“John! – You talk about governance like its a good thing”, one of my customers iterated during a workshop. This large government organization had permeated a culture where Governance = Conformance. Their Governance was equated to bureaucratic controls that have the result of stifling innovation and suffocating the organizations ability to take calculated risks. Governance was viewed as the series of hurdles that you had to clear in order to be given a green light for your projects. It was usually structured in some form of ROI calculation and a Risk Analysis that everyone knew would be irrelevant by the time the project was delivered. Most felt it was more of a CYA activity. Not an unique situation for a lot of organizations.
Big picture governance (or what we call High Performance Governance) is the shift towards a focus on Business Value instead of just a focus on the Project Portfolio. It takes some of the emphasis away from the intake of new initiatives by assuring that there are effective controls later in the lifecycle of investments, and that these controls will allow course corrections based on realistic business value projections and a structured approach to the risk-taking necessary for high performance.
This type of High Performance Governance and performance based risk-taking requires a level of collaboration and convergence that most organizations are not currently capable of. Only the business can truly articulate the impact of risk taking or risk avoidance. IT is in the best position to understand the likelihood of technology related risk occurring and the costs of mitigating those situations. Performance based risk-taking requires these 2 perspectives to come together. This level of collaboration and the culture needed to embrace it, is a difficult thing to create. This is where a Business Relationship Management capability comes in.
As a custodian of Business Value, Business Relationship Management needs to assure that value is understood clearly through the entire lifecycle of the investment. Opportunities and Risks need to be surfaced and addressed; as ideas are moved into the portfolio, through the project lifecycle, and long after implementation. In the High Performing organization, Business Relationship Management is assuring effective collaboration is in place and that it is enabling the synergies that can only be achieved through strong relationships.
Business Relationship Management focuses on how Business Value is created in the organization which is a critical component of High Performance Governance.
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