Blueprint Approach to Corporate Governance

Let me know if any of this corporate governance scenario sounds familiar:

The heads of three divisions are personally attending the launch event for the new corporate governance body. Each business unit is represented, and clearly the executive team has made this a priority.

Photo by Benjamin Child on UnsplashBest practices from prior governance efforts have been collected, but key personnel are no longer with the company, and so most of the content for this latest effort was drawn from outdated documents and rarely visited intranet sites.

Nobody asks the important questions, such as: How often are changes made to the governance model? Do these documents and processes reflect the current standards governing our systems? How are changes and updates to policies and procedures identifies, much less implemented?

“Why do we do it that way?”

Most governance documentation comes with an expiration date due to changing business requirements and shifting legal and regulatory constraints. Governance is a living, breathing, ever-changing activity. But lessons learned are seldom reflected in governance documentation, causing new projects and teams to reinvent the wheel each time.

Even when the governance body is well-managed, that success is generally the result of one strong leader — and that success is difficult to perpetuate once the leader departs the team or company. Long-term success come by “codifying” those best practices into company memory.

Create “Governance blueprints” for your organization

Beyond capturing corporate and system requirements, your governance activities necessitate a strong change management model. Part of change management is having a clearly defined and communicated logical diagram of your business requirements, systems constraints, and the policies and procedures to maintain all of them. What is needed is a governance “blueprint” — a visual guide that documents your business systems, highlighting the connections between teams and systems and key roles so that team members can quickly navigate the system, and make necessary updates when change inevitably happens.

With an overarching view, your team can better understand where governance rules are, or should be, applied to your systems. Additionally, you will better be able to manage business-led changes to requirements, see the effects of system updates, or the impacts of legal and regulatory changes.

With a blueprint of your governance activities, you can more proactively monitor and manage your business systems and technology platforms.

Governance blueprints dramatically reduce time to action

Creating a blueprint for governance helps you to organize and clarify the scope of policies and procedures. Allowing the team to build visual maps of systems and infrastructure has a number of benefits:

  • Makes it easy for teams to capture supporting documentation and artefacts and correlate that data with their related policies and procedures
  • Helps to develop a shared understanding of the governance methodology
  • Captures best practices as they are surfaced, allowing current and future leaders to learn from the experiences of others
  • Helps teams understand the impacts of a change by quickly showing which related policies and procedures are impacted

Additionally, compliance is easier when people can find the policies. Gone are the days when governance was something that resided in a binder — on a shelf, forgotten and gathering dust. To be effective and successful, governance must be an active and transparent part of the organization. People need to know where to go find the latest policies and procedures, and to see the impact of business changes.

Creating visual blueprints provides a way to quickly capture requirements, constraints, and actions to help teams easily track and manage their governance activities, allowing them to spend less time re-inventing the wheel and more time focusing on their business.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (, leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.