Why Consider Lean Governance and Event-Driven Governance?

Posted on September 30, 2014

The following is an excerpt from our eBook, A Lean Governance Manifesto: Streamline Your Enterprise with Event-Driven Governance™. For more information on this or other eBooks or about Agile Path, click here.

Governance is often perceived as a control mechanism rather than an enabler of IT and business performance.  Governance requirements in many cases are reduced to the creation of an oversight committee, which convenes monthly to focus on a particular governance challenge.  However, this approach is not only insufficient, but it is not scalable and is in some respects dangerous.  This approach sends a message that good governance is the equivalent of adding a new oversight committee and layers of management and overhead.  Often, these governance boards become institutionalized and tend to outlast their value to the organization.   It is not unusual during governance assessments to discover several ineffective “orphaned” governance boards that dutifully conduct monthly meetings without a clear reason for doing so.   Needless to say, governance does not generally cause joyous celebration in organizations trying to improve or strengthen governance processes.

Event-Driven Governance is a Lean Governance design philosophy that, when implemented, ensures an effective governance model that drives enterprise performance and strategic execution while avoiding layers of overhead and organizational complexity.  Event-Driven Governance is a governance concept that is counter to most enterprise governance approaches in the industry, which involve bloated organizational models, overhead and friction, and painfully slow decision making.  In 2009, AgilePath released a whitepaper that focused on how to eliminate IT and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Governance bloat.  That paper highlighted four areas where governance inefficiencies and waste are common:

  • Avoid Policy Bloat – Focus on key policies that enable performance objectives in alignment with IT and business strategy.  This recommendation applies to all policies, whether they are Enterprise Governance, IT Governance, or Compliance and Risk policies.  Less is more.
  • Do not go Over “Board” – Avoid excessive governance organizations and boards, and never implement governance organizations before the policies and processes are understood and documented.  Governance organizations, once established, are often difficult to tear down, and they are a primary source of slow decision making and friction.
  • Focus on critical governance processes and process gaps that will impact performance – You cannot govern everything well, so you must prioritize areas of governance emphasis, based on the business and IT strategies, while maintaining competence in all other governance domains.
  • Rules before tools – Do not implement governance tools first, ever.  This creates a false dependency on a technology that cannot work well until you define processes and polices.

The aforementioned at whitepaper also highlighted another governance best practice, which urges organizations to focus on governance policies and processes before defining governance organizations and acquiring governance tools. This concept can be expressed in the following equation:

[(P+P)/(O+T)] = Policies and Processes over Organizations and Tools.

This formula translates the need to “Emphasize Policies and Processes over Organization and Tools.”  Lean Governance and Event-Driven Governance builds on these best practices by ensuring a lean, rightsized and effective governance model that enables enterprise strategic execution and performance.

To read the rest of the eBook, click here. For more information on Agile Path, click here.