Saturday, October 29, 2011

Agile Enterprise Needs Agile Governance

Corporate governance is the set of processes, customs, policies, laws, and institutions affecting the way a corporation (or company) is directed, administered or controlled. Defined as "specifying the accountability and decision rights framework"

 1. Do we really need governance?

 Governance will remain a difficult issue for today’s business, digitalized organizations with extended business boundary at an increasingly flat world, and the desire for more innovation will make governance issues more complex. Without it, the law of entropy takes over and any orderliness disappears.

The Great Recession we've just been through even makes us think deeper about how to enhance governance. The rule of Thumb is:  Enterprises don't need less governance — they need better, agile governance.

Governance structure/body:
  • Provides authority and principles to operate
  • Structured process of decision making
  • Enables realization of the EA future state by ensuring project alignment tailored for the organization.
  • Management, assurance and compliance processes
  • Audit, legal and regulatory term 

2. What are biggest problems for today’s Governance?        

Business and IT often perceive governance as an impediment to innovation, is today’s governance over-control, not resilient enough to embrace the change?

One point of struggles is governance taking away liberties that are essential to people doing their jobs at creative way, if there's a problem with trust then governance will suffer, because motivations are not aligned across organizational boundaries.

Culture resistance to governance from project-focused staff who argue that governance hinders agility. But this argument confuses project-level freedom with organizational agility. True enterprise-level agility requires the architectural coherency that comes with an business vision realized through conscientious governance.

 3. Why do we need agile governance?

Today’s rapidly changing business environment shorten the average fortune 500 companies’ life span  from 75 years to less than 15 years, only the most agile enterprise will survive and thrive, beyond Agile Wings we discussed earlier,  the problem is not about weather we need governance , more about applying the right kind of governance according to context.

It's not 'one style fits all': we need very different styles of governance depending on where the piece of work sits on a spectrum from classic Hierarchy “Waterfall” (Control -governance) to a Self-management 'Agile' (loose-governance)

Define the spectrum of governance from waterfall-control to free-form agile, and the conditions that apply to change-projects and experiments at each point along that spectrum. In other words, define a flexible form of governance across the change-space, in which, for example, ‘Shadow IT’ Migrate from IT governance to business change governance would be explicitly encouraged as long as it’s outside of clearly-defined boundaries. Provide support to enable agile projects to identify non-negotiable constraints such as regulation or mandatory standards.

Here are seven questions to ask in order for organizations to manage governance:

1) Can the work of managing be pushed out to the periphery of our organizations?
2) Can it be automated? Can it be dispensed with entirely?
3) Is it possible for an organization to be highly decentralized and precisely synchronized?
4) Can you get discipline without disciplinarians?
5) Are there ways of combining the freedom and flexibility advantages of self-management with the control and coordination advantages of traditional hierarchies?
6)  Can we reduce the performance drag of our top-heavy management structures without giving anything up in terms of focus and efficiency?
7)   To what extent can "self-management" or "peer-management" substitute for manager-management?

4. What are the Agile Governance Best Practices?

  • Led from the top, define architecture standards, establish a rigorous and stable governance process
  • Appoint people with the right skills for the lead roles.
  • The shift of governance to focus on enterprise change
  • No Single EA Governance Definition Fits All Cases
  • Include More Agility In Your EA Governance Processes
  • From mechanistic governance to Agile governance
  • Embedded Governance in the business strategy and IT planning cycle.
  • Embedded Governance in the investment decision cycle for IT and business.
  • Shift the governance conversation from availability of IT resources to the most productive uses for the enterprise's scarce resources
  • Think of Governance as a Process, Not a Committee
  • Avoid Defining Governance in Terms of Technologies
  • Blended Combination of governance styles depends on the decision being made
  • Clear decision making, accountability and responsibility for EA decisions.
  • Risk Management to balance investments in accordance with policies and in support of objectives
  • Culture & change management (symbol, behavior, thought/feeling/belief)
  • Risk/Complexity tolerance, business adaptability, innovation, open leadership style and analytics capability.
  • Establishing measures to monitor adherence to decisions and policies assurance


interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you

Agile Project Management

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