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Editor's Note: In this Q & A, ebizQ's Peter Schooff speaks with consultant Kathy A. Long about roles and structure for effective process governance. Long is president and founder of Innovative Process Consulting and a frequent speaker at industry events worldwide, including ebizQ's most recent BPM in Action virtual conference.

P.S. How important is process governance to BPM?

K.L: First, we need to define process governance because there's some confusion around that. I'd say that governance is doing what's required to assure that the value produced by the organization for the intended stakeholder is the most efficient, effective and flexible that it can be.

When we think about governance, we usually think about compliance, auditing and things like that. So what we need to talk about first is what an organization needs to put process governance in place and then talk about its relationship to BPM.

The first thing an organization needs is what I call a "definition of empowerment." By that, I mean [defining] who can make what decision in an organization with regard to process. Next would be defining the roles and responsibilities necessary to assure compliance with the governance process. Third would be a framework or methodology that people need to follow in monitoring and governing a process. Last would be the creation of a BPM center of excellence to ensure continuity and capabilities that are necessary.

Having said all that, you can probably see that BPM without process governance is almost impossible. [Consider] what BPM is: business process management. I'm not sure how an organization could manage without some sort of oversight or governance in place.

P.S.: What type of organizational chart should a governance program use?

K.L: It will be an org chart that's somewhat similar to what we're used to seeing, with someone in charge. The question most people will ask first is: Where should that [leadership] be placed?


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