“SharePoint Solution Design” document template

I published several posts regarding document templates for the SharePoint projects previously, but they were related to the specific sections of the projects.

Recently I had discussion with colleagues about the structure of “Solution Design” document and logical inconsistency we have seen all time.

Almost each project you are starting should be based on the “Solution Design” that describes and justifies what is going to be implemented. I”ve seen tons of documents for C++, and .NET projects in the Financing, Marketing, Industrial and others areas, that were organized quite good logically. By “quite good” I mean that you structure the document from the broad and general terms, introducing what do we have, moving toward the specialization and physical artefacts. In two words it should be “out-in” approach.

SharePoint brings a lot of new conceptions and artefacts that either don’t exist or are not taken into account for the Solution Design that came from other areas.  For example, “content types”, “capacity planning”, “farm architecture”. Reviewing several “Solution Design” documents for SharePoint projects last 6 months I saw a lot of inconsistency of how information is addressed and structured – people mess up the physical artefacts with logical ones, structure flows without any logic and smooth transitions. For example,in section of “Solution architecture” they put together logical design and network infrastructure. It’s ok for a Web application where all servers have almost the same role,but in SharePoint the logical and physical design are two different things and they don’t match each other 1-to-1. Logical designs is based on metadata and taxonomies, when physical design is dictated by “usage patterns” and data volumes. You will have absolutely two different physical designs creating system for enterprise to manage documents online and for the digital agency with the terabytes of media files – conceptually you have the same metadata but physical organization will be different due to usage approach.

I have some thought for a while about creating the “SharePoint Solution Design” template that is properly aligned – starting from the broad terms, which describe what the system is about, specializing the taxonomies and content prior to the physical organization.  Such document should aim to targets:

  • Lead the reader logically to the physical design, describing what artefacts the system manipulates and how they are used. So, when we come to the physical organization the reader will have their own vision of system in mind.
  • No hops between unrelated sections (like logical and physical architecture), because physical design should be justified previously.

After more that hour of analysis, brainstorming a discussion we came out with the following structure that I want to publish here and hear your feedbacks.

Update 1 (Feb 12, 2009): added the section about “Information Artefacts”. This is important to understand what are the information that system uses, ignoring the technology aspect. Is it about managind the word documents and having multilevel approval, or is it the financial company who creates the dashboard for the stock marker. This is important to be described earlier to have understanding about usage patterns, because it will affect the Information Architecture.

    1. Background
    2. Document Purpose
    1. Artefacts overview (the list of information pieces the system operates)
    2. Data Flow (how data is moving across the system0
    3. Usage cases (different scenarios of using information artefacts)
    4. Artefacts Managing (describing how different products – sharepoint, drupal and others) can manage artefactts)
    1. Site Structure
      1. Site Maps
    2. User Interface and Branding
      1. Wireframes
      2. Navigation
      3. Branding
    3. Content Types, Columns and Lists
      1. Content Types
      2. Columns
      3. List
    1. Feature Mapping (which features of the SharePoint  are gonna be used and for which purposes)
    2. Farm Logical Architecture
    3. Web Applications
      1. Zones
      2. Managed Paths
    4. Site Collections and Content Databases
    5. Shared Services
    6. User Profile and Properties
    7. Search
    8. Audiences
    9. Service Accounts
    1. Server Topology
    2. Network Infrastructure
    3. Storage Requirements
      1. Web Front-End Servers
      2. Application Server
      3. SQL Server


  1. Enrico Said,

    February 23, 2010@ 1:49 pm      Reply

    It was a while I browsed Internet looking for a solution design doc or template. I was expected something from Microsoft. Nothing.

    I am thinking start to using yours and let you know a useful feedback. At this time it seems ok and useful but I am not sure.

    I am a Solution Architect working in the B2C env that means WebAgencies, System Integrators and Hosting Company….I absolutely need to converge them to a ashared solution design doc!!!

    Thanks for all


  2. laflour Said,

    February 23, 2010@ 10:28 pm      Reply

    I don”t think that the current structure will be suitable for you, because it”s designed specifically for the SharePoint. It aims the Information management aspects.

    You actually need EI (enterprise integration) type of document, where you cover the EI artefacts.

    There is no “single bullet” document for all type of engagement. You need to “sharp” existing each type.

    I would recommend to start from RUP (rational unified process) in your case. They provide a lot of templates for each stage of the ALM

  3. brendan Said,

    April 15, 2010@ 4:03 am      Reply

    great – thank you for your time and effort in making this available to us

  4. Shyam Said,

    April 23, 2010@ 12:44 pm      Reply

    Hi Michael,

    I am new to sharepoint and I would be involved in designing the project.

    Can you please share a complete design document, rather than just the contents.

    Appreciate your help.


  5. Michael Said,

    April 23, 2010@ 1:07 pm      Reply

    Shyam, all templates I wrote is a client property, so I can”t share them, and I don”t have a time to write the sample one

    Just google by topics and find more info. If you have a guideline and steps what to do, the content is not a problem

  6. yuvan Said,

    July 7, 2010@ 2:30 am      Reply

    Please explain about timephased data and hoe to go about it.

  7. Michael Said,

    July 7, 2010@ 7:48 am      Reply

    Can you please elaborate what exactly did you mean?

  8. Sukhvinder Singh Said,

    August 27, 2010@ 10:41 am      Reply

    Hi Michael,
    Can you share a ”SharePoint Solution Design” document which includes contents with me .

    My email id is : sukhvinder@defactoinfotech.com


  9. Constantinos Said,

    August 31, 2010@ 8:57 pm      Reply

    Very nice work regarding the design document for Sharepoint.It will be very useful if you can send me a sample of Sharepoint Design document. I have as a project on my work to write a design document and i want to get it as more as possible more comprehensive.

    My email: ConstantinosCon@gmail.com

    Thank you again and keep the good job.

  10. Jaime Said,

    September 10, 2010@ 2:16 am      Reply

    Do you know where I can purchase design doc templates?


  11. Olu Said,

    October 6, 2010@ 10:50 am      Reply

    This is very impressive. You can also send me a sample Sharepoint Design document as I am currently also have sharepoint project and also need to make it very comprehensive.


  12. Sasikumar Narayanamoorthy Said,

    October 28, 2010@ 7:34 am      Reply


    We are planning to deisgn a application (document management system) on sharePoint. Can you please suggest me the application architecture would be.

    Whether, I wanted to design web application using (Asp.net/C#) with sharepoint or i can use sharepoint alone. Also tell me how to use sql server. I hope I can store doc in the sharepint.

    Also this system has approval – workflows. Also I wanted this application to make in SOA based.

    Please kindly send me the sample architecture doc. It would great help me to understand.

    Please email to sasi.narayan@gmail.com

    Please advise me

  13. Shiv Ram Said,

    December 1, 2010@ 6:16 am      Reply

    At last I got a brilliant Design document on Microsoft Share Point Thanks a lot Michael

  14. Joshi Said,

    December 11, 2010@ 12:48 am      Reply

    Could you please share with me a sample design document? This article is very helpful. Much appreciated.

  15. satish Said,

    January 20, 2011@ 8:02 am      Reply

    Please share the updated design document.


  16. Firoz Ozman Said,

    January 20, 2011@ 5:52 pm      Reply

    Hi Macheal

    Thanks for the great piece of work.
    Do you have the same for 2010?

    Please share the file.


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