Book review: Microsoft SharePoint 2013: Planning for Adoption and Governance

Time for another SharePoint book review, and this time it is about my field of expertise: Planning for Adoption and Governance by Geoff Evelyn.

This Microsoft Press book, published by O’Reilly (who gave me this review copy) counts 388 pages and is aimed at anyone who is planning to define a SharePoint strategy for rollout. It will teach you how to:

– Define the content of services clearly
– Define the roles and responsibilities of customers (those who pay for the services), users, and service providers clearly
– Set expectations of service quality, availability, and timeliness
– Sustain User Adoption and Governance

This is not a book that will teach you how SharePoint works or how you have to set up version control or add sites and libraries. The book wants to help people that need to roll-out SharePoint by asking them the right questions on how they want the users to learn and adopt SharePoint, how to set goals for your stakeholders and how to set up the correct Business processes and services to successfully implement a SharePoint solution in the organisation.

This book focuses on platform Governance, which defines the rules helping
SharePoint solutions scale and grow. This Governance model includes not only the physi-cal makeup of SharePoint and technical management; it includes all facets of SharePoint
configuration management, the delivery of SharePoint to meet business performance
objectives, and the lifecycle of the SharePoint environment, site, or component

In my opinion, the book is written for SharePoint consultants who want an in-depth view on building a SharePoint delivery program for organisation or for organisations who want to bring SharePoint in and want to avoid the pitfalls on servicing it.

Because the topic is so diverse, the author doesn’t get in too much detail on each chapter, which is good. He will introduce key questions and topics, and leaves room for different views, methods and processes.

It is a practical guide, written with a lot of how-to’s and best practices on how to build a delivery program! The contents should also be made available as a course!

Personally, I love this book. It feels like it is written for me. A lot of SharePoint books are about how users can learn SharePoint. This one aims at people who need to implement it. The business focus makes it a must-read for all SharePoint Business and functional analysts. If you are a junior, just starting out in the SharePoint world, read this book!


Chapter 1 Aligning organizational goals and requirements
The first chapter starts with the big question: what is SharePoint? The question itself is a problem: you don’t want SharePoint, you want a solution to business problems. A better question would be: How can SharePoint solve the information management problem?

Answering that, you will get goals and requirements. And that information is key to define a solution. The chapter focuses on how to use  Goal Alignment methods, create measurable benefits and how to create SharePoint S.M.A.R.T. goals.

It also brings a first focus on goal alignment and the importance of User Adoption. Finally, it introduces the importance of a performance review site.

Chapter 2 Defining the SharePoint solution scope
This chapter is all about how to set up a SharePoint delivery program. It is about building business cases, scopes and plans for action.

It gives you examples on how to analyse SharePoint features, do communication, create a SharePoint solution delivery plan and add quality to your delivered SharePoint solution.

I love the example of the user requirement document, where the author takes us in detail through the sections it should contain.

Chapter 3 Planning SharePoint solution delivery
Chapter 3 is about setting up the delivery program: get the right SharePoint delivery team, Prepare a delivery program, build a SharePoint delivery plan and define controls to manage SharePoint solution delivery.

The final part of the chapter is on how to engage your sponsor and stakeholders and how to map them according to their position and feeling towards the delivery of SharePoint.

I really loved the outline of the delivery plan, which you can find on the authors website.

Chapter 4 Preparing SharePoint solution User Adoption
This chapter is all about how User Adoption and how to build a strategy to get the users and sponsors excited. It talks about the communication plan, creating SharePoint champions, standardizing business needs and building collaborative ownership.

Furthermore, it goes on the importance of training and Value Management and Value Engineering.

The extra section on BYOD is informative as an innovation – IT risk/problem, but (for me) a bit weird in this book.

I really loved the table on types of user adopters (innovators, early adopters, early majority adopters, late majority adopers and laggards) and what kind of strategy you can use to get them on board.

Chapter 5 Planning SharePoint Governance
This chapter on planning governance brings the reader from service delivery and user adoption to keeping it running. Sections here like creating a Governance committee, creating a SharePoint service model, creating platform Governance are the foundations of that crucial story.

It also doesn’t forget to incorporate training programs and a statement of operations.

Chapter 6 SharePoint delivery program considerations
This chapter contains a wider variety of sections because it goes deeper into the concept of SharePoint delivery. Therefore it touches subjects like managing change, IA (information architecture), search, documentation, and so on.

I loved the change management process diagram and the platform deployment document plan.

Chapter 7 Organizing SharePoint delivery resources
Chapter 7 is all about the organisation of your available resources. How to build and organize your delivery team, the roles and createing terms of reference. Every role is is written about extensively and will give you good information in order to pick suitable candidates.

I really liked the one-stop-shop site, something I also blogged about earlier.

Chapter 8 Building a SharePoint service delivery model
This chapter is about building the service delivery model, including the support service (broken into 10 tasks you need to perform). It also tackles compliance, legal, availability, and resiliency implications.

The author also talks about Cloud versus on-premise, which is a big decision organisations have to take these times.

Chapter 9 Controlling the delivery program
Chapter 10 is about control: So far you have planned everything in detail, now you need to schedule, track and communicate the progress of your delivery. A big portion is spend on managing the finances, risks and issues.

I really loved the steps to create an outline delivery plan and schedule. I also loved the risk log example.

Chapter 10 SharePoint customization impacting User Adoption
This chapter is about customization: when you should and should not customize SharePoint, Choosing the correct resources and understanding the User Adoption and governance impact.

The development decision flowchart is very useful for communicating development decisions to your team.

Chapter 11 Managing workshops and closing the delivery program
Chapter 11 is about closing the delivery program and doing sign-off. It helps you tackle all tasks that need to be done when you close the program: Carrying out a quality review, Signing off on SharePoint solution delivery, Confirming that training has been completed, Creating a closure checklist and creating the closure report.

I really loved the example sign-off sheet.

Chapter 12 Maintaining the solution
The last chapter of this highly informative book is on maintenance. Everything is running, how can we keep it that way? That’s why we need to think on SharePoint support, Sustaining Governance and User Adoption.


Geoff Evelyn is a SharePoint MVP focused on SharePoint service delivery and SharePoint Implementation. He is the author of Managing and Implementing Microsoft® SharePoint® 2010 Projects and coauthor of MOS 2010 Study Guide for Microsoft Word Expert, Excel® Expert, Access®, and SharePoint.

About: Marijn

Marijn Somers (MVP) has over 14 years experience in the SharePoint world, starting out with SP2007. Over the years the focus has grown to Office 365, with a focus on collaboration and document management. He is a business consultant at Balestra and Principal Content Provider for "Mijn 365 Coach" that offers dutch employee video training. His main work tracks are around user adoption, training and coaching and governance. He is also not afraid to dig deeper in the technicalities with PowerShell, adaptive cards or custom formatting in lists and libraries. You can listen to him on the biweekly "Office 365 Distilled" podcast.

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