04.19.18 - by Degree

All too often compliance is thought of as the garnish which compliments the main dish; or the steeple to be placed atop a prestigious monument. It isn't until the end of a project's development that those with this mindset realize the grave misjudgment in their theory. Former Deputy U.S. Attorney General Paul McNulty summarizes it best with the following statement, "If you think compliance is expensive, try non-compliance."

Waiting to engage compliance until the end of the proverbial road often results in one of two unpleasant scenarios; (1) the launch date or "go live" date for the project or initiative must be delayed because the "unknown unknowns" that have been revealed by examining the project under the compliance lens are more cumbersome to correct then anticipated, sometimes resulting in the need to rewind building efforts, or (2) the launch is permitted with known errors under the "pray for forgiveness vs. ask for permission" school of thought.

Both scenarios will require the investment of time and money to remediate, and depending on the error and your industry, reputational damage could occur if via an audit or due diligence review it is discovered that projects and initiatives are permitted to launch with known errors or minimal quality assurance controls were built into the development process.

You can generally divide business risks into three categories; legal/compliance, operational, and reputational, arguably separate but absolutely commingled. A heightened risk within one area, is in some degree a risk to all. To avoid triggering a risk avalanche try and deploy the below tips when working on your next project or initiative.

  1. Alliance: Remember everyone within the organization is on the same team. Allow each perspective (sales, compliance, technology, etc.) an opportunity to review the project or initiative in the infancy of its development, it is much easier to identify risk and revise the development strategy from upstream.
  2. Transparency: Communicate clearly and concisely to your compliance resource. Be sure to identify the "must haves" vs. "nice to haves" concerning the project. Knowing the project's purpose and desired outcome will help your compliance resource to craft a solution that safely and soundly navigate you from point A to Z.
  3. Frequent Updates: Building a project within a silo is a recipe for disaster. For projects that span weeks and/or months, establish a set frequency in which all stake holders are permitted to review and discuss the project's progress. Allowing for constant engagement and establishing a functioning feedback loop will minimize the risk of 9th inning surprises that can derail your launch or create post launch remediation hassles.

Remember sound development and business expansion aids in accomplishing sustainable scalable growth.