IT Governance

Why and How Much Policies and Procedures Matter

If governance only existed to satisfy the whims of uptight old codgers, it would have gone away a long time ago. Policy matters. In an article for Risk Management magazine, Lauren Amadei articulates the importance of policies and procedures to organizational health.

Order Today or Chaos Tomorrow

Too much codified protocol can get in the way of efficient business, yes, but letting it fall by the wayside altogether can be even more damaging. Policies generally contain “high-level principles” that dictate direction for individual departments, and procedures essentially describe how policies are to be executed on a day-to-day-ish scale. When seen in this light, saying that a department is in “compliance” can be seen as a way of saying, “The department is following rules that put it in alignment with organizational strategy.” If people downsize policy and procedure’s significance, or quietly set them aside on a shelf, then strategic alignment might be at risk.

But beyond that, an established and carefully-defined protocol just makes life easier for the people who have to do the work. That is pretty important too. As a first step to implementing stronger protocol in the business, Amadei says this:

The board of directors, executive management and other key senior stakeholders across the enterprise will likely need to be involved in this effort. If current documentation is insufficient, they should start to develop a plan, prioritizing critical operations—especially those that have the greatest lack of policies, procedures and processes. They will also need to assess if they have adequate expertise and resources internally to lead the documentation effort.

Some more steps follow, namely, these: Review and update processes at least annually. Determine current monitoring capabilities. Define responsibility for recertification and annual reviews. And lastly, ensure enough training exists for employees to both adequately communicate about processes and be able to monitor the myriad elements that compose those processes.

You can view the original article here:

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