Ownership and Responsibility

In this weeks CoffeeCAST I mentioned Governance and Oversight as it relates to sourcing strategies.  I was in a meeting right after that and talking with a client where we were talking about ownership and responsibility of actions and results.  Take for example:

  • Your auditor tells you you should do something.  Who takes reposibility for the result.  Enron is a great example and this has changed the way public organizations work.  But ultimately if a CEO signs off is one thing, but does the person responsible for the audit or accounting change have responsibility or can they say to the CEO on his way to jail – "the auditors told us …."
  • Your outsourcer for IT tells you to architect a data warehouse like this, the data model is this and we will move the data like that.  This may be to complex for the client to understand because of the technical nature, but the outsourcer being smart has gotten you to sign off on the requirements and design documents.  But at the end of the day it is not what you needed.

There are many other examples and this is not an easy to deal with situation, but let’s talk about some guiding principles:

  1. This is the client’s business and they own the result – so need to be involved and understand
  2. You can not delegate ownership of the result
  3. We need to be mutually focused on the result and thus the deliverables underneath them
  4. Build into the plan the proper governance and oversight – this is not a work breakdown schedule management task or a risk management task but an involved task
  5. Decide how to deal with issues that are beyond your area of expertise
  6. Empower the team and support them
  7. This is not a process for pointing fingers and blame, but for ownership
  8. If you do not have the resources in-house, bring in an objective 3rd party to help you
  9. Build this capcaity in-house as ultimately this is your business
  10. Work to understand.

An interesting start to a difficult topic, so on Monday I will add a piece on pricing models and how that changes behaviour.

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