JIG – Just In-time Governance

By Daniel Antion posted 09-26-2012 08:28


Can you stand one more blog post about governance? How about if I promise to make it short? I have been reading several posts on governance lately, and while I find them impressive and insightful, they lead me to make that comment that I hate to make: “that wouldn’t work in our shop.” The reason I make that comment is because we are small, 35 people small and some things, like monthly meetings of a proper governance committee, just won’t happen. The reason I hate making that comment is because our content doesn’t know that we’re small. We are working to establish a SharePoint-based information management program, and I do not want to get to the finish line and say: “we did the best we could with the resources we had.” The end-result in SharePoint is almost binary in nature, it is either going to be beneficial to the organization or not.

I read about governance, because I have to find a way to make it practical in a small setting. I have to find a way to achieve some of the “You’ve done governance right when” barometric readings that Chris Walker mentioned. It would be so nice if social media wasn’t scary and if the only people focusing on governance were paid to do so. The best thing that I’ve read lately was the opening sentence in Susan Goodman’s recent post where she said:

“An Electronic Records Management (ERM) Program should typically form part of a broader enterprise-wide Records and Information Management (RIM) Program in an organization that includes management records of all media (hard-copy, electronic) enterprise-wide.”

In reality, I might get shot if I suggested that our company needs, not one but two committees dealing with records and information management, but the more I think about what I read in these two posts, the more I realize that I have to adapt these ideas into my organization. I can’t form two committees, but I can achieve the same goal. There are a few people in our company who understand content management and the broad role of governance. Those people can provide good advice, they can answer questions and they can review proposed solutions. There are other people (people with titles) who can provide a sanity-check on the first group, and actually sign-off on things. If we (practitioners) bounce between these people, we can gain the benefit from their participation without having any committees, without having regular meetings and without ever actually saying the word governance.

The key requirement for us is to have a project manager or team leader who understands governance and who understands the skills held by the various people in our organization. His or her job then becomes to take governance issues, questions and suggestions to those people at the right point during the project, and to document and implement the answers, responses and ideas. The biggest threat to this way of operating, and the most important thing to avoid is for the project manager to think “oh, I know this answer, I won’t bother anyone else.” Every decision should have input from people who represent all the channels and every decision should be approved. It can be as simple as a series of two minute question and answer sessions, but at the end of the project, as Chris said: “You get defensible disposition and it’s implemented.”

#ElectronicRecordsManagement #SharePoint #smallbusiness #InformationGovernance #sharepoint #governance
1 comment


09-27-2012 23:22

I've been thinking the same lately after hearing a similar recommendation. My takeaway: A hybrid solution that includes soliciting input at key times during projects and then incorporating that into a "light" committee effort may be just the right combination. Thank you!