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Government of IT Governance

July 29, 2008 Comments off

Effective IT Governance is critically important to the success of an Enterprise Architecture Program.  Governance provides the mechanism to align the delivery of IT projects to the enterprise strategy defined through EA.

In modeling the IT Governance process in my current organization, we looked for inspiration from middle school Civics, the US Government Model.  We separated the duties of IT Governance into Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.

Civic Governance Model

Civic Governance Model

The Legislative portion of IT Governance includes our representatives with the business units to determine the business’s requirements and priorities.  The “lower house” is the Standards Council to set the detailed technology standards used for delivery.  This has been very good for us in putting the standards approval body outside of Enterprise Architecture, it removes the “Ivory Tower” perception that often comes with an EA team.

The Executive branch is responsible for the delivery of solutions that meet the business priorities and technology standards.  This consists of the approval bodies in Change and Project Management.  This puts the burden of enforcement away from Enterprise Architecture into existing and established governance bodies.

The Judicial branch in this model is the Enterprise Architecture Board itself which reviews the architecture of all solutions to guarantee alignment with the strategy and standards of the organization.  It acts as the “conscience” of the organization to do the right thing the first time.

There are also a number of checks and balances between the three branches, such as EA Chairing the Standards Council.

I am spending quite a bit of my time in this space lately, working to mature the IT Governance processes.  So far the government model has worked quite well for us as both a guide for the process structure and as a convenient way to communicate the process out into the organization.

Have any other Enterprise Architecture programs implemented a different take on the governmental model?

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