Striking a balance
I have talked in recent posts about the value of Business Process Management (BPM) and how an effective BPM capability provides real value to the business. In this post I want to look at the importance of governance in the BPM space.
The first thing I will say is that you really need to strike the right balance – you do not want to over-govern your processes, but you do need to have rules and safeguards in place.
If you put too much governance in place you will constrain the business’s ability to adapt and to be flexible. But when there is too little governance you are likely to see increases in duplication of effort and you will lose the advantage that standardization can bring. Without effective rules in place you will also face increased risk due to the fact that violations are much more likely to occur.
A matter of maturity
Improved governance of BPM will come with maturity, the understanding of how important it is will evolve as the awareness of business process continues to grow.
As an organization’s BPM matures, they will start to seek out governance in reaction to problems that occur, when a process fails and causes business disruption, there is very likely to be a call for more controls.
As the business become more aware of just how critical process is, they will grasp the importance of governance. They will then understand that checks and balances need to be an integral part of the BPM capability.
As organizations improve process maturity they will understand that process governance will produce high value and lower cost quickly. Once they reach this realization they will see the importance of having oversight for process improvement initiatives.
Well defined metrics improve governance
A key to successful governance of your BPM activities will be well defined success metrics. If you measure process success during process establishment you will be able to see if the new process requires improvement.
Business processes are business assets, if you do not measure the performance of these assets then governance is very difficult.
Well managed practices are not there to control process or to stifle innovation. Governance exists to enforce process intelligence and to foster process innovation.
A key factor for the success of BPM is where the responsibility for the governance sits. This is not a role that should be solely the domain of IT. It is essential that the responsibility for process governance is shared between the business and IT.