More on Decision Rights

Nick Malik posted this response to my previous post on governance and decision rights. In it, Nick claims that what I posted was a workable set of decision rights, which I partially agree with. He made three comments on quotes from my post, and it is the third where I disagree. He stated:

“If we focus on creating policies” — And here really is the confusion. What are those policies called? They are called “decision rights.”

While a policy can be statement of decision rights, such as “All solution architectures for projects costing more than $X must be approved by Enterprise Architecture,” they don’t have to be and I argue that the majority shouldn’t be. A policy like “All services must be entered into the registry/repository at the time they are identified.” is not a decision right, rather, it is a statement of expected behavior. If followed (in conjunction with other policies), the expectation is that the goals will be achieved, such as reduced redundant implementations of business logic. If goals aren’t reached, you need to revisit policies and processes, or even the people involved.

Decision rights are certainly part of governance, but a view that makes them the defining part is wrong, in my opinion. If we focus too much on decision rights and not enough on decisions, we are at risk of creating fiefdoms of power that perpetuate the negative, command and control view of governance. If we focus on policies that enable anyone to make the correct decisions, I think that is a better position for success.

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