What do laying tile and SharePoint governance (according to #qsharepoint) have in common?

Sounds like the first part of a riddle, doesn’t it. Well it kind of is. You see, this past weekend, I spent two days laying tile at my father-in-law’s house. While physically tiring, laying tile is mentally boring so I got to thinking about work and considering the similarities between the two.

As a preface to what will absolutely be the most read blog post of August 2011, let me provide some insight. Based on customer conversations, we have come to look at SharePoint governance as more than just security and auditing & reporting. We like to say that a well-formed SharePoint 2010 governance strategy will keep SharePoint 2010 from becoming SharePoint 2007 version 2.0. As such, it includes things like usability, reliability and supportability. We include these because if your SharePoint implementation fails in any of these three categories, users will go elsewhere and you’ll have sprawl – either SharePoint sprawl or content sprawl – where users disperse content to all sorts of platforms in an insecure and non-auditable fashion. In other words, you’ll have SharePoint 2007 all over again.

So…on with the list.

Governance Strategy

Implications for tiling

Bill’s personal tiling experience

Implications for SharePoint


Maybe better listed as safety. Use goggles and read your tool manuals. And I mean the second one.

I used a manual tile cutter once and ended up severing a tendon in my finger. The cut was to the bone. Two surgeries later and I’m fine. Thanks for asking.

Your SharePoint safety net is your ability to manage permissions. As more and more critical data makes its way into SharePoint, you better be darn sure you know who has access to it and can control that.


When you mark tiles to be cut, number them; otherwise, you will never remember which tile goes where. In other words, track what’s going on as it happens!

Let’s just say that because of my earlier tiling projects, I’ve gotten good at jigsaw puzzles.

Speaking of tracking, auditing what events take place within your SharePoint environment will save you tons of time when your compliance officer comes to you and asks “who, what, where, when and how.”


Make sure you put down your mortar (glue) evenly and completely else the tile will crack when you roll the refrigerator over it.

Guilty. Cracked tile moving refrigerator back into the kitchen.

If SharePoint “cracks” for whatever reason (slow response, disk full, bad UI) users will revert to their old ways of doing things which would be an epic fail for your SharePoint implementation.


When you are done, keep an extra box of tiles so when your mother-in-law drops an iron skillet on the tile and one cracks, you can replace it.

My mother-in-law is an angel and has never done this.

In the case of SharePoint, your extra box of tiles is your “swiss army” knife tools and utilities to get users productive quickly. For example, do you have a tool for quickly locating and restoring a deleted item or can you delegate reporting to your site owners eliminating the need for them to ask you?


Sure, everyone likes that shiny new tile surface. But please put a rug down by the front door so when Grandma walks in from the rain, she doesn’t slip, land on her keester and crack a hip.

Thankfully, I’ve never had this happen.

Similarly, everyone loves the brand new SharePoint app that you just deployed. So put your rug down to prevent future problems – is custom code the right way to go or should you use web parts which will aid in upgradeability when the time comes? How will you get apps from dev to test to production? Will it scale and so on

So there you have it – Bill’s list connecting tile to SharePoint governance. If you’d like me to make connections between all things SharePoint and other mundane activities, or you’ve done it yourself, drop me a note at bill.evans@quest.com.

Until next time,