Project governance is regularly confused with the term project management but they are in fact two separate concepts. Project governance centres around the strategic decisions that allow for a successful project whereas project management deals with the day-to-day decision making.
What does Project Governance Entail:
Project governance is the framework in which decisions are made. According to the Association for Project Management, this consists of: policies, regulations, functions, processes, procedures and responsibilities that define the establishment, management and control of projects, programmes and portfolios.
This can be simplified into 3 core elements of business: structure, people and information. Without good information governance, an organisation will consistently fall into problems.
The organisational structure you chose also comes into play. Whatever your governance style, it is always important to ensure that everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities. Especially on a Board!
What are the Benefits of Project Governance:
Now you know what project governance is, you might be asking yourself: why bother developing a specific project governance team? Isn’t this just business as usual? The results you see from introducing project governance will be evidence that it is more than just regular business. Namely:
- You’ll have a single point of accountability for all the successes and failings of any project.
- Responsibilities, roles and relationships with stakeholders will be clearly outlined.
- Incident Management will be speedy, and issues will be resolved with more innovative processes.
- Information Governance and communication will be efficient and transparent.
Things to Consider When Implementing Project Governance:
When planning for project governance there are 8 things that should be established and discussed before proceeding:
- Governance model - There are 4 governance models: manager focused, proactive model, geographic representation and community representation. The one you choose will impact the processes going forward including how you review the projects.
- Accountability and responsibility - How will you ensure your project is legally compliant? This raises once again the importance of formal meetings, audit trails and meeting minutes.
- Stakeholder engagement - Who are your project stakeholders? Who will your projects impact? What role will they play in the project development?
- Stakeholder communication - How will you let your stakeholders know about developments? How will they inform you of their views?
- Meeting and reporting - How regularly will you meet? Formally or informally? How will the documents be formatted? What information will you be wanting to collect?
- Risk issue and management - In the unfortunate scenario that your project is failing, when is the right time to pull the plug?
- Assurance - How do you plan to monitor the success of the project? This can include: quality assessment, monitoring every stage of the process (project scope, time, cost and schedule, accuracy of the project plan) and the ability of the project and those involved to adapt.
- Project management control process - This refers to those on the project governance team and their roles and responsibilities. Who will be the project decision-makers?
Who Should be on a Project Team:
There are 4 roles that should always be part of any project governance strategy:
- Project Sponsor - They are responsible for the strategic direction of the project. Their role is to oversee the project on behalf of the stakeholders.
- Steering Committee - They, alongside the Project Management Office, are responsible for the operational direction of the project. They are essentially a Supervisory Project Board within the governance framework that is responsible and accountable for the individual project.
- Project Management Office (PMO) - They work in tandem with the steering committee to deliver the operational governance arrangements. They are in charge of maintaining the project management governance standards within the organisation.
- Project Manager - They are responsible for the tactical direction of the project. This requires them to execute what the PMO, Steering Committee and Project Sponsor instruct them to do.
How to be Effective at Project Governance?
There are 4 steps you need to take to ensure your project governance is successful:
Step 1: Create a single point of accountability. A clear leader will ensure that everyone knows who they are reporting to, thus encouraging the smooth running of processes. Good governance is key to every aspect of project management.
Step 2: Separation of project ownership and stakeholders. The last thing you want is outsiders messing with the delicate project balance. Of course, your stakeholders are important to take into consideration but they should not be directly involved in the project.
Step 3: Ensure stakeholder engagement is managed. Whether a stakeholder is involved through a forum or a stakeholder management group, they should have a body of knowledge that is related to the project. Experts are needed, so are opinions, but there is a time and a place for each of these that needs to be distinguished.
Step 4: Separation of project governance and organisational structure. Your project managers need to be within the organisational structure but not playing multiple roles within it. They need to make decisions based upon individual projects, not the organisation as a whole.
How can Convene Help you with Good Project Governance?
A Board Portal is a major step in the direction of good governance. Our 24/7 support and unlimited training will help even the technophobic feel competent, comfortable and confident using our software. Convene’s features help with the before, the during and the after, so you can have a stress-free Board meeting and focus on your projects!