5 IT Governance Attitudes Foreshadow Failurepost by Chris Curran on May 7, 2009
After you have the organization following your core IT processes (more on that here), you are ready to add effective IT governance to increase productivity and alignment. Before you do this, make sure that you squash any of these five attitudes that may exist in your teams that will implement governance - they will virtually eliminate any chances you have for success.
“We are here to govern you”
The primary goals of governance is to make sure that everyone is following the plan and and that any difficult decisions are made quickly. Correcting deviations from the plan or to improving overall decision-making cannot be done in a heavy-handed way. A policing attitude will not work and is often exhibited by teams or individuals who are not confident in the value they add and mask it with “attitude.”
“All you have to do is give us your documents and we will let you know if you pass or fail”
The “grading papers” mentality is also popular as IT tries to get a handle on the volumes of documents produced by the lawless business community and distributed IT organizations. The primary flaw in this approach is that all of the work and re-work is moved to the end of the phase. If there are any major issues, the project team needs to re-assemble and rewind their thinking, which can take significant effort (see this 1988 IEEE paper by Barry Boehm and Philip Papaccio). Instead, the “governance” activities as such need to be woven into the core work processes.
One health insurance carrier I work with has positioned their governance team as the experts in producing key project deliverables and is often requested to help add to and review them as they are being produced.
“It is our job to determine if your project aligns with the business objectives.”
One of the benefits of good IT governance is to keep investments aligned with the business strategy. (In fact, the technique of business blueprinting, can explicitly make these links.) That said, no business sponsor proposes projects they think don’t align with their own business! Their projects are always well-intentioned but may not align with what IT thinks of as the right approach or priority. This is yet another opportunity to build in the collaborations into the process of planning projects - business sponsors and SMEs, IT project and program managers, enterprise architects, business and IT finance managers, etc.
“IT governance takes more time, but it will be worth it.”
Adding checkpoints and meetings into an organization that lacks standards and has consistency problems will be seen as overhead. Governance additions or changes should be done in the context of overall process improvement, not individual time savings. IT process improvement should be implemented in small pilot areas to build belief in the improvements and outcomes that will in turn, build credibility and compliance during roll-out.
“We will make the final decisions in case of a stalemate.”
Finally, if the policing or government attitude is present, there will also be a tendency to want to force decisions. This is the final death knell for an IT governance initiative.
The common thread through this topic is that to succeed at IT governance, you first must get the organization to follow a solid set of work processes (eg, SDLC) and then implement governance as a light-weight set of checkpoints that are designed to collaborate with those running projects.
Pingback: Louie Ehrlich, Chevron CIO - Future State CIO Journey â€” CIO Dashboard()
Pingback: Balancing Lopsided IT Governance — CIO Dashboard()