Setting up the right IT Governance – Part 1
IT Governance is no piece of cake. While there is no such thing as one-size governance, “over-governance” and “under-governance” are pretty easy to spot. The terrors of the former include redundant committees, attendees who show up because “it’s nice to know what’s going on,” and long paper trails that obstruct decision-making. The problems associated with the latter are arguably even uglier: failed audits, delayed projects, and political crises. As the CIO, you need to strike the right balance in setting up governance, and then walk the tightrope ever on.
Ultimately, governance is about making decisions, assigning responsibility for those decisions, and holding individuals accountable. So where do you even start?
Start by defining your committees and working groups – the skeleton of your IT Governance.
If you are starting from scratch, set up your Executive IT Steering Committee. Representation should usually include the CIO, the business unit executives, as well as legal and compliance. The size of the committee would vary and its responsibilities would depend on how many other working groups you have. The Steering Committee would make high-level strategic decisions, evaluate the IT project portfolio, and maintain IT budgets.
Now take a look at your business objectives and requirements to determine other working groups for your governance structure. Are there any particular business needs that are of great importance? For example, if your business is craving innovation, consider forming an Innovation Committee. If reliable service provisioning is a priority, consider creating a working group that is responsible for infrastructure decisions. Furthermore, think about the areas where IT needs to have more say or representation. For example, have you seen “shadow IT” popping up in your organization? While not a problem per se, lines of accountability need to be clearly delineated between the IT and the business decision-makers.
Once you define the skeleton of your IT Governance structure, see the upcoming blog post on the next steps – assigning committee activities, members, and accountabilities.