Governance and Taxonomy Workshop FAQ
Q: Does the workshop benefit large corporations or small, public or private, for profit or not-for-profit?
A: The workshop is effective for all sizes and types of organizations. Very successful workshops have been held by semiconductor equipment manufacturers, major law firms, insurance companies, medical suppliers, military organizations, intelligence organizations, academic institutions, a think tank, a major civil engineering company, one of the nation’s largest utilities, and a small consulting firm.
Every organization depends on its people, financial resources, and information to remain successful. The workshop provides a forum and process to get all three aligned and aimed at the same goals.
Q: I’m not very technical, will I be blown away by the workshop?
A: This is not a technical workshop; the focus is on understanding how to establish simple and effective processes for identifying and managing information critical to your organization. Once that information framework, or “taxonomy” is established, it can then be automated. But the focus of the workshop is not on automation but on understanding what exactly it is your business needs to do with its information in order to stay effective.
Q: How many people should attend the workshop?
A: The workshop should include no more than ten participants. Although it is a lot to ask, the participants really need to be in the workshop for the full two days.
Q: Who should the participants of the workshop be?
A: Of the ten in attendance, seven should be business stakeholders and three technology stakeholders. The workshop participants will initially be asked to form the Business and Technology Governance Team, so they should ideally represent a wide variety of disciplines within the organization. Past participants have held the following titles:
· Chief Legal Counsel
· Head of Research
· Senior Vice President of Marketing
· Senior Vice President of Sales
· Senior Vice President of Human Resources
· Administrative Assistant
· Office Manager
· Enterprise Architects
· System Administrator
· Center of Excellence Chair
· Senior Military Officer
· Project Manager
· Technical Team Lead
· Web Designer
· Web Developer
· Director of Communications
Q: What do I need to do to prepare for the workshop?
A: The sponsor of the workshop needs to:
· Invite seven to ten people to attend the workshop. Senior leaders are obviously busy and may not be able to attend personally. It is, however, important that they personally assign a trusted member of their team to represent their interests in the workshop.
· Schedule a conference room. This room should have a single common table with enough seating for the sponsor, seven to ten participants, and the facilitator. The room should also have a large wall-mounted whiteboard, an easel-mounted paper pad, felt pens, and a large screen for the LCD projector.
· Schedule an LCD projector. The workshop makes use of an LCD projector which must be supplied by the workshop sponsor.
· Schedule refreshments and meals. The workshop should be supplied with continental breakfast each morning, coffee, water, soda, and light refreshments throughout the day, a morning break, a lunch meal that may be eaten during the workshop, and an afternoon break.
· A pad of paper and a pen should also be supplied to each participant.
Q: What is the workshop like?
A: This is the general flow of the workshop:
· Arrival. The facilitator will arrive about 30 minutes before the workshop starts.
· Setup. The facilitator will make sure the room is in order, and establish a connection between his laptop and the LCD projector. As the participants arrive, the facilitator will make small talk and get to know the participants.
· Introductions. When the session starts, the facilitator will give a brief overview of his credentials and the goals of the workshop. Each participant will be asked to give a brief introduction including name, department, role, time with the organization, and goals for the workshop.
· Executive Briefing. The facilitator will then give a two-to-four hour executive overview of SharePoint, Governance and Taxonomy Planning, and the role of disruptive technology in organizational change and development. Please note that some participants will find this section of the workshop to be boring, irrelevant, confusing, and others will consider it to be overly basic. It is vital to the success of the workshop that all participants be given a common understanding of the technologies employed by SharePoint. This Executive overview is critical and must not be skipped!
· Taxonomy Planning. After a brief overview of taxonomy best practices and principles, the workshop participants will be guided into their first efforts at creating a seven category taxonomy plan that describes their organization’s use of information. This can be a very time consuming process as each participant must have a voice, and ultimately each participant must agree on the same exact seven information categories that will make up the top-level taxonomy.
When the taxonomy is finished, the participants will spend time attempting to “break” it and prove it to be inadequate, erroneous and incomplete. If it stands the test, follows best practices, and enjoys the support of all the participants, then the taxonomy is considered valid.
This process can be very exhausting and stressful as it involves getting every participant on the same page and in agreement on the organization’s information goals. However, in the end, it is very powerful to have a diverse group of stakeholders in complete agreement regarding the information goals of the organization and the role of SharePoint in meeting those goals.
Note that your facilitator is very experienced at managing group dynamics to minimize conflict.
· Project Charter and Governance. The facilitator will then guide the participants through the creation of a project charter and governance plan that describes the methods to be used in implementing the taxonomy plan both technically and organizationally.
· Documents Sent by Email. Within two or three days of the workshop, the facilitator will send the resulting taxonomy plan and project charter by email to the workshop sponsor. Keep in mind that the resulting documents are very simple and elegant. It is the process of developing a simple solution that meets the needs of all of the stakeholders that is difficult. The documents you receive will be very concise and simple. The entire taxonomy plan will fit on a single page.