The Governance Maturity Project

by Steve Brachmann

The maturity level of an organization's governance is important to develop focused, goal-driven business operations. Governance maturity refers to the level of business oversight required to accomplish business goals effectively. Immature governance principles can lead to inefficiencies in business, and lost profit. Developing a governance maturity model for one area of business or an entire organization can help minimize business risks and streamline operations.

Principles

To begin implementing a governance maturity model in a business or organization, administrators must first determine the shortcomings of the company. These concerns in business practices can help administrators identify work principles that should be implemented to improve an organization's efficiency. Governance maturity principles might include clearer definitions of a board or committee's responsibilities, a plan approval process for projects, or the development of criteria for reporting project risks or concerns.

Alignment

Aligning business goals with the various resources at your business's disposal, such as human resources or information technologies, is one of the main goals of any governance maturity project. The principles outlined in a maturity project highlight ways an organization can attain better strategic alignment between their goals and resources, and whether to accomplish business goals or reduce risks. Administrators implementing a governance maturity program must have advanced communication and coordination skills, especially in larger organizations.

Stages of Maturity

Most corporate governance projects utilize a system of stages that help identify an organization's progress toward implementing the governance principles. Maturity projects typically have four or five stages of implementation, which range from undisciplined, or pre-alignment, to governed, or post-alignment. In the early stages, an organization exhibits very low governance and a highly reactive nature of responding to business concerns. At later stages, the organization exhibits more proactive tendencies when addressing project risk, and a higher degree of business autonomy.

Using a Maturity Model

Pre-existing maturity models for data, corporate or project governance help business administrators critically evaluate their business's goals and practices. Business practices can be judged against a maturity model's principles to determine the stage of maturity within which the organization operates. When developing a governance maturity model, an organization should identify gaps between current practices and ideal principles. It should also determine whether further analysis is required, and develop priorities for further program development based on business goals.

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