SharePoint governance is a very hot topic these days. Microsoft, along with many independent consultants, agrees that governance is a critical element in the success of any SharePoint site. However, the topic is a large and confusing one. To exacerbate the problem, there are differing ideas of what "governance" actually means. Some current definitions are:
". . . a set of policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes to guide, direct, and control how SharePoint is used to accomplish business goals" (MeetDux blog post, see below)
"Governance determines who has power, who makes decisions, how other players make their voice heard and how account is rendered." (Institute on Governance)
"Governance is the means by which the leading authority (the board of directors) guides and monitors the values and goals of its organization through policy and procedures. It is a process of overseeing a work activity at a level higher than direct managerial control." (marsdd.com)
"A Governance Plan describes how your SharePoint environment will be managed. It describes the roles, responsibilities, and rules that are applied to both the back end (hardware, farm, application, database configuration and maintenance) and the front end (information architecture, taxonomy, user experience)." (from Microsoft white paper)
"Governance is the set of policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that guide, direct, and control how an organization's business divisions and IT teams cooperate to achieve business goals" (Microsoft)
"SharePoint governance uses roles and responsibilities, policies, process, and technology to clarify ambiguity, manage company goals, and ensure overall long-term success of your SharePoint environment" (Scott Jamieson, informit.com)
Many online articles on SharePoint governance can be accessed. The following are good starting points to aid business units in discovering why and how to create an effective governance plan.
AvePoint has produced a good introduction to SharePoint governance in this 4 page paper: How to implement SharePoint Goverance. Please take a few minutes to read this document.
Since each SharePoint site is unique and addresses a different problem, each governance plan will be unique. Some possible topics are:
Other sample governance documents
Other SharePoint governance articles