Project Governance – how does your organisation match up?

Rarely a day goes by when I am not talking about or encouraging clients and potential clients to think long and hard about project governance.

I guess the first thing to say is what do I mean by this term? I did some searching on the internet and there are an amazing number of definitions. I settled for one I thought to be both practical and applicable to many of our clients namely:

“….it defines accountabilities and responsibilities for decision-making at a strategic level or project level.”

Further searches gave me a really useful report from The Association for Project Management. They have produced an excellent guide for companies who want to think a bit more about projects and governance.

APM feels the Guide will help with the common causes of programme and project failure. We list some of these below.

  1. lack of clear link with the key strategic priorities
  2. lack of clear senior management and , in government projects, ministerial ownership and leadership
  3. lack of effective engagement with stakeholders

APM and its authors go onto say that governance of projects is not the rigid application of complex methodology. “The best results will come from the intelligent application of principles combined with proportionate delegation of responsibility and the monitoring of internal control systems”

The guide gives some thought to 4 key areas:

i)   portfolio direction
ii)  project sponsorship
iii) project management – effectiveness and efficiency
iv) reporting

The guide challenges the reader to benchmark themselves with good practice by answering a series of questions.

This is a challenging document which surprisingly was published in 2004! It needs further publicity and application! Read the full document here. NOTE: although there is a small charge, it is worth it.

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