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Governance Program: Watch What You Are Doing – Everyone Else Is

If you recall, in my last post I talked about communications and how it is a critical element for a successful program. I mentioned one aspect of that being communicating the benefits and value of the governance artifacts, and to do that requires measurements that help you gauge that success.

To measure successfully requires two main things: one is obviously the metrics themselves and the other is taking those measurements consistently and diligently (leaving it to communications to trumpet the successes.)

The metrics themselves must resonate with those that must be reassured that what governance is doing is worthwhile. This may be those that have to adhere to the rules or those who have a vested interest in that adherence. So, defining these metrics requires focusing on how the particular component helps achieve an outcome that is beneficial to the stakeholder. Notice the subtle difference here. It is not about measuring the value of the OUTCOME, but measuring the value of the COMPONENT’s contribution to achieving that outcome. This is why you see in many of the Governance Stewardship Applications we discussed previously, capabilities for associating value to the component itself and analyzing its impact. Measurements can be either quantitative or qualitative in nature, although a good mix of both is ideal. It may also not be necessary to associate metrics with every component, but there are likely key rules or controls that really need to be validated through measurement.

The other piece of the puzzle is the actual monitoring and taking of the measurements. Other than the resources to do the work (people or technology), it is important to determine the appropriate cadence for each measure, and are you looking for trends or single outliers or some other indicator? Although the focus is on demonstrating the success or value of the components, it is equally valuable to identify those that may not be working as anticipated as well. Even those that aren’t working as planned can be “spun” in such a way that the user community is appreciative of your efforts (“hey, we determined you don’t have to change your password every week anymore!”)

To effectively establish, take and analyze measures requires time and resources – which is often why it is not done, or not done consistently. It is up to you (communications) to continually remind the organization that it is just as important to make sure all the rules and controls are actually working as it is to put them in place. This may sound obvious to most, but, when it comes time to actually allocate time and resources, measuring sometimes gets lost.

I hope these posts on governance have been helpful (and readable.) As I said, there may be future entries, but this wraps up the series on what Governance means to me. Thanks for sticking with me through these past few months and good luck in your Governance endeavors!

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Mark Steinbacher

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