There is a valid and strong argument for the large range of so-called SharePoint Governance Tools that are available on the market today, and while many of the brands are common household names, there seems to be that ever present confusion over "what exactly is governance" still reigning supreme over its unsuspecting audience again.
In an analogy, we can pretend that these implementation tools, let's call them Governance Enforcement Solutions, are your corporate police force, they make sure that people don't do the wrong thing, and for the most part, they just stop it from happening in the first place. "That's what we want" I hear you say. But is it? You still haven't defined exactly what it is that you are enforcing or why or for whom or done any consultation. So you have sent out your police force to enforce laws which don't exist, have never been defined, and undoubtedly by a governing body that was never voted in, may be seen to be dictatorial and will outrage users. Not a great place to be and even worse place to start. Try recovering from this position?
On a bit of a side note, there are more than 1200 elements and configuration items in SharePoint 2010, do these Governance Enforcement Solutions really watch over all of that? Take a look at the Table Of Content to see where decisions need to be made, you can worry about the "how-to" after you work out the "what-to"..
If you search SharePoint Governance on the Internet, you will get one of two answers, the people who are all happy to tell you that you need it and its essential, and the people who tell you this tool is what you need to do it. There is still a great big black hole in the middle, the definition of what we need and how it should be implemented. We know we need it, and we know it can be done, but what's IT?
If you think about it, the governance cycle is not too different from the Software Development Cycle. You need to consult with your customers, do a little business analysis, get a feeling for what will work and what wont, then do the build. We are the BA work, up front. When was the last time a major designed project was forgotten about and we just got on with the build? More importantly, how did that work out?
Within the FREE guide and Introduction to the SharePoint Methodology, there are THREE very important Governance concepts that Governance Enforcement Solutions miss out on, they are, ONE: there is more to governance than SYSTEMIC governance, after all they could just build speed limiters in every car or automobile, that would solve the speeding problem, so why don't they? TWO: there are five steps to governance, which are detailed below and lastly, THREE: GOVERNANCE IS ABOUT PEOPLE, we are trying to control the people actions, after all the machines don't need, use or care about SharePoint one-way or another.