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Is it reasonable to allow sharepoint designer access to the production environment as opposed to doing all SP Workflow activities on a Dev environment then packaging them up?

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  • Its your own choice of governance. I have never worked on a project where I did not have access with Designer.. then again.. if they don't let me use my tools I can't and won't work for them. Oct 23 '15 at 19:12
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this is depend upon your environment's requirement. Like how many users and how much data, what is your backup method. Backup is really important, if something messed up by designer then you can restore it to at point where it was working fine.

I would not allow everybody to use the designer in Production farm, I will allow may be Site collection administrator or developer only.

Another thing, you can control access to sharepoint designer.You can control at Web app level as well as Site collection level.

Here is very good article on this issue. Control Access to SharePoint Designer

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