This is one of the 52 terms in The Language of Technical Communication published by XML Press in 2016 and the contributor for this term is Val Swisher.

What is it?

Guidelines that determine who has ownership and responsibility for various aspects of an organization.

Why is it important?

A governance model makes it clear who has authority to make which decisions about content and contributes to smooth operational decisions and processes.


Why does a technical communicator need to know this?

Having a governance model is a critical aspect of implementing and maintaining a successful technical documentation department. It is important to have a clear chain of command and a clear understanding of who is responsible for which decisions.

Often, technical documentation organizations do not have a governance model. People in the organization assume that everyone knows who the decision makers are along the content lifecycle. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case.

When the governance model is not clearly defined, the technical documentation workflow can become stuck and unable to move forward. This is because the decision maker(s) are either unaware of the decisions that need to be made, think that someone else is responsible for making the decisions, or do not understand the urgency of their role.

By creating a governance model, organizations can ensure that workflows and decision trees are clearly delineated, agreed to by all parties, and strictly adhered to.