Steps to Governance

During my tenure of helping organizations gain greater value out of their BPM investment through adding multiple applications to run and grow their business, it became apparent that while the concepts of governance are widely appreciated, the tactical steps on how to approach the topic are not straightforward. I regularly hear questions such as:

  • Why do we need this group/role?
  • What is the expected responsibility of this group/role? How is it unique from the others?
  • What level of effort is needed to sustain this role?
  • What type of individual should be filling this role?
  • How do these roles work together to ensure success?

Through this series of Articles, I aim to answer all of these questions by highlighting the primary groups needed in order to provide oversight, guidance, and stability during the rapid growth of your BPM practice, as well as a closer look at a standard structure to reach that goal.

While I will mostly be focusing on large programs with many applications servicing multiple business needs both in progress and deployed in production, the concepts I will cover are critical to success even from the micro view of a single project’s lifecycle. The diagram below provides a peek of how each group is orchestrated to create a harmonious whole, even from this small scale:


Your company’s corporate culture has its own needs which will feed into your specific definition of governance and alter the roles and responsibilities outlined. No two organizations end up exactly the same. My aim in these Articles is not to necessarily be prescriptive – that would be impossible without knowing the specific personalities and needs within your BPM landscape. Instead, these Articles should be considered guidance on the responsibilities that typically need to be addressed when tackling the governance question.

Stacey Wright

Stacey Wright

Stacey Wright is a Program Manager at Macedon Technologies, the leading US delivery partner of Appian. She has helped guide many organizations on their way to a bright, agile future utilizing BPM, and is passionate about making clients’ lives measurably easier through Business Process Management. Stacey was a key author of Appian’s recommended project methodology, and has presented at Appian’s premiere annual event, Appian World.
Stacey Wright

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2 responses to “Steps to Governance”

    1. Thank you for your comment, Claude. The in-depth analysis you mention in your comment is definitely part of identifying the specific needs within an organization based on its culture, key individuals, and boundaries (legal, technical, etc).

      I have found that taking this in-depth approach *before taking action* has its drawbacks, however. The business changes. The market changes. The key individuals change. So, the lifespan of the analysis can be fairly short-lived – which is unfortunate, because the steps you described can take months to accomplish.

      By contrast, growing a governance from the ground up tends to be more flexible. In other words, once you start your second or third BPM project, those key (internal) players have a better innate understanding of the culture of their business and can begin working toward answering the questions in my articles. Once they have become established, they themselves may take on the tasks that you provided, in an effort to communicate the value of BPM to external parties and to get a better feeling for the potential roadmap.

      Does that match your experience, Claude?

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