Monday, 28 April 2014

Why we need Governance when we have a Process

Have you ever asked the question “Why do we do something the way we do?” When you ask it do you get the blank stare or the shoulder shrug response. If you take the question one step further and ask what makes you do that particular thing is the response an “I dunno”

The basic premise of IT governance is that it sets out to control the achievement of business goals through a balancing act of risk and value via IT processes. That sounds reasonable enough, so it shouldn’t be too complicated. The key is to understand your organizations starting point. Where are you today?

Think about whom is doing what. There should be clearly defined roles and responsibilities (possibly a RACI chart would help) to ensure we are positioning ourselves to help the business achieve their goals. It should be no secret on who is doing what.

The “what” is pretty important.

We now know 'who' is doing 'what' but there really is no point if these don’t align with the business objective. I know you hear this over and over so by now it should be sinking in. Bottom line, If you want IT to be a strategic partner with your business then you need to make the business goals yours as well.

Overall IT needs to better understand what the business requirements are, while continually delivering services which optimize cost and providing the best value available. Sounds like a mouthful, and it is. The inability for IT to do this will solidify its demise in the long term. This is where governance enables IT to manage infrastructure, applications, data and people to allow IT to deliver. No small undertaking I’ll grant you that.

Start by performing an initial assessment on the processes and activities which are currently underway. The framework you are leveraging doesn’t matter. What is important is to see where you are and then be able to build a roadmap to outline what needs to be done next.

The trick to establishing a successful governance is to start out simple. By simple I mean that there should be very few chance for misinterpretation. Again, having a formalized and communicated RACI and roles and responsibilities will aloow all mparties to know and understand what is expected to make everything operate accordingly.

Like any improvement cycle you need to be able to measure these activities to create benchmarks for future improvement initiatives. You may only see small improvements in the beginning but make sure that all your progress, whether they are successes or failures are communicated to your IT stakeholders. When it comes to the failures embrace them as you will learn a great deal more from them that success in some cases.

We need to have a fundamental shift in the way we, as an IT organization, think. We are not simply helping the business achieve its business outcomes. The business goals and the IT goals should be one and the same so start thinking on that level as opposed to an “IT and them” level. Governance is a fundamental step in the right direction to achieve this.

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