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Establishing a FinOps Decision & Accountability Structure

Definition

Establishing a FinOps Decision & Accountability Structure is about capturing an organization’s FinOps-related roles, responsibilities and activities to bridge operational cloud cost management gaps between teams. These decision-making and accountability structures help cross-functional teams work out the processes and decision trees they’ll need to use to tackle challenges and resolve conflicts, in addition to having them be proactively available when they need to take action ahead of time.

Rather than having every Capability prescribe a RACI matrix (or one of the other responsibility-assignment-matrix variants), each Capability encapsulates an approachable persona-user-story format in the context of the FinOps activities need for the capability. Then we breakout responsibility-assignment into this capability.

It highlights the need for this capability in a FinOps practice, but also allows for the Framework to remain relevant for a 20 person start-up without the need for imposing process (like RACI). At the same time, this Capability is available for larger organizations, where a RACI matrix would be implemented.

Establishing a clear FinOps Decision and Accountability Structure, such as a management team, committee, or working group, provides direction while nurturing equity and inclusivity to resolve actual or perceived power imbalances that can arise during financial decision making and collaboration. This structure should include clear lines of authority and guidelines, enabling issues to be escalated and resolved, and giving senior decision makers the opportunity to make informed decisions quickly and in a consistent manner.

Try to use existing decision making and governance mechanisms. Ensure the FinOps Decision and Accountability structure is clear and documented, including who has decision making authority versus who has an advisory role. Work out how your team structure connects to the broader governance arrangements of your agency to ensure clear reporting lines and accountability for tasks and deliverables.

 
 

Maturity Assessment

Crawl

  • Simple hierarchy of decision making authority and accountability.
  • Limited documentation of the Decision and Accountability structure and processes.
  • Few controls to assist with strategy or development of a consistent approach.
  • The shortest valid leadership path for decision-making is identified
  • Define minimum viable data set for various decisions (time / quantity)
  • Clear cadence / time horizons for decisions are set
  • Mini Business Case analysis used to quantify and justify higher impact decisions

Walk

  • Clearly defined hierarchy of decision making authority and accountability.
  • Decision and accountability structure and processes are well documented, and have become standard.
  • Management is involved with implementing and supporting these procedures and standards.
  • Regular use and review of FinOps metrics to help with decision making and planning.
  • Well defined relationships and processes allow for strategic planning and for the organization to react and make decisions quickly and in a consistent manner.
  • Decision-making power driven further towards the edge of the organization empoweing individuals with context and control
  • Teams can correlate decisions and business goals

Run

  • Clear and well documented FinOps Decision and Accountability Structure relationships and processes.
  • Regular standardized FinOps decision making processes in place, utilizing agreed FinOps metrics.
  • Management can review current analytics and decide whether or not to make strategic changes.
  • FinOps decisions and processes are compared and benchmarked against other organizations.
  • Processes are in place to continuously review and improve the FinOps Decision and Accountability Structure and performance.
  • Allocation Metadata and hierarchy strategies more automated
  • Proactive and predictive decisions based on business goals

 
 

Functional Activity

written for each persona responsible for the functional activity and processes encapsulated by his Capability. each one should be associated generally to one of the FinOps Phases (Inform, Optimize, Operate). for example:

As a [FinOps Persona], I will [functional activity] so that [desired outcome] is achieved.

As a FinOps Practitioner, I will…

[functional activity] so that [desired outcome] is achieved.

As an Engineering Leader, I will…

[functional activity] so that [desired outcome] is achieved.

As an Operations Leader, I will…

[functional activity] so that [desired outcome] is achieved.

As a Finance Leader, I will…

[functional activity] so that [desired outcome] is achieved.

As a Procurement Leader, I will…

[functional activity] so that [desired outcome] is achieved.

As a Product Manager/Owner, I will…

[functional activity] so that [desired outcome] is achieved.

As a Executive/Business Leader, I will…

[functional activity] so that [desired outcome] is achieved.

 
 

Measure(s) of Success & KPI

Measures of success are represented in the context of cloud costs and may include one or more key performance indicators (KPIs), describe objectives with key results (OKRs), and declare thresholds defining outliers or acceptable variance from forecasted trends.

  • Reduced cycle time between data, decision, forecast, outcome and analysis
  • Decisions are made by individuals with context and control
  • Clear and consistent decision making processes and ownership levels drive improved clarity for the business
  • Increased confidence and pace of execution
  • Making these decision points transparent and accountable is key to driving this improved performance.
  • All personas throughout the FinOps sphere of influence are involved – both within the practice and adjacent personas, dependent upon the nature of decisions being made.
  • Repeatable and rapid set of pathways to enable the real-time decision making, empowering the business to operate with the agility needed for their cloud operations.
  • Business goals combined with real-world data form basis for decision flow

 
 

Inputs

Here are known information inputs that contribute to the measure(s) of success listed above:

  • Decisions should be prioritized according to the impact an action will have, and that will determine the decision pace. Who decides should be someone that is highly aware of the context.
  • Each Capability has a different responsible personas for decision making, but the guidelines should be applicable.
  • Well defined impact, context, and pace scenarios based upon the organization’s lines of business, products and responsible teams

 
 

Resources and Projects

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  • Willing to contribute your real world stories, videos, a how-to guide, or a FinOps Capability playbook?
    Suggest resources here

 

Get Involved

Get involved and contribute to the community by sharing your real world experiences related to this Capability in the form of a story or providing a playbook for how you have implemented best practices in your organization. Your real world experiences can be provided in the context of:

  • one or more cloud providers
  • the types of cloud services used (compute, storage, database, etc…)
  • describe a combination of tooling, platform or vendor, and processes including KPIs
  • the industry the organization belongs to
  • the complexity of the organization (global enterprise, start-up, etc…)
  • the [FinOps personas](https://www.finops.org/framework/personas/) involved / organizational roles

Join the conversation about this Capability in Slack . You can submit stories, how-tos and suggest improvements using one of the options for contributing here.

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