Compliance Startup Model

A faster way to operationalize compliance

What you have now
What you need

Assortment of separate compliance parts, some working, some not, and most not working together as a whole.

All essential compliance parts working together as a whole to fulfill its purpose.

Element-First Approach


When it comes to implementing compliance systems many take a phased: element first-approach. This comes from years of prescriptive obligations and a focus on implementing "shall statements" in order to pass certifications and audits.


When the focus is on meeting "shall statements" rather than improving outcomes you will find these familiar steps promoted:


  • Understand the elements of the regulation or standard.

  • Map existing practices to the elements.

  • Identify where current practices do not meet the standard.

  • Engage these deficiencies in a Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle.

  • Target these deficiencies for compliance with the standard.


While this approach is common (although PDCA maybe new to some) it is not without limitations the most significant being that it often fails to deliver operational systems fast enough or at all.


Companies usually run out time, money, and motivation to move beyond implementing the parts of a system to implementing the interactions which are essential for a system is to be considered operational. 

Systems-First Approach


To support performance and outcome-based obligations another strategy is needed that:

  • achieves operational status sooner,

  • creates and sustains system properties over time,

  • provides a platform to build-measure-learn with the least cost

We know from systems theory that systems are never the sum of its parts but rather the product of its interactions. It is these interactions that cause emergent properties to be produced.


For compliance systems these are the outcomes we are targeting: zero incidents, zero violations, zero fatalities, zero emissions, and so on.


We developed the Compliance Startup Model based on work by Eric Ries (Lean Startup) to emphasize system interactions and achieve operational status sooner than traditional approaches.


Using this approach organizations can collect the maximum amount of validated learning about outcome performance with the least amount of effort right from the start and through every version of the system.


This accelerates performance improvement and the advancement of outcomes which together significantly increase the probability of overall mission success.