Now I know that many people don't consider governance a dream task, especially learning technology governance. It can feel overly formal, even stifling.
However, how can you build a house without a strong foundation?
I believe governance is the crucial foundation required for a robust and healthy learning ecosystem. I break down governance into three main areas:
Governing body and strategy
Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
Transparent Learning Technology Business Processes (BPs)
For this share, I'm going to focus on creating a governing body for strategy. I've created a base model for a corporate governing committee structure with the purpose of helping an organization set a baseline strategy for learning tech and to create a process by which you can present a business case for a budget. This base model is the starting template I've used for clients to build a fully fleshed out governance program. [Access template here]
Let's get started!
I break the document into four parts:
Mission, Purpose, and Responsibilities
Objectives and Scope
Learning Technology Management
The mission, purpose, and responsibilities sections is the space I use to show that, like any other initiative, our goal is to support the business. I also acknowledge that learning technology is a strategic investment in people and systems.
Second, for objectives and scope, I always reaffirm our commitment to the organization's goals and priorities. I then add objectives focused on:
Create an input mechanism for business partners and stakeholders
Create a formal committee structure for future system growth
The real strength of this model to me is the governance committee structure. I divide the structure into three committees: Stakeholder, Product Owner, and Executive.
The stakeholder committee is comprised of your content development teams, your talent management program managers, content curation leaders, and any other L&D team manager. I want to know their roadmap. What are they building and implementing in the next 12 months? Does someone want to remove a security constraint so that they can host cross-divisional VILTs? Is another purchasing content from a 3rd party provider to support a new leadership program and want it integrated into an LXP? All things a learning technology support team wants to know in order to plan a systems roadmap.
From there, you have the product owners. These are the internal teams that own the contracts, built the proprietary platforms, and the senior strategic leaders of L&D. If a stakeholder committee request will cause a universal change or enhancement in system behavior or incur cost, the learning tech team will synthesize the request and present it to the product owner committee. The product owner committee determines if the changes are in line with the overall org direction, meet or exceed baseline guidance for the learning systems, will require change management, or if they will incur additional financial impact. Based upon their review of the ask, any proposals requiring budget dollars that are greenlit moves to the executive committee. All other approved projects are sent to the learning technology team for scoping.
The executive committee is composed of executive-level leadership of the L&D teams and the system owner teams. This committee meets to review the proposals presented by the product owner committee that will require funding. It is up to this committee to approve the cost, defer until the next budget cycle, or push back to the product committee for further investigation.
After that, we layout learning technology management and ownership based on the org structure involved. This varies so much in companies that I find I have to rebuild this section for every client.
All in all, creating a governing body can seem overly formal; however, it is vital. Learning technology and systems are a significant investment for an organization and should be managed and nurtured like an asset so that your org can clearly see the dividends of its investments.
Now with all things I share, I have two requests:
Take what works for you, and leave the rest. There's no one size fits all.
Iterate; make this idea better.