Friday, April 09, 2010

Inconsistency in Information Management System Governance, Projects is Kryponite

I continue to revisit the thought that a SharePoint governance model (policies, procedures, standards, resources, etc.) can be undermined if an organization does not employ proper and consistent governance for all of its information management activities and systems.

Consistency is important because it level sets the way that people approach information management projects, including SharePoint projects. If some projects were to take a fly by the seat of your pants approach, disregarding governance concepts, it is bad because the resulting deliverables will be inconsistent from what the guiding principles that the governance model is supporting. What is worse is the sloppy result is the one that is achieved first, since it takes less time to do things when you circumvent processes.

Meanwhile, you might have some projects following the rules and progressing a bit slowly while the wild wild west ones are moving fast and crossing the finish line earlier. By the time the "good" project finishes, the wild wild west has already become the de facto standard. A precedent is set and now all of those "unnecessary" rules are perceived as pockets of resistance and momentum builds in avoiding the rules rather than following them. This is a vicious cycle and requires quite a lot of effort to reverse the damage. It is much easier if the executive sponsors can support the governance concepts, then promote and mandate accordingly.

The benefits of the formal approach to projects and adherence to information management governance is obvious to anybody who has experienced a complete project life cycle and then stuck around long enough to observe the after effects. This topic is very much philosophical; do you want to manage projects short-sighted to get the project completed or do you want to manage projects for the greater good, long term to support the guiding principles of the governance model?

I will draw an analogy. You live in the mountains and have a wood stove. You can spend cheap money buying an axe, then hurry to chop wood with it to meet an immediate need of filling the stove once. Or, you can invest more money on a chainsaw and then be able to provide wood for the stove, more efficiently, every time you need it moving forward. It is called return on investment. Sustainable efficiency and the ability to produce higher quality deliverables (which are easier to maintain) is the result of following a slow and steady approach to information management projects; taking the time to remain aligned with the principles of the governance plan.

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