Change management is one of the most critical elements of SharePoint governance.
As documents are added to document libraries, there needs to be an orderly process in place for requesting modifications to those documents. Every SharePoint governance plan must deal with how those requests are submitted, approved and implemented and for how long previous document versions are retained.
Although this all sounds a bit theoretical, SharePoint can actually help with the process because it provides an ideal framework for integrating change management into a document library.
The good news is that you don't have to develop a change management application from scratch. Microsoft actually makes a Change Request Management site template available for download. Importing the template and creating a site involves a little bit of work, but it is still easier than creating a site.
Keep in mind that Microsoft designed its Change Request Management template for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, but it is compatible with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007. Having said that, though, the instructions that Microsoft provides for installing the Change Request Management template are designed for those who are running Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. The following instructions have been revised for those who are running MOSS 2007.
Installing the Application Template Core
Before you can install the Change Request Management template, you have to install something called the Application Template Core. As the name implies, this is a core template that contains some of the elements that the Change Request Management template depends on.
Before you can install the template that you just downloaded, you have to start the Windows SharePoint Services Administration Service. To do this, open the Administrative Tools menu and choose the Services option. When Windows opens the Service Control Manager, scroll through the list of services until you locate the Windows SharePoint Services Administration service. Right-click on this service and choose the Start command from the resulting shortcut menu. When the service has started, you can close the Service Control Manager.
The next step in the process is to extract the template from the file that you downloaded. To do so, double-click on the file you downloaded. When you do, Windows will display the license agreement for the template. Click Yes to accept the terms of the license, and then provide a path to extract the Change Request Management template to. Click OK, and the template will be extracted.
Now import the template. Begin the process by making a note of the path you used. Next, open a Command Prompt Window and enter the following commands, substituting
Cd\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\BIN
Stsadm –o addsolution –filename <path>\ApplicationTemplateCore.wsp
Stsadm –o deploysolution –name ApplicationTemplateCore.wsp –AllowGacDeployment –immediate
Stsadm –o execadmsvcjobs
Stsadm –o CopyAppBinContent
Using the Change Request Management Template
Now that you have imported the core template, you can download and import the Change Request Management template. That procedure is similar to the previous one.
When the download is completed, double-click on the file that's just been downloaded to begin the extraction process. When you do, Windows will display the license agreement. Click Yes to accept the terms of the license, and then provide a path to extract the Change Request Management template to. Click OK, and the template will be extracted.
After extracting the template, you have to perform a procedure similar to that of importing the Application Template Core. To do so, make note of the template's path, and then open a Command Prompt window and enter the following commands:
Stsadm –o addsolution –filename
Stsadm –o deploysolution –name changerequest.wsp –allowgacdeployment -immediate
Stsadm –o execadmsvcjobs
Now, give the server ten or fifteen minutes just to make sure that it has time to finish processing all of your changes and then enter the IISRESET command at the command prompt. This command will reset IIS and disconnect any Web sessions that are currently in use.
Creating the Change Request Management Site
Now that you have imported the necessary templates, all you have to do is create and configure a SharePoint site that is based on those templates. This is easier than it sounds. Start by opening your primary SharePoint site and sign in as an administrator. Next, choose the Create Site option from the Site Actions drop-down list.
Internet Explorer will now display the New SharePoint site page. Toward the middle of this page is a Template Selection section. Choose the Application Templates tab, and select the Change Request Management template, as shown in Figure 1. Next, enter a title, description and URL for the new Change Request Management site. Enter any additional attributes for the site, and then click the Create button.
As you can see in Figure 2, the Change Request template is integrated into a document library. Users can upload documents and request changes to those documents simultaneously and have the option of submitting change requests for existing documents within the library.
The Change Request Management template probably won't be ideal for every situation. Even so, it is important to remember that like any other SharePoint component, it can be customized to meet your specific needs.
More on managing Microsoft Office SharePoint Server
- Five tips to improve SharePoint doc management
- Four steps to creating practical SharePoint governance standards
- Learn how to tackle SharePoint issues that impact deployment, management and governance, check out the SharePoint e-zine.
|Brien M. Posey, MCSE, has received Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional Award four times for his work with Windows Server, IIS and Exchange Server. He has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and healthcare facilities, and was once a network administrator for Fort Knox. You can visit his personal Web site at www.brienposey.com.|