I T research and advisory firm, Gartner, defines governance as, "The organizational style and process for making decisions about business technology and resources."

If you have successfully expanded your program globally, or are still in the process of going global, one critical and often overlooked activity is to develop a global governance model for your program. Based on my experiences with different programs and models, I understand the complexity associated with the governance of a global program. That’s why I’ve outlined some key insights that I’ve learned when establishing a successful governance team.

A well-run global governance model provides a foundation for the program to meet corporate goals, offers a clear direction to all of the parties involved, and creates structure for sponsors who are taking the required steps to generate a constantly improving program.

The Three Layers of a Global Governance Program

Global governance is a framework for the entire program to help all parties better understand and execute the company’s goals. Many people still think of governance as an executive layer over a program, but decisions and practices should be pervasive throughout the entire program. This isn’t just a high-level exercise; a good governance program has interaction throughout the layers of the program.

The three layers of a global governance program include:

  • The Global Governance Team: This group consists of leadership from the client business owner, the VMS technology, and the MSP/VMO. This is the level responsible for overall program strategy.
  • The Operational Team: This should include the in-country leaders from the business, the VMS technology, and the MSP/VMO teams. These people are responsible for the day-to-day workings of the program.
  • The User Community: This includes sponsors, hiring managers, project managers, non-employee workers, and suppliers.

Goals and Roles of the Global Governance Team

The first task of the Global Governance Team should be to outline the program goals and apply an order of importance to them. Examples of these goals include going global, reducing risk, spend savings, process efficiency, and budget/invoicing accuracy.

In order to execute the determined goals, the Global Governance Team performs several roles, including:

  • Keeping the program on track. This team plays a key role when keeping the overall goals of the program on track. This does not mean getting into the weeds of the day-to-day issues, but rather, a general overview of the program’s performance.
  • Ensuring alignment to the strategies developed. This team designs key policies to help the operational teams translate strategy into action.
  • Prioritizing the projects that the program will tackle. This team is responsible for ensuring that projects and their corresponding priorities align with the determined goals, as well as ensuring that all program resources are aware of the roles they play when executing those goals.
  • Enforcing the policies and guidelines developed. This includes formalizing the program communication channels.
  • Pursuing strategic growth. This team should be proactively developing their global roadmap for perceived future goals.

Recommendations for Continued Program Success

Meet regularly. In order to ensure that the Global Governance Team is continuously pushing program improvements, this committee should meet once every other month for the first six months and quarterly thereafter. The objective during these meetings is to review the program goals and assess the progress made towards them. Those goals can be refined and changed during these meetings, as the dynamics of business changes constantly. As a result, objectives should adjust accordingly.

Discuss progress and address needed areas of improvement. A program dashboard aligning to the goals is a great way to discuss progress in this meeting, making it meaningful and specific. This meeting should also address any escalations or recommended program and process improvements. Each program should strive for continuous improvement and the Global Governance Team meetings are the place to turn those recommendations into strategy.

The benefits of establishing any sort of governance control over a program or project are generally the same: a conduit for communication, clarity towards the current defined goals, visibility into future program goals, and a more effective process for getting all parties to collaborate for success. Global governance is the opportunity to continuously improve your program and monitor results based on established goals.

How has your enterprise used a global governance model to contribute to your company’s total talent management strategy? Join the conversation by tweeting us @BeelineVMS.

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