The value of good Web Governance is that it can deliver a minimum level of quality for both operations and online experience.

But there's something to remember.

Without a higher purpose, even the best governance system is like a Porsche stuck in neutral. A beautiful machine, but ultimately pointless.

As such, we must never forget that Web Governance is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end.

The real point is that it gives you the stability you need to focus on more important things - like your online goals.

Web Governance is a journey

No online management system ever emerges fully formed & perfect. Development, evolution & sometimes revolution are all features of a maturing Web Team.

Having worked with dozens of organisations in many industries, I now visualise progress in Web Governance as a journey made up of three phases (as shown below).

These phases reflect how an organisation - & its incumbent web manager - advance towards operational stability.


The web governance journey

PHASE 1: Discover

At Phase 1, an organisation discovers the topic of Web Governance for the first time. The focus here is on learning what online management is all about & seeing how to use these ideas to put order on complexity.

PHASE 2: Organise

By this stage, the organisation finally 'gets' Web Governance and is ready to commit to doing it right. The Web Manager is given the go-ahead to create a proper system of control, with the manpower, skills, tools & other things needed to build operational stability.

PHASE 3: Optimise

You are now in the happy position of having a governance system that is broadly right. That is, you have the right people in the right roles with the right tools & the right budget, etc, with few distractions like role conflict or missing leadership.

In addition, because there are so few distractions, you are able to spend time optimising your already functional governance to make it even better, e.g. by scrutinising the new Analytics of Web Governance I have written about before.

PHASE 2+: Re-Organise

It's worth noting that from time to time, even firms with stable governance may go through periods of turmoil that require online management to be reorganised, e.g. as the result of a merger, a major strategy change, etc.

3-step journey to Web Governance stability

Different industries progress at different rates along this journey.

Even within industries, a wide range of governance maturity may be exhibited. Some are leaders and others followers.

Q. Who is best globally at Web Governance?

A. It's very hard to say. Few organisations share insight about their online management. However, the Government Digital Services (GDS) team in the UK is doing some amazing work and frequently publishes about it.

Issues such as politics, culture & leadership often influence how quickly an organisation makes progress.

To see where your Web Team sits on this journey, compare yourself against the Web Governance Roadmap below.

Which persona best reflects your current experience?

Personas at each stage of web governance journey
PDF of the roadmap

FREE download. Get the Web Governance Roadmap in PDF format.
Click to download the Web Governance Roadmap now (1.2MB)


Phase 1 of the web governance journey

Phase 2 of the web governance journey

Phase 3 of the web governance journey

PDF of the roadmap

FREE download. Get the Web Governance Roadmap in PDF format.
Click to download the Web Governance Roadmap now (1.2MB)

Where should I be?

There is no hard and fast rule as to where you should be on this journey.

That said, if you manage a web presence that is core to overall strategy and are in a mid-large scale organisation, I recommend that you get to Stage 2 pretty soon.

The demands of online are now so onerous & complex that flapping around the edges of Web Governance is no longer good enough. It's time to do it right.

A Web Team that must endure ill-defined roles, out-of-date procedures & leadership neglect will eventually buckle under the strain. Executives that ignore this reality are putting their entire online investment at risk.

Furthermore, not only is Web Governance important for risk avoidance, but is also emerging as a key element of competitive advantage.

Just as we have seen other specialisms of online (such as usability, content, analytics, etc.) become important as differentiators - so too is Web Governance.

An organisation with a governance system that is fine-tuned for stability (zero online errors, zero operational issues) will be far more agile than its peers and able to react to opportunity faster. This is particularly important in sectors where other core disciplines have already been mastered.

Snake oil?

If you agree these are good reasons to get serious about online management, you're not alone. Lots of people are currently talking about Web Governance.

As Gartner would have it, we are in a bit of a Hype Cycle at the moment.

As a relatively new concept, lots of amazing benefits are being promised for Web Governance - some of which will certainly be delivered. But we must remain wary of the 'peak of inflated expectations' and keep our feet on the ground.

There will be no quick fixes and no magic solutions.

Online stability will only emerge as the result of a steady journey - one that builds a configuration of governance that is appropriate to the scale of your digital operations.

PDF of the roadmap

FREE download. Get the Web Governance Roadmap in PDF format.
Click to download the Web Governance Roadmap now (1.2MB)