Outsourcing Governance: Does it do what is says on the tin?
by Paul Hart, Senior Managing ConsultantIBM Relationship Alignment & Governance Practice
Monday, July 23, 2012
In this series of blogs, Paul Hart, IBM, shares his observations and thoughts on outsourcing governance to consider during your next governance meeting
When did you last assess your governance performance? It’s all too easy to think a brilliant job is being done with governance and that there’s no room for improvement. I strongly believe in the need to monitor governance regularly for the same reasons we measure any key activity. The effectiveness and performance of decision makers must be tested because ultimately they carry the responsibility for good governance. A short but well structured survey amongst those individuals involved in or around governance is a healthy learning process.
The results can often be surprising. It becomes really interesting if you survey both client and the solution or service provider: I guarantee there will be different perspectives of the same governance functions. Slight variations are natural enough but significantly differing results should be jointly investigated to determine if there are underlying causal trends or any significant adverse impact on either party.
During one project, I recall a major difference of opinion concerning the effectiveness of decision making. The client rated decision making as “very good” based on the effectiveness of the process, the presentation of salient facts, their empowered management and the speed at which decisions were made. The service provider on the other hand, rated decision making as “increasingly poor” on the basis of consistent misinterpretation, little consultation and above all no communication of what decisions had actually been made. Both sides were visibly shocked at this introspection. They eventually settled on a jointly agreed and equitable process that led to significantly better informed decision making and targeted communication.
Governance can only work effectively when the management cycles and flow of management information are clearly understood and the decision making meetings structured and sequenced accordingly. Factoring in mutual assessment along the way is a key enabler for effective decision making.
Good governance depends on a willing commitment to each other. If I may leave you with one personal message on governance it has to be ‘keep it empowered, keep it alive, keep it relevant’. Or put more simply, ‘keep it real’.