Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence

TURNING OPERATIONAL KNOWLEDGE & COMPLIANCE INTO A COMPETITIVE EDGE

We systemize tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge

Blog Enabling Operational Excellence

Not Much Luck So Far Bringing in Thoughts on Agile *Business* Governance …

I’m kicking off 2012 with a couple of things I just don’t get. Here’s the third one: I haven’t been able to find anyone so far talking about agile governance. Why not?! I recently posted this on an architecture and governance forum:

Is there such a thing as ‘agile’ governance’? What would it entail? Looking for ideas or experience in the matter … Here are a few thoughts. I think answers should touch on business policies and business rules. And put agile IT development into perspective. What am I missing? http://goo.gl/nCpPC

Guess what I got back? Thoughts on software platform governance, agile methods applied to business rule development, and more – everything except what I was looking for. Perhaps I’m partly to blame myself. There’s always going to be problems when you (me in this case) don’t define terms. By ‘governance’ I meant *business* governance … the running of business operations. The running of the show. On ‘agile’ I fudged a little. I really meant ‘agile’ simply in its real-world (dictionary) sense of “characterized by ready ability to move quickly and easily with suppleness and grace; characterized by quickness or liveliness of mind, resourcefulness, or adaptability in coping with new and varied situations”. But I knew ‘agile’ would probably invoke the IT sense. So let me try again: Does anybody have any thoughts on *agile governance*? To be more clear this time what I mean by ‘agile governance’ … 

Agile governance: the running of business operations in a manner “characterized by ready ability to move quickly and easily with suppleness and grace; characterized by quickness or liveliness of mind, resourcefulness, or adaptability in coping with new and varied situations” … where business rules, business policy, and rule management play a key role.

Tags: , , , ,

Ronald G. Ross

Ronald G. Ross

Ron Ross, Principal and Co-Founder of Business Rules Solutions, LLC, is internationally acknowledged as the “father of business rules.” Recognizing early on the importance of independently managed business rules for business operations and architecture, he has pioneered innovative techniques and standards since the mid-1980s. He wrote the industry’s first book on business rules in 1994.

Comments (5)

  • Colin Campbell

    |

    From experience, the business experts and workers can come up with valuable, and usually surprisingly simple, suggestions that arise from the very real need for “agile governance” BUT they commonly involve system enhancement to meet new business requirements and/or provide more accurate and efficient application of business rules.

    The IT department keeps coming back with reasons why the system can’t be enhanced as suggested, e.g.:
    1. the simple suggestion turns into complex programming and lengthy testing on the legacy system – “is the outcome really worth the time, effort and expense require for implementation?” – see 3.
    2. not enough resources to respond promptly and if outside help was brought in it would take too long to bring them up to speed (due to incomplete system documentation, potential embarrassment as regards the “black box” and/or “old fashioned” system design etc) – “anyway the change will probably be redundant by the time it is implemented”.
    3. “aren’t the workers paid to do what you now want the system to do?”

    The result:
    1. “agile governance” does end up governed by the agility of the IT department operating a legacy system.
    2. the business experts and workers who are the best resource for “agile governance” lose initiative to contribute to business improvement and morale drops even further. Why bother to suggest changes to the business when little or nothing happens.

    As I said at the beginning, from experience that grew out of the very agile world of paper documents, manilla folders, filing cabinets, photocopiers and immediate business rule changes into glacial screen based information capture, processing and retrieval that dictates business rule changes.

    • Ronald G. Ross

      Ronald G. Ross

      |

      Ironic, isn’t it?! Well, we simply have to change this mindset. We created this cast-in-concrete infrastructure, we can change it too!

  • Colin Campbell

    |

    Ron, just read a short article about the “System D economy”; the application of truly agile governance (some might say absence of governance!) seems to be a very important factor in its growth. Well worth investigating if you are not familiar it, though any traveller, astute shopper or impoverished person would have had experience with its services.

    Do these unofficial/illegal operations fit into your definition of “business”? I am sure there are business rules for the shadowy seller on a backstreet in Houston of cloned goods that fell off the back of a truck with links to an expanding factory in China. I am not so sure that the seller would be interested in glossaries, concept models and rule repositories, but he/she would have a keen interest in the efficiency (agility) of their business to make money, keep customers happy and stay outside the law.

  • Mariana

    |

    What I like about this post is that it gives parity to the voiuars types of thinking and encourages us to see Agile as part of a wider toolkit, rather than something that we do’ exclusively to the exclusion of all others. In doing this it discourages the tendency towards a dogmatic or ideological application of Agile’ It is all to easy to say to account for things by saying, It’s because we’re [doing] agile’ rather than giving a meaningful explanation forthe thinking behind our actions.One thing I think is missing is that key to the success of Agile is that Agile Thinking finds expression in tangible, pragmatic Agile Methods. To quote John Seddon Management is all about method'[1]Or in the words of Lou Reed Between thought and expression, lies a lifetime'[1] John Seddon: Systems Thinking in the Public Sector, Triachry Press 2008 p181

  • Kiyoul

    |

    There are two very interesting ctonepcs in your post.Seeing agile thinking as a system rather than a technique inventedby geeks, and borrowing from other disciplines. I myself havelearnt solution to a lot of BA issues from Medical practitioners,civil engineers and professional negotiators from FBI to name afew. The fact that we as software community are not living in avaccum cube is a relalization which we need to achieve to be ableto build our community over the shoulder of other thinkers ratherthan reinventing everything naively. Thanks for the greatinspiration. Very well timed. I am reading a great book named thinking in systems by Donella h. Meadows.a0 I found theconcepts noted in the book as timeless.

Comments are closed