CIOs’ Frequently Asked Questions About Governance

CIOs Frequently Asked Questions About GovernanceCIOs’ Frequently Asked Questions About Governance

GARTNER, February 10, 2015


  • Governance is a process and a framework for enterprise decisions.
  • IT Governance is a significant part of a larger, enterprise governance model.
  • Most enterprises don’t govern well: models are unclear, inflexible and cumbersome.
  • Given that IT spans business units, it is often an indicator of your organization’s overall governance-health, and first to face systemic issues. CIOs play a pivotal role in shaping an enterprise’s governance model for ongoing and  project specific needs.
  • Guiding Principles for Governance Models (based on FAQs from 1,694 companies):

–  Default to the simplest (least) amount of governance; agile is better than bigger.
–  Start by building your governance framework! The intent of a framework is to support your enterprise’s goals and values (while balancing investments and risks). Think of building your governance framework like a target portfolio.
–  Governance frameworks define the outcomes your governance process aims to achieve.
–  Governance processes includes the structures, roles and tools required to execute a framework.
–  Focusing improvement efforts on communication plans and means for measuring for results typically yields the greatest return for an enterprise.

  • Minimum governance models include the following stakeholders: primary (board level), secondary (CEO, CFO, CIO, COO, head of HR, sales, marketing), tertiary (prioritization counsels, risk assessments, financial analysis, etc.).
  • Minimum information sets for high quality decisions include: one page strategy or business capability map, a business case template (potential value and risk of investment), project investment dashboard, portfolio view showing investment relationships, implementation roadmap, and communication plan.
  • Minimum communication tools include: governance charter, framework for decision criteria, and a mechanism to track and estimate resources.

Our Point of View:

  • CIOs are responsible for the IT governance model that determines the solutions selected by an enterprise. To do so effectively, he or she must understand how the solutions they pursue enhance their enterprise’s initiatives, enable or improve existing processes, and execute strategies that are key to attaining organizational goals.
  • Enterprise-wide, line of business (LOB), and IT priorities, requirements, and criteria for measuring success must be taken into consideration.
  • Effective governance models include all levels of your enterprise and are more than processes and frameworks. They should be enabled by a shared set of enterprise-wide decision-making standards (mind-set, skill-set, tool-set) that empower employees to articulate a clear vision and make day-to-day decisions consistent with corporate values.
  • A healthy stakeholder mindset includes the idea that his or her goal is not to be right, but to get it right. It is based on truth, trust and transparency, and shared accountability for success.
  • Toolsets assist governance models (and CIOs) by getting the minimum information set for decisions down “on paper” and focusing stakeholders on the specifics that matter. Because toolsets can illustrate different points of view simultaneously, they remove false choices among stakeholder perspectives, create a shared frame for communication, and catalyze progress.
  • Forward acting CIOs are deploying decision-making standards (Mind-set, Skill-set, Tool-set) to successfully enable enterprise-wide IT governance.

pdfCIOs’ Frequently Asked Questions About Governance

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