Wouldn’t it be great if ownership of a SharePoint (SP) site never changed? Reality is different. Site Owners move on, to a new position, another team, or another company all together. What stays behind is the SharePoint site that needs new ownership.
If you find yourself in the position of taking over a new SP site, here are suggestions for your first steps:
Check if there is any existing documentation about the site, e.g. purpose of the site, lists & libraries, permission overview, workflows, etc. Check in the Site Assets folder for a OneNote Notebook. If there isn’t one, document your findings in a OneNote Notebook and save that Notebook in the Site Assets folder. Your notes will help you in the future when you need to make changes to the site.
Become familiar with the content of your site. Go to the gear, Site Settings, and take a look at the existing lists and libraries. If you are on a Team Site, don’t forget to check the Site Pages library to understand what pages have been built. If you take over a Publishing Site, check the Pages library.
Understand the existing links on your site. Review the Global Navigation bar as well as the Quick Launch. Try every link to ensure they are working. Remove those that don’t. As a general rule, top (global) navigation links should link to content on other sites, quick launch links should link to existing content on your site (lists, libraries, pages, forms).
It’s not always obvious if workflows exist for a site, list, or library. One would hope that if they do exist they were well documented. Under Site Settings, Site Administration, Workflow settings you will find which workflows are associated with the site. However, workflows associated with lists or libraries are not listed here. The next step would be to check in the settings for each list and library, or contact your SP Admin and ask for help. Your SP Admin should be able to tell you if there are any workflows. If the workflows were done in SharePoint Designer (SPD), then you have a good reason to request/download SPD and start learning about workflows.
Understand who has access to your site and what kind of access.
- Are there are others who have full control in addition to you? If that is the case reach out to determine who the primary and who the secondary site owner is. Be clear about who grants and removes permissions for new hires / departures.
- Where do Access Requests go to? When a user requests access to a site an email gets sent. If that email address is invalid, the request ends up in a dark hole and the user never gets a response. Find the answer by going to the Site Settings, Site Permissions, Access Request Settings and update that email address, add two if possible.
- Are permissions given directly or are all users part of permission groups? Hopefully the latter is the case. If not, consider creating permission groups for your site and start using them. You can start out with the three basic groups: Site Visitors = read access. Site Members = contribute access. Site Owners = full control. (see my previous post on permissions)
- If Active Directory (AD) groups are used on your site, find out what processes are in place for the maintenance of AD groups. If a user is added to an AD group and that AD group has been added to a SP permission group, as the SP site owner you will not get any notification if a user has been added or removed from the AD group.
Did I mention this? Document, document, document…since you will likely not spend 24/7 working on your site, your notes will help you dive back in when the time comes. Also, as an added benefit, it shows the effort you have made in your journey to site ownership.