This is something which I feel is often ignored when creating SharePoint/WSS Sites for the first time. It is also something which is not very well documented. When creating a WSS or SharePoint environment either to replace an intranet or just a small collection of sites, it is important to design and plan the structure first.
Failure to do so can mean a large messy structure which is then difficult to reorganise, this is made even more difficult by the fact that SharePoint/WSS databases are not the easiest to work with.
The most important things to consider when planning are:
- Grouping of similar content – i.e.by Department
- Site Navigation – How will the users navigate through the sites/subsites
- Database Size – Which site collections require their own content database (on a separate web application)
- Document Storage Location – Where will the documents/files be stored in the sites – document libraries? etc.
- Permissions – Plan user permissions in advance, perhaps use a ‘Permissions Matrix’
In addition to the above points, a ‘best practice’ document should be produced governing the creation of WSS/SharePoint sites. This will help to control and limit the creation of sites unless they are completely necessary.
When planning the site structure a tool like Visio is essential, if you are using Visio be sure to look at the Visio stencils for SharePoint:
Happy Planning (it will be worth it in the future!)