A popular question lately is one framed along the lines of: “What are the best practices / a model / the ultimate answer, for me to employ to improve my organization’s IT governance”.
Let me say that if I had the “ultimate answer” to better governance in organizations, I would patent it at once; and then retire to Monaco, to enjoy my royalties – tax free! (sigh!)
There are, however, two pieces of advice which are useful, and almost always – when carried out with some intellectual honesty – provide insight and indicate a direction to take. And, it seems that both of these, for some reason, elude many folks.
First, ask yourself the question(s) “What is it that I want fixed, and, think can be fixed by improvements or implementation of this IT governance thing?” It should be possible to document this in a brief, bulleted list, or a paragraph of a few sentences. If you – and your colleagues – cannot complete this exercise in, let’s say, 10 minutes; and, agree easily that this is what you want fixed; consider that you either don’t know what’s broken or at issue, or it is not terribly serious to get it fixed.
OK, you’ve got your list or paragraph! Next, seek out someone who is an “expert” in organizational and/or IT governance, and/or assessment and/or maturity; and, who is outside your organization. Give them your list or paragraph, and ask them if your expectation that this is / can be fixed by implementation or changes in some aspects of IT governance is correct, or not. Don’t ask them for the answer, just to check the expectation.
Second, (and if your first question was answered “yes” ) ask yourself if you / your colleagues understand your current “state” with regard to IT governance – in the area addressed by your bulleted list or paragraph. Do you understand, or are there, specific governance policies, a documented governance structure, clear lines of authority for decisions, agreed / documented practices, and common understanding by leaders and staff for all of the preceding. Here, again, the help of an expert would be useful – and save both time and effort in collection and evaluation. Now, you not only know your current “state” (and departure point), but, have a baseline for change and / or improvement. You can’t tell what’s better, if you don’t know where you’ve started!
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