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The Failed Vasa: COBIT 5 Governance and the Seven Enablers (Part 3)

Join author William C. Brown as he responds to ISACA member questions beginning 13 October 2014. Add your questions by responding to this post!

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On 10 August 1628, the Vasa, among the most expensive ships of the era, sailed on her maiden voyage and within minutes sank below the waves in the Stockholm (Sweden) harbor.  This is the third of a three-part series that illustrates Vasa’s stakeholder drivers, benefits, risk, costs, enterprise goals and, ultimately, enabler failures, all of which provide context for the seven COBIT® 5 enablers.

While the failed Vasa is not about a failed IT implementation, its story describes failures of concepts that are embedded within COBIT 5. COBIT 5 embraces an enterprise view, rather than a technology division or technology-in-isolation approach; a holistic approach; and a new process model with distinct roles for governance and management. At a high level, many of the concepts embedded in COBIT 5, such as the balanced scorecard (BSC), reach beyond IT. While the author acknowledges the limitations of using COBIT 5 for shipbuilding, the story of the failed Vasa offers a comparative analogy and valuable insight into COBIT 5 and its broadened scope compared to earlier COBIT releases. This article illustrates significant failures of governance for the doomed Vasa and sets the stage for a discussion on the seven COBIT 5 enablers and their roles related to the failed ship.

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