7 Questions for Minimum Governance

Implementing a new process or system without governance can lead to chaos. We all know this. But, do too many rules get in the way of adoption?

The answer? Yes, BUT.

Yes. Too many rules can turn people away. Too restrictive of a request or change process can kill any good feelings of a new system. BUT, zero governance can lead to messy system implementations or uneven process adoption, which usually does not meet the business objectives of the new initiative.

So, as in life, work, love and health, BALANCE must be the end goal.

How do you have just enough governance to save people from themselves but not turn them away at the front door of change?

To start a new process or system implementation, we should adopt Minimum Governance so the price of entry isn’t too high and we can show value out of the gates. This is not to say governance can’t be expanded, reduced or altered along the way – it should be. Minimum Governance should answer the following 7 questions:

1. What is the purpose and intended result of this process/system?
2. What human resources will manage and support this effort?
3. What are people supposed to do, specifically, and when?
4. How do people engage in the new process/system?
5. What are the baselines expectations of people (is there a policy to correlate)?
6. How are we going to hold people accountable for meeting expectations?
7. How/From whom do people get training and help?

There are other questions we can answer and should, especially for systems, like design, hierarchy and other tool, data and content standards. However, I caution to keep the standards “light” to start until you get buy-in. Then, people will more likely follow you toward more standardization down the road.

Right-sizing Information to Fit Your Brain

info_overloadI have been reading a number of articles dealing with the age old problem of information overload. Seth Godin blogged about Getting meta and asked if information about information is now more important than the actual content we’re seeking. It is in a tag and search society!

 Tom Davenport purported in the Harvard Business Review that we are “info-satisficing” – being satisfied with sacrificing quality. I have examined this “good enough” quandary in my own blog.

Are we sacrificing quality because there is just too much information in too many channels to possibly read let alone absorb? I still receive six print magazine subscriptions (I just can’t move to nationalgeographic.com; I like the glossy photos) on top of my very active Google Reader account, Twitter stream, Facebook and YouTube channels I follow. I can’t seem to get on any other social medium right now or my head will explode.

Because of weather conditions, I settled for Skyping family instead of traveling to see them over the holiday. Instead of scheduling my time around when Modern Family comes on, I go to Hulu and watch it at my leisure. I can’t even find time to DVR the show!

I don’t know if we are sacrificing quality or just fitting the medium and level of content to the time we have.  Would I have preferred to see family in person for the holiday than on my LCD? Yes. But, Mother Nature had a different plan.  I can control what I receive, what I subscribe to and what I read. I used to feel under pressure to keep up on every medium but I don’t anymore.

Information is widely available but we have the power to filter and do so in the easiest way ever…thanks to technology advances. So, are we getting what we need? Are we sacrificing quality? Are we “overloaded”?

The answer is probably “yes” but I find that I am more selective than I used to be when I entered the socialsphere. I don’t accept every friend invite on Facebook. I don’t follow 5,000 people on Twitter. I don’t have RSS feeds from 500 blogs.

I pick and choose what I want carefully and I keep my six magazine subscriptions to ensure I have in-depth articles to not only spark an immediate thought in my brain but to have real, developed arguments and facts to consider. I still buy crime novels in paper because while Kindle is available, I’m not there yet. But, that’s just me.