The grey area between governance and management

The IT Skeptic adheres to a purist usage of the word "governance" which aligns closely with the new ISO38500 standard. The word is often used to mean management: running a business unit or function. This is just plain wrong. But somewhere in between is a set of activities in a grey area.

Governors don't set up security policy and they don't detect exceptions and they don't administer or oversee project portfolios (let alone individual projects) and they don't run reports: to me this is clear misuse of the word governance.

Governors don't measure. They consider measurements when monitoring the business, but they don't do the measuring. Governors don't audit. They consider audit results when monitoring the business but they don't perform the audit.

Where it gets grey for me is the activity of collecting, collating and analysing information for the governors; and the activity of implementing, communicating and policing the policies and strategies set by the governors. Even though it probably isn't done by the governors, is it governance?

Perhaps. Or maybe we need a better word, like policing. Personally I'd like to see governance restricted to a strict interpretation as ISO38500 is trying to do, but I suspect the bird has flown.


The least popular post in a long time

Well this is interesting. This is by far the least popular post I can recall: a total of 9 reads and no comments?

Governance is boring?
Or hair-splitting semantics is boring?

I think this stuff is important: ambiguity in roles, and especially in accountability, is a major under-miner of cultural change and process transformation.

Governance is boring

Governance is boring, says IT Skeptic

Well-known blogger the IT Skeptic rocked the IT management world on June 15th with the suggestion that governance may in fact be boring.

It's kind of a cliche, isn't it. I think governance fails to grab attention because working on the detail of governing seems too disconnected from its purpose - and very disconnected from what practitioners see as the real value of IT or ITSM. Perhaps this is also why "governance" gets co-opted to mean "management".

No comment...


I didn't find that there was a whole lot I wanted to say about it. I agree that it's important. Maybe the general reaction is the same.


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