Sitecore Governance: How To and a Template Too
Sitecore Governance can be an overwhelming topic, however there are some basic things you can and should do in order to be effective. As presented during Sitecore Symposium 2019, you should:
- Create a governance plan (including your governance committee and communication plan)
- Create 10 policies and standards and ensure compliance before creating more
- Meet regularly and expand/improve upon your policies and standards (aim for a C+)
- Clearly communicate any governance policies and standards
Your governance plan should be a simple breakdown of your governance committee, the policies/standards that drive your Sitecore platform, and communication plan.
The Governance Committee
Your governance committee structure should consist of distinct roles and responsibilities. One person may have multiple roles, especially in smaller organizations:
- Executive sponsor
- Business owner (committee lead)
- Sitecore administrator
- Network and infrastructure lead
- Sitecore development lead
- Sitecore content manager
- Sitecore marketing manager
- Internal communications lead
Beyond the roles and responsibilities, you should detail how often to meet and escalation procedures (such as who to contact in a site down).
Policies and Standards
The goal of this committee is to develop policies and standards for Sitecore. Policies define rules for Sitecore use; standards describe best practices. An example policy is “All users must login to the Sitecore CMS securely” where the standard is “The CMS resides in an application tier where only AD authenticated users must use VPN to access the CMS URL”. It is basically a “what” and “how” breakdown.
Communicating Your Policies and Standards
Policies and standards without proper communication are worthless. You should develop a strong communications plan, driven by your internal communications lead. From a communications standpoint, you should consider the following points:
- To whom are you communicating?
- What are you communicating?
- When are you communicating?
- Differing angles and communication means
- Keep it clear and to the point with a strong “what’s it in for me?”
- Be aware of message fatigue and proper timing
Here is a sample communication breakout.
|Target audience||Communication content and methods||Timing|
|Senior leadership||•How does this change affect the organization •Concise email with bullet points||Email prior to leadership meeting|
|Middle managers||•How to reinforce the message to ensure compliance |
•Concise email with bullet points and FAQs
|2 emails one week apart|
|Executors||•Steps to implement a change or how it affects daily work/operations |
•Longer email with steps to implement, FAQs/link and escalation points for any additional questions
|3 emails and Slack updates one week apart|
Governance Plan Template
To assist with the points above, I have created a Sitecore Governance Plan Template to provide a starting point.
Please leverage this document to create a Governance Committee, Policies/Standards, and Communications Plan. It is organized by policy area so you can fill in the blanks… and remember, when it comes to Sitecore Governance:
- Governance is hard (as you make it)
- Start small and expand, focusing on most impactful standards and policies first
- K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Sitecore
- You can do this!