Why COVID-19 will infect governance and reporting with better standards and processes (yay!)

The quality of governance and reporting determine the functioning and the risks that a business is exposed to. As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads deeper into nations, the importance of governance and reporting is being amplified. The reality is that most businesses don’t give governance and reporting the significance it deserves. Rigid governance processes have been largely reserved for global projects that would fail without vigilance and oversight. But when faced with a project that has teams sharing the workplace (sitting across the corridor or at best on the floor above), governance is taken for granted. This is natural. We see the project team every day. We observe their actions. We know exactly what is happening to the project on a daily basis—and the need for governance and reporting seem like over kill. COVID-19 may fix that attitude forever.

Today, project teams are not sitting across the corridor or on the floor above. Remote working has erased the boundaries between “global”, “off-site” and “onsite”. There can be no difference in the standards of governance and reporting between “global”, “off-site” and “onsite” anymore. 

I believe many organizations will quickly get down to reviewing their governance practices in the environment created by COVID-19—and if anything, they it will create more efficient functioning of businesses. 

Stakeholders in businesses must realize that now is a good time to push for change; they must stop depending on phone calls, spreadsheets, face to face meetings and weekly reports for reporting. Instead, they must demand that advanced cloud-based platforms such as Confluence, Jira and ServiceNOW be used. Reports should be visible to all, making the organization transparent and answerable.

Governance and reporting will continue to be an integral part of managing projects and large programmes. How organizations use this opportunity to leverage digital technologies and enhance their processes will determine how well they function and the risks that they are vulnerable to in future.

Fortunately, Agile-based delivery models have helped improve and introduce higher levels of maturity for the reporting and governance of projects. We are seeing collaboration and messaging tools beyond Webex and Skype, with products like Zoom, MS Teams, and Slack being widely embraced by the software community. Distributed Agile/delivery assume teams across continents working seamlessly—and the tools used to measure metrics and drive reporting have brought in much-needed transparency.

These recent developments are helping programmes and projects improve the levels of reporting and governance in this COVID-19 era. 

IT organizations will need to bring in enterprise-wide changes not only within but also in their vendor eco-system for all engagements. This would necessarily include but not be limited to:

  • Tool based monitoring of metrics around productivity, service-levels, that can no longer reside in Excel sheets
  • Daily reporting using enterprise class platforms like ServiceNow, Jira
  • Automation and analytics embedded in collaboration platforms that will determine decision-making
  • Agile based delivery model adopting DevOps and leveraging AI/ML tools

A platform-based governance and reporting process will be the new normal, driven centrally across the enterprise rather than only for those in a global delivery model. In some ways, if there is a ray of sunshine in the pandemic, it is that we will live in a better connected world.


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