This Sitecore tip is about adopting governance that creates efficiency rather than one that hinders progress.

Governance is always the elephant in the room. If we don’t mention it, we can forget about it...Wrong. Whilst it’s true that modern organisations operate in an ever growing lean and agile manner, it is not the case that they are wildly out of control or without a plan. The same can be said about pushing digital content to users, it has to be quick, but it also has to be guided. 

We might think governance and related functions such as workflows can be negated at the start of a project but this is actually counter-productive in the long run. By setting guard rails at the start we can ensure the highest velocity of content generation to content dissemination throughout the lifetime of a solution. 

The key to governance is the framework that underlies it and at its heart should be a framework that is role-based not person-based. 

By adopting roles over people you have a framework that can adapt and move as the business sees fit. It is also a simple framework not bogged down in individual constraints or demands. For example, with roles applied to pages in a site, adding a new user is a simple one step task (add user to a role group) rather a multiple step approach (adding a user to the pages they need to see). 

Utilising roles means management of governance again is a simple task. If, for example, you need to allow more edit frame options for blog authors you can with the click of a button. A very real example, especially with smaller teams, is the ability to unlock a colleague’s page. If you didn’t deploy a role-based framework your only option is to make authors admins of the system (ahhh!). 

Content authors and content in general changes...a lot. Role-based frameworks can be implemented at pace, delivering efficiencies all round. With person-based frameworks, changes can be slow especially where authors are into double/triple figures. Of course, having no framework is by far the worst option. Firstly, some functionality will be lacking (ability to personalise/optimize). Secondly, you won’t have a track record of any change on the system. For legal reasons this isn’t good, you need to show records of who changed content and when. Thirdly, and most importantly, you are out of control before you know it. Imagine a week where endless changes are made, authors demanding access to certain areas, with the business publishing straight to the end user. Now think about operating that way for even 10 weeks or a year. At the end you will have a site heavy in administration/technical debt. Uncontrollable user management, content in various states of draft and published, and just plain bad content. It could have been avoided!

So don’t fight with the CMS, let it work for you to deliver content management efficiencies whilst ensuring governance. Basic workflow and sensible guard rails/guides will have a significant positive impact on the content author experience.

Manage your roles effectively. Remove the un-governed authors and create role-based authors that reflect the tasks at hand. 

Think roles!

Sitecore user roles

This blog post is part of a collection of posts by Dominic Hurst and Dan Murphy; Sitecore Strategists who presented a collection of these tips to the Sitecore Universe at the 2017 Symposium.

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