Governance: building a better dam?

The governance process of many organizations is very similar to a dam: it exists to contain the numerous requests for new systems, projects and initiatives. Without it the department would be flooded and incapable to deliver. 

But what is better? Building a good dam, or stopping the inflow? 

Governance has focused mainly on filtering requests. The assumption being that a committee would be able to let the requests that would have the greatest impact go through while stopping the less desirable ones. 

But this approach fails on two account:

1. It leaves people dissatisfied. The focus is on saying "No". this will invariable leave business units left out and dissatisfied. 

2. It assumes the right initiatives will be submitted. We don't know what we don't know. Without vision and knowledge, it is difficult for business units to think globally and long-term.

A better governance process would focus on getting the right requests in. It would work collaboratively with the business units throughout the years to plan and roadmap their evolution. Then the committees could focus not on saying "No" but instead on saying "Go". 

Posted on February 2, 2014 and filed under blog.