An Alternative To a Governance Process

A governance process (GP) has its place in the arsenal of management tools and proves to be very useful when prioritizing tasks for implementation of complex department wide projects and models. And like everything, there can be some drawbacks.

The GP takes a long time. Between submitting the task request for review, discussing the task, researching possible impacts and solutions, and coming to a decision a good 4-6 weeks have passed. By then, there’s not enough time to get the project done in a timely fashion.

Prioritization is left to a select few. Small group meetings are always faster moving than department wide meetings. The challenge is making sure that the select few properly represent all stakeholders.

  • How are these folks in tune with the available resources?
  • How aware are they of the staff’s needs?
  • Are they communicating effectively? How fast does information travel?
  • Does the staff understand how decisions are made?

Responsibility starts and ends with the GP. There’s a good chance a culture develops in which everyone lets the GP carry all the weight of decision making: if it’s not submitted and approved by the GP, I’m not doing it.

The alternative? Consider teaching people how to make the right choices.

I know very well that we are all capable of making choices. What’s usually missing in the business environment is the context.

To setup context we need:

  • A major goal. Some people call it vision, mission, dream, or strategic initiative. Regardless, we all need to know what we are shooting for.
  • A set of core values. Values set the boundaries by which the vision will be achieved. All decisions on tasks must take into account the core values of the team.
  • An example. People need to see and feel how their leaders make decisions; their reactions, their thoughts, their actions. The more they see their leaders make decisions the faster their learn how to prioritize.

Just like any sport, if we want people to make choices for themselves, we must first teach them the rules of the game, and then let them find their style of play.

How do you make decisions? How do you prioritize? How are you teaching others your decision making process?




2 thoughts on “An Alternative To a Governance Process

Add yours

  1. What is the/a governance process?

    If what you’re suggesting is a more agile and decentralized decision-making process, how do we keep track of it all? And how does ownership get allocated?

    1. The governance process is a systematic approach to decision making and prioritization of tasks. You submit a spec form for a project, it gets tracked on a list,and a few leaders get to decide what gets done first when they meet monthly.

      My suggestion is to teach people how to make right decisions so that 80percent of the tasks can be prioritized without the need of a prices.

      Managers and leaders are responsible for knowing what their staff is working on. And the ownership is part of a culture in which people make decisions knowing that they have responsibility as soon as they make a decision.

      A governance process is a very easy excuse to pass the buck. And it simply takes to long for most decisions.

      Keep in mind a governance process is useful when a project or changes to a department wide model are being requested.

      But if a team needs a governance process to decide which analysis gets done,then we have a problem.

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