In the fourth part of our Blog series, 5 Key Ingredients to Fueling a Successful Product Launch we explore Appropriate Governance, what it means and why it is so important.
The best innovating businesses build an appropriate level of governance into their planning, interacting with all stakeholders and cross functional teams throughout the entire development stage. ‘Appropriate’ means matching the process to the type of innovation and project and having flexibility to support different workflow methodologies.
Ensuring that all the right inputs are obtained – customer feedback, market outlook, technical assessments to name just some – provides valuable data and delivers tangible insight that can be used to make better business decisions based on information rather than a hunch.
According to the Harvard Business Review, “Decisions are the coin of the realm in business. Every success, every mishap, every opportunity seized or missed stems from a decision someone made or failed to make. Yet, in many firms, decisions routinely stall inside the organization, hurting the entire company’s performance. The culprit? Ambiguity over who’s accountable for which decisions.”
Dysfunctional project teams, a lack of cohesiveness and poor organizational design and leadership is one of the reasons many new products fail. Instead, you need the right organizational structure with clearly assigned and accountable team members, on the team from beginning to end, and led by a highly visible team leader.
The Project Management Institute describes good project governance as the secret weapon of effective project-based organizations: “A key element of project governance addresses how decision rights and accountabilities are disseminated and assigned between the project team and executives. Poor governance can put the organization at risk of commercial failure, pecuniary and regulatory problems, or allow the organization to lose sight of its objectives and responsibilities to its stakeholder, who benefit from its success. Project governance extends the premise of governance into both the management of individual projects via governance structures and the management of projects at the business level through coordination, planning, and control.”
The United Nations defines “good governance” as the process of decision making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented). They go on to identify the eight characteristics of good governance:
- Participatory – Participation is a key cornerstone of good governance and as such needs to be informed and organized.
- Consensus oriented – There are several actors and as many view points. Good governance requires mediation of the different interests.
- Accountable – Who is accountable to who varies, depending on whether decisions or actions taken are internal or external to an organization. In general, an organization is accountable to those who will be affected by its decisions or actions.
- Transparent – Transparency means that decisions taken and their enforcement are done in a manner that follows rules and regulations. It also means that information is freely available and directly accessible to those who will be affected by such decisions and their enforcement. It also means that enough information is provided and that it is provided in easily understandable forms and media.
- Responsive – Good governance requires that institutions and processes try to serve all stakeholders within a reasonable timeframe.
- Effective and efficient – Good governance means that processes and institutions produce results that meet the needs of stakeholders while making the best use of resources at their disposal.
- Equitable and inclusive – A society’s well-being depends on ensuring that all its members feel that they have a stake in it and do not feel excluded from the mainstream of society. This requires all groups, but particularly the most vulnerable, have opportunities to improve or maintain their well-being.
- Follows a rule of law – Good governance requires fair legal frameworks that are enforced impartially.
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