Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design

Reviewed by Deane Barker tags: tech, business

this is a solid book about larger scale digital governance. i say “larger scale” because it’s primarily about how to get order at the higher-levels – c-level, vp level, and steering committee level. this differentiates “governance” and “operations” for me: governance is Big Picture steering, where operations is the people in the trenches.

Lisa hammers on three elements to a framework: Strategy, Policies, and Standards.

  • Strategy: what are we doing and why?

  • Policies: what rules do we have in place to manage risk?

  • Standards: how specifically are we going to do these things?

Implementing governance is largely a process of defining those things. Her repetition of these things is a strength. If I remember nothing else, I’ll remember these three things.

She pushes hard on interpersonal and organizational dynamics, as those are often the obstacles to getting these done. She has case studies, and a guide of all the reasons why it often doesn’t work out.

I read the book in a Saturday. Chapters are 5-10 minutes, take a break, read another. You could put the book away in a few hours, straight through, but it’s worth it to read then ruminate a bit.

If nothing else, the book gets your gears rotating in the right direction. Most people simply have no idea how to even start, or what a governance framework even looks like, they just know that it’s “out there somewhere.” The greatest value of the book might be to put even the barest outline around that ideal, just so you know what you’re working towards.

Book Info

Lisa Welchman

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