Project governance ensures projects run smoothly, stay on budget, deliver on time, and satisfy clients. This can only be done consistently if there is a framework that oversees the project. This is called project governance. But what is it?
What is project governance?
Project governance is the framework that governs how decisions are made about projects. It tells you which activities are carried out by the organization and who is responsible. These are all aspects of project governance:
These are the three pillars that make up project governance
The essence of project governance is three things:
The environment and structure of the organization must support the project. This means that senior management is willing and able to invest their time and energy in creating a vision for project managers. The “structure” element in project governance refers to not only the immediate project team but also the company as a whole.
Effective project managers are essential to any project. First, senior management must understand their current activities. Project governance can then establish the goals each PM should reach. These goals must be clear, achievable, and sustainable.
Understanding people is important, but the process is just as important. No matter how many goals or visions are set, any project will fail if there isn’t consistent and clear information sharing.
Roles of project governance
There are many roles in project governance.
The Project Owner is the person who represents the business front-to-back. They are usually not the project managers, but they do tend to hold them accountable.
Key stakeholders – A Project Board that is made up of key stakeholders. They could be the people who finance the project, the customers of the final product, or suppliers. To keep the process efficient, limit the number of key stakeholders at six.
Advisory group – When there are many stakeholders, the formation of a larger advisory committee keeps them all involved in the project without making decision-making difficult or inefficient. This is more like a forum than a Project Board.
Keep the project board apart from “business as usual”. This allows the project to continue without having to approve every decision made by someone higher up. Without everyone’s approval, the Project Owner can manage day-to-day decisions.
The project governance model
The governance model must complement the organization. The project manager must consider how much rigour is required. Overzealous project governance can cause frustration among stakeholders. If the reverse is true and governance is too lax, it can lead to a lack of stakeholder engagement or false escalations.
Consider the scope, timeline, complexity, risk, stakeholder and importance of the project to your organization. This will allow you to establish a baseline that includes all the essential elements for project governance.
The Project Owner is responsible for budget and business case management. The model should be:
Portfolio Board – Approves the release of funds
Project Board – Approves key documents
Project Manager – Responsible for making day-to-day decisions that don’t impact the business case
The project team is responsible for delivering the project according to the vision. The overall framework of the project will be more successful if there is a solid and robust project governance model.