rules upfront. Setup process for handling exceptions and re-introducing rules. Map the meta-data entry and upload processes to rule structure. Ensure meta-data is going to be present. Plan for downstream processes that are initiated, such as workflows, and inherited meta-data based on location.

Risks: Underutilized rules because of poor meta-data. Rules that are too broad. Filing content incorrectly. Rules that are too confining and make exceptions overwhelming. Users not understanding what is happening and why.

You must be willing to plan for everything listed above. Just because a feature looks cool doesn’t mean it will work for you. You must establish the value ahead of time.