Reusability as a SharePoint guiding principle

There are very few instances where you will interact with SharePoint and NOT find yourself in a position to benefit from re-used content in one form or another. From site columns to site templates, “one-off” content creation has practically no place in a well-planned SharePoint environment. SharePoint wants you to leverage that which has already been created, which is why so many features and tools exist that facilitate this behavior.

Create for re-use
The more you can standardize aspects of your SharePoint site, the better off you are. The more users your site has, the greater this need. Every time you create with re-use in mind, you save time and effort down the road for everyone (even though you may not see instant return on your investment). You also increase consistency, improve adoption rates, boost search results and build integration.

This is important to remember when you’re tempted to just throw another choice column into a default document library or list… instead, stop and consider whether that column should really be a site column. Wouldn’t it be better to place that column in a location where everyone could benefit from it? And while we’re on the subject, why not go ahead and save that library as a template, so no one has to recreate it from scratch? If you thought it was worth creating, chances are someone else will too.

I feel so strongly about this that I will go so far as to say ,“If you create something in SharePoint without first thoughfully evaluating it for re-use (or incorporation into an already-existing content element), you’re doing it wrong.” That evaluation should become second nature and be part of every creation process.

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