I previously published a detailed post on how to create project or team site template in SharePoint. The ability to create site templates in SharePoint is quite powerful and handy. However, one type of site you don’t want to create template for is a Department site. In other words, you should never use cookie cutter/one size fits all when it comes to departments sites and create SharePoint Department Site template. Let me explain.
Why you should never create SharePoint Department Site template
The objective of creating project site templates is pretty obvious. You are running a number of projects in your organization and want all you project or team sites to look the same, have standard way of organizing documents and other content. In other words, you want to enforce certain project management methodology and business processes.
With departments sites, it is a different story. I frequently get requests from clients to help create Department site templates and my response is always “it does not exist“. Here is why. I yet have to see 2 departments in one organization that will organize documents and other content in exactly same way. For example, it is very unlikely that your Marketing team will organize documents same way as an Accounting team. One might use folders, another metadata and metadata will most likely be different anyway.
So while some basic elements like branding, calendars, contact lists might be the same, for the most part, various Department sites will look and work differently. And will be used by different sets of employees.
Enforcing a single template on all departments is a sure way to kill SharePoint User Adoption. Make sure to empower your employees and address their unique needs by customizing their department sites according to their requirements and business processes.