The Road to Effective Project Management Governance
What really is project management governance? With countless articles and books in the business spectrum conveying such practice, project management governance is in the sense, subjective. There’s no correct description of it and it’s safe to say that individuals or groups who employ and encounter project management governance have developed their own understanding of it. In other words, a person left on his or her own device of his or her definitive understanding of governance as a whole.
Governance and Decisions
Our entire life is driven by decisions: what to eat, what time to wake up, and what to wear to a cocktail party. Decisions are both gifts and curses—either they disrupt the flow of a process and create a chain reaction or it minimizes a certain issue. In the business world, decisions are crucial and significant. Every existing blunder and success are caused by decisions. Organizations make it a point that the decisions of the individuals operating within them are steering the decision to a right direction. Yet, they end up failing and ruining what they have established.
Governance is the key denominator for that missing equation in decision-making. To be more precise, project management governance. The key component of an effective project management governance is to acknowledge that decisions are deployed and assigned to project teams and executives.
On the other hand, poor governance results to project or business failure, protocol issues, and crumbling objectives and roles expected by the stakeholders. Project management governance is not just confined to one area or aspect—it extends its reach to various business levels, as well as planning and operation.
Project Management Governance
To be able to understand what project management governance is, each word needs to be broken down and then combined to form an overall definition. The word ‘governance’ is used in many ways and it may depend on where it is used.
Of course, in a general sense, when we say or hear governance, we immediately think it as ruling with authority in leading or establishing policy, rule or a particular engagement.
Good project management governance consists of decisions and its process where these decisions are executed. Furthermore, project management governance is considered good and effective when there are eight traits present:
- Effective: Procedures yield results that meet the stakeholders’ needs or expectations, all the while utilizing resources properly.
- Impartial: An association that is in utopia ensures that each of its individuals is not being kept in the dark and are given an opportunity to contribute, as well as enhance and grow their skills into fruition.
- Participatory: Good governance will cease to exist if there is no participation involved. Such factor should be duly informed to the parties involved.
- Responsive: Good and effective governance must fulfill the needs of the stakeholders within an expected time.
- Runs on Its Own Accord: Various insights are required for an effective governance.
- Complies with the rule of law: Another significant and crucial factor of good governance is complying to the legal matters and business ethics.
- Transparent: Information, action, and processes run through adherence to protocols and at the same time free and clear for everyone involved. However, such information must be provided enough for the people, for the purpose of implementing a successful product, service or operation.
- Amenable: An organization must be held responsible for its decisions, as well as the people involved in it.
Good Governance and Its Qualities
Governance plays a significant role to different branches of an organization. From there exists a wide array of various governance in IT and both public and private organizations. Hence, governance affects different groups as well as industries.
To further understand project management governance, let us look into its different concepts. In this case, corporate governance.
This particular governance focuses on an organization’s relationship with stakeholders, the executive board, and overall management. Corporate governance also gives objective structure, the ways of fulfilling such objectives and implementing necessary procedures to watch over these objectives.
Corporate governance focuses key areas such as decision-making, risk management, ethics, strategy implementation, and among others. It is divided into two aspects: internal and external.
Internal governance focuses on establishing guidelines in an organization, as well as procedures and technicalities that organizations need to execute and govern within the walls of the organization. External on the other hand is responsible for standardization of practices that organizations are expected to adhere to. This also includes legal matters and protocols that are within that organization.
Project Management Governance
Project management governance or simply project governance refers to processes or relationships of a project between the team or management, stakeholders/clients, and the executives. Project management governance is also the main component for setting objectives, methods for meeting those objectives, and the performances.
Project Management Governance Principles
The Association of Project Management (APM) has come up with eleven project management governance principles that will aid an organization in identifying the causes of projects to fail. Such failures include:
- Unclear connection of primary strategies and priorities.
- Unclear management and designation.
- Vague stakeholder engagement and communication.
- Insufficient skills and methodologies to both project and risk management.
- Unclear communication and comprehension of senior level management.
- Assessments are pushed by the initial cost, rather settling for long-term value.
- Not giving enough acknowledgement to break down processes into manageable stages.
Below are the eleven key principles of project management governance to combat the failures mentioned above:
- The executive board is accountable for project management governance.
- The duties, roles, and performance standard for project management governance must be defined properly and clearly.
- Methodologies that fit the governance structure must be embedded in the entire project life cycle.
- Links between project portfolio management and business strategies’ execution must be supported and clear.
- All existing projects in an organization must have plans that are approved and reviewed. The following decisions to be made must be authorized as well.
- All teams or individuals involved in a project must have the authority to make decisions.
- The business must contain relevant data that support the decisions to be done in a project.
- The board must carefully review and examine a project and its system.
- Clearly defined criteria must be presented in terms of risk and status reports.
- The organization must adopt a work culture of disclosure when it comes to project data.
- Stakeholders must be involved based on their level of importance in the organization as well as the level of trust.
Even with all these principles, it is crucial to ensure that project management governance is in the clear in terms of efficiency. In this case, the following necessary additional principles will help ensure that such governance is effective:
- Senior Managers in the Group: Senior managers are typically the ones who make decisions, so it’s crucial to have their input in the project.
- Make governance goals your priority: Goals can be pretty overwhelming when they are not organized. Minimize such issue by analyzing and evaluating which among these goals are applicable.
- Designate: Assign teams to oversee resources or monitor and deliver initiatives. The board is recommended to take ownership of the governance process.
- Tailor your governance based on the project, program, and portfolio levels: This way governance is easier to implement if they are running at the same level.
- Be transparent: Transparency promotes trust as well as an understanding of the project among team members. Not all information can be disclosed, but you can’t just keep hiding all of them from others. If you want to encourage motivation and participation among the people involved, you need to share information essential to the operation.
- Learn More: Learn from blunders and acquire knowledge after. Always be on the lookout to improve and find ways to develop your overall governance.
The Future of Project Management Governance
Project management governance must be understood in every angle—the who, why, what, where, and how of it—rather than just focusing on its definitions. Once we make this into a habit, we will slowly see the bigger picture and make wiser decisions in the process, thus lessening mistakes. This, in turn, will create an improved and developed project governance that will be adopted in the future. The better understanding of governance, the better future industries will effectively implement it in the changing business world.
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