At GTconsult, we set a goal to take a deep dive into a governance method that could actually work in the real world. We started mapping out all of the input we receive from various community members and organizations about their successes and failures in implementing governance. One key question kept coming to mind, “What is really causing governance to be such a hot issue year upon year?”

The answer that we came to is that the various approaches may be too narrow. Even though we may feel like our governance plans are never ending and sitting around somewhere is that 153 page document you hired that consultant (hah) to help you construct, we have not been considering the biggest piece of all. The users — or more broadly, the usage of our environments.

In order to help illustrate what this means, we came up with the “pillars” of practical governance. These are what we consider to be the main focus areas for a well-rounded, effective governance strategy.

Starting with the aptly named Foundation, ensuring that you have the right support for your strategy from both a technical and business point of view.

Followed by Administration, which includes the cornerstone of establishing shared ownership of the platform with areas of the business that have vested interest and also accounting for risk management.

The last two pillars are where we see many attempts fall short. The user/ front-end/ business/ heart of the platform focused pillars.

Communication, making extra, special sure that you are including communication in your governance strategies along with establishing the appropriate governing bodies with a focus on soft skills. Yes, I know, those are scary words.

And last but absolutely not least Adoption, focusing on fostering relationships with business-side users by empowering, rewarding, teaching and making the platform FUN to use.

If you focus on these areas and construct a well-rounded approach to governance, you  will be able to remain up close and personal with your platform while reducing risk, adding value back in to the business and empowering employees.

What do you all think? Would you be willing to attempt a practical governance strategy in your organizations?