Something new on the horizon?
The separation of powers, also known as Trias Politica, is a governance model for democratic states. Under this model, the state is divided into branches, each with separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility. The normal division of these states is into an executive, a legislature and a judiciary branch. Montesquieu [1689-1755] did specify that “the independence of the judiciary has to be real, and not apparent merely”. The judiciary is generally seen as the most important of powers, independent and unchecked.
Checks and Balances
To prevent one branch from becoming supreme, and to induce the branches to cooperate, governance systems that employ a separation of powers need a way to balance each of the branches. Typically this is accomplished through a system of “checks and balances”, the origin of which, like separation of powers itself, is specifically credited to Montesquieu. Checks and balances allows for a system based regulation that allows one branch to limit another.
If we look how IT is currently organized, where is the separation of powers? In a lot of cases executive and judiciary branches are mingled. There is mostly not a real clear stated legislation that gives direction to the executive branch and gives the judiciary branch the means to evaluate and to give a verdict. In certain sourcing models the separation of power get even worse. Executive, legislature and judiciary branches are intermingled and partly placed by other external organizations (outsourcing). For the judiciary branch there is some times, ad hoc, the use of auditing. With auditing a starting discussion about what is the legislation that should be referred to is not uncommon.
Back on track
So why do we treat IT differently? Shouldn’t we separate the vision and strategy from the operation/execution, shouldn’t we separate the operation/execution from the monitoring and evaluation? Lets make IT more transparent with a governance model that separates powers and states checks and balances.