Who Is Responsible for Decision Governance in a Firm?

The corporate function or group will usually have in its scope to decide how decision governance works in a firm. Key design decisions they will make involve who can design how decisions are made, how they can do so, including how to handle changes to, exceptions, and incidents related to how decisions are made. 

When the corporate function is absent, or nascent, and it is not clear if they have resources, including expertise to do decision governance, the best is to look at areas of the firm which are more regulated because of external pressures. Teams responsible to implement and, or audit compliance will have more of an awareness of how decisions that impact compliance are made. The finance function is the obvious example, but hardly the only one. Staff responsible for continuous improvement, business process mapping and analysis, and those leading and supporting short and long term planning will be exposed to how decisions are made. Analysts will likely know what data is used, continuous improvement staff will know decision points in business processes they worked to improve.

If process documentation exists, as it will if the firm has a quality management system for example, then staff who developed that documentation will have an idea of both how decisions are documented and when they occur in a process.

It is, however, quite different to know that a decision is made, to have the right to make that decision, to provide data and analysis to help decision making, and to be asked to change how that decision is made. The last responsibility requires understanding all others.

While decision governance will exist in pockets across the firm, developing it as a capability requires a different approach. 

Given how disruptive it can be to introduce changes to decision governance without proper change management, the likely approach, or the least invasive, will be to build a center of excellence in the corporate group. That team will then focus on raising awareness, and look at demonstrating value through targeted changes to decision making in a process that is visible. Depending on the strengths of that team, of the expertise in it, the decision processes to work on may be more structured, but where deeper analysis makes a difference, or less structured, where sequencing the process better and getting the right information in, may be more impactful.

It is not likely that the decision governance will be the only responsibility of such a team. I will cover their other likely responsibilities in another note.

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