Stop Governance Bloat Before it Happens

Posted on July 23, 2013

The best way to eliminate governance bloat and waste is to prevent it in the first place. There is no substitute for proper governance planning and execution. A solid governance planning effort will ensure you are focusing on critical governance requirements with your investment in governance, and that you are not implementing governance without a clear and present enterprise imperative driving it. The following are areas to watch for in preventing governance bloat:

  • Avoid Policy Bloat – focus on mandatory or critical business-aligned policies
  • Do not go Over “Board” – Avoid excessive governance organizations and boards, and the meetings they require
  • Focus on critical processes and process gaps – you cannot govern everything well
  • Rules before tools – Do not implement governance tools first, ever!!
  • Policies and Processes over Organizations and Tools (PP/OT) – a best practice e from our experience is to design and implement governance policies and processes first, and optimize them, then begin implementing governance organizations/boards, and finally, enable your governance model with appropriate tools and technology.

Again, we emphasize that appropriate governance planning will prevent waste and bloat. However, in today’s difficult environment, you may have to reexamine your current governance model and eliminate layers of bloat and waste. Lean governance and rightsized governance can be realized, even after the fact. We offer ways to in the sections below to rightsize and refactor governance. You can definitely achieve effective governance with a “less is more” approach. You still must have a complete governance model to realistically drive the level of governance performance you seek, so be sure to cover the basic requirements of governance listed below:

  • Governance Strategy, Scope, and Philosophy
  • Governance Stakeholder Model
  • Governance Goals, Principles, and Policies (Policy Model)
  • Policy Enforcement Model (PEM)/Policy Provisioning Model (PPM)
  • Governance Organizational Model
  • Governance Processes, Events and Reviews
  • Governance Enabling Technology and Tools
  • Governance Exception, Waiver and Escalation Process
  • Governance Metrics and Behavioral Model
  • Governance Feedback and Review Process
  • Governance Communication Model
  • Governance Performance Management and Sustainment

In our view, you must consider all of these dimensions of governance in order to ensure you have complete coverage for these essential aspects of enterprise governance. Depending on the focus of governance, some dimensions will be emphasized more than others, but all 12 dimensions should be used as a checklist of completeness. Regardless, think lean and mean, and sacrifice complexity and potential for waste to effectiveness.