Governance as a service

A reading list

Richard McLean
5 min readNov 4, 2017


At times for people working in public services — and particularly for people delivering digital products or services — governance can feel like a drag, a set of hurdles to get over.

But it needn’t be like that.

Governance can be a service that responds to the needs of those who use it.

Therefore, based on my own experience, I’m starting to write something about how I see governance as a service, and how you can adopt that approach/mindset.

Several people have already written fantastic things about how governance can support people to do the right things in the right way, particularly people working in an organisation that has adopted agile ways of working. However, it seems that we are a long way from this being the normal experience that people have about governance. Particularly, when we consider organisational /corporate governance.

So I thought it might be helpful if — as well as sharing my own thoughts — I also pulled together a short reading list for those who want to improve governance, or who want to try and influence others to improve governance.

Realising that there was probably lots of things I had missed or wasn’t aware of — and inspired by how Paul Maltby had put together a reading list for government policy people interested in digital — I asked on Twitter for suggestions and gathered recommendations from my network.

Below is the list I’ve got so far, divided into three loose groups/subject areas.

Do you have any other examples of useful reading that I should include?

Governing agile services/digital delivery

The official stuff

The impact of the wider organisation — including organisational governance — on delivery

Let me know if you think there’s something I should add to this list.



Richard McLean

Chief of staff @ElsevierConnect (Academic & Government group). Mainly writing about getting from A to B, teams, & digital product stuff. Personal account.