Governance in Project Management

10 Jul 2021 05:00 AM By itSMF Staff

Reading time: ~ 4 min.

Project Management and Governance: what about this relationship?

When the large institutes that have regulated the project management world came to life, the term "governance" had not yet been introduced.

Today, every standard claims to have governance for project management. The term is often combined with the term "corporate". Corporate governance is the method and organisational structure by which responsibilities are distributed within a company.

The role of the governance in Project Management

Governance in project management context is the umbrella of functions and processes whereby a project is directed and controlled to create a unique product, service, or outcome to meet stakeholder objectives.
There is no such thing as a framework that is effective for every type of organisation. A governance framework must be tailored to the culture and needs of the organisation and the type of project.

Governance refers to organisational and structural arrangements to shape and influence the behaviour of the members. Therefore, governance is multi-faceted and includes:

👉 people, roles, structures and policies 

👉 guidelines and overseeing through data and feedback.

An ideal canvas of an effective governance

This canvas may embrace several strategic activities for successful governance, such as: 
✔️Management structure - a project needs a governance structure. This defines within the organisation how and who is to make decisions and how the flow of decision-making will affect them.​ 
✔️Organisation policies - by which processes, directives and procedures can be defined and managed. 
✔️Processes - in organisations, these guidelines can also be found in the definition of processes by which the flow of actions can be defined. It is not only the definition of the processes that is important. It is also critical to know how to find bottlenecks and the points where activities and projects suffer. Without this crucial step, the ability/possibility to check and find errors is compromised. 
✔️Procedures - usually they go together with processes as these need to be accurately described and not just designed. 
✔️Methodologies to use - in the world of project management, the mission of the organisation is to establish the strategy to lead all project activities. It must be tailored and adapted to the different project types. The applied methodology should take care of the culture of the organisation, but also the types of projects and the resources. It must draw on the knowledge and project management skills that would best suit this context. 
✔️Decision-making authority - this relates directly to the management structure. It sees the definition of key roles within the organisation in terms of who will make decisions about the start of projects, their closure. It establishes whether corrective measures should be applied and who will be responsible for managing the project outcomes. 
✔️Stakeholder responsibilities - the organisation should define what the key roles in project management will be and what their responsibilities will be. This is the right way to help everyone understanding the limits and boundaries of their actions. 
✔️Managerial responsibilities - the organisation's responsibility is to develop a proper project management culture across all functions and departments. In the development of a project, it will be necessary to have the support of all functional structures (marketing, security, purchasing, legal...). It is therefore a priority that everyone can understand and comply with the way in which project should be managed and governed. 
✔️Reporting - starting from the assumption that each stakeholder will define the structure and method by which they can have access to the information of the specific project at organisational level, it will be possible to define in a standardised way the information that will have to reach the organisation in order to keep the progress of all activities under control (e.g., the information necessary to feed the dashboard of the projects).​ 
✔️Escalation methods - all projects may be affected by various kinds of problems. The main thing is to clearly establish at the start of the project, who can be addressed if such problems arise. Usually, this information should be included in the communication plan.

The Project Management Office and its main goal

In this context, the development of a project management/control body - known as PMO (Project Management Office) - will be strategic and it will benefit from directives, procedures, and controls. Elements that are hard to find in organisations that do not have. 

The PMO is the entity that may be responsible for all, or part of the project governance functions. Its development will therefore be a priority for the success of the organisation.   

Post extracted and translated by itSMF. ​ 
Author: Antonio Bassi, 2020.06.15​.
Quote and copyright: Leadership and Management.

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itSMF Staff