Announcing The User Experience Team of One (2nd edition)!

Frequently Asked Questions

These common questions and their short answers are taken from Lisa Welchman’s book Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design . You can find longer answers to each in your copy of the book, either printed or digital version.

  1. What is digital governance in the first place?
    Digital governance is a discipline that focuses on establishing clear accountability for digital strategy, policy, and standards. A digital governance framework, when effectively designed and implemented, helps to streamline digital development and dampen debates around digital channel “ownership.”
    See Chapter 1, “The Basics of Digital Governance”
  2. We don’t “govern” things inside our organization. Why should we govern digital?
    I don’t believe you. Every organization governs something. What you are really saying is that your organization hasn’t decided to govern digital. That is one option, but it has consequences. Make sure that you are considering all the possible rationales for not governing digital before you default to this “easy-to-articulate but hard-to-live-with” conclusion.
    For more, see Chapter 8, “The Decision To Govern Well.”
  3. We don’t need a governance framework. Can’t we just have the main Web team decide everything and run everything? After all, we know what we’re doing.
    No, that’s not a good idea. Creating a digital production silo is not an effective practice. It doesn’t allow the digital team to understand the rich landscape of the business. And practically speaking, it’s very difficult to size a digital team when all the work is done in one place.
    For more information on a good digital team structure, see Chapter 2, “Your Digital Team: Where They Are and What They Do.”
  4. We’re an agile shop, so do we still need governance? Doesn’t
    governance just slow stuff down?

    No, governance does the opposite. It enables agility by clarifying roles and responsibilities and connections for a collaborative team. If you think about it, agile software methodology itself is highly structured with well-defined roles and responsibilities. That’s why it works so well in the right organizational applications. A digital governance framework, when properly designed, can enable not hinder agile development.
    See Chapter 1.
  5. OK, I get all the digital governance stuff, and I’m a believer, but I have no authority to establish digital governance in my
    organization. What do I do if no one cares enough to want to create a framework?

    In many ways, this book is just for you. A lot of organizations are led by digitally conservative executives (see Chapter 3, “Digital Strategy: Aligning Expertise and Authority”). Sometimes these conservatives are taking longer than we’d like to wake up to the strategic aspects of digital. While you are waiting for them to pay attention, there are a number of things that you can do to move digital governance efforts forward, including establishing an internal community of practice for digital inside your organization.
    For more details see Chapter 8.
  6. Aren’t policies and standards different ways of talking about the same things? What’s the difference between a policy and a standard?
    Policies and standards are not the same thing. Policies are organizationally focused high-level statements established to manage risk inside an organization (see Chapter 4, “Staying on Track with Digital Policy”). Standards are focused on establishing development parameters for digital practitioners.
    See Chapter 5, “Stopping the Infighting About Digital Standards”.
  7. Our organization is too innovative for standards. Doesn’t creating standards stifle creativity and cutting-edge development?
    No, standards can enable innovation and creativity. Standards are the bedrock upon which the Internet and World Wide Web rest. And, we can all agree that there’s a lot of innovation and creativity happening on the Internet and Web. Without a framework of digital standards in your organization, yes, you will get some creativity. But, mostly, you will get a chaotic mix of disintegrated content and applications. Having standards and being able to enforce them will allow for rich, creative development.
    See Chapter 5.

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