Project governance has become a synonym for management structure which enables organisations to take project decisions in efficient and timely manner. In other words, it delivers architecture to an organisation for the responsibilities and accountabilities associated with its capital investments. That way, project governance provides a logical, repeatable and robust decision-making framework to securely govern its capital investments. It directs organisations towards adopting a structured approach concerning both its project activities as well as business oriented activities.
In our booming business world, the importance of having project governance has reached an unprecedented scale where its absence is often considered as mismanagement, fraud, and in extreme cases, even scandals. With changing times, project governance has become closely associated with project control and success.
Setting Up Efficient Governance Architecture
As per many governance pundits, implementing project governance architecture that can enable projects to run smoothly and move ahead is one the most desirable scenarios as compared to architectures that hinder project activities by unnecessary scrutiny and red tape. That’s why it has become imperative to form an architectural mechanism that can provide visibility on existing governance status and current projects.
With years of experience, experts suggest that governance architecture should be kept straightforward and simple to let projects flow at its desirable speed. Moreover, the importance of implementing productive governance architecture must not be underestimated as in many instances it gets less importance due to focus on an organisation’s central business strategy. Also, project managers must deeply understand their organisation’s vision and long-term objectives to realise and appreciate the project governance architecture.
The first step involves analysing what perks the governance processes have to offer; the next step involves measuring them against the values that the implementation of these processes will deliver. The point to understand here is that setting up governance architecture is dependent on an organisation’s future goals and comprehensive requirements; also, the architecture should be technical in nature, rather than overly business-oriented. It should be able to resolve technical needs. However, project governance does not necessarily form a part of IT governance as it is a set of regulations and rules under which all types of organisational projects fall.
Project Governance: Best Governance Practices for Best Results
1. Understanding Relative or Indirect Strategic Value
When a project manager and organisational leader deals with many potential projects at a time, he/she needs to see beyond their differences and account them for their potential to deliver business values as well as their risk factors and associated costs. In many instances, project managers and team leaders need to look deep down their governance architectures to see their relative long-term value and indirect perks. The ultimate goal of creating efficient and robust governance architecture is to enable an organisation to get a competitive advantage by streamlining operations and enhancing productivity level, and the path to achieving competitive advantage goes through adding relative strategic value to different kinds of organisational projects.
For instance, to understand this strategic value impact, GE Industrial Systems came up with the matrix of cause and effect with the aim of deciding which IT projects to pursue first. They asked managers to identify key strategic focus area from various choices such as business simplification, customer centricity, reducing inventory and increasing productivity. After, they asked them to identify whether their existing project has a high, medium or low impact on different strategic focus areas. The exercise enabled GE to take ineffective projects off the table and focus on projects that had a high impact on achieving their key strategic focus.
2. Let Stakeholders Set Priorities
At times when IT organisations decide to take the final call on budget spending on their key projects, they depend on the committee of managers and organisational leaders. For example, giving control to IT committee over the IT purse strings enables IT to align with long-term objectives; moreover, it also encourages business managers to share accountability for understanding its benefits.
3. Clear Communication Concerning Progress and Priorities
After the task of setting up priorities is over, top management and unit leaders must maintain clear communication to the rank and file. Many leading organisations strictly follow such practice by publishing company-wide priorities on the monthly basis along with the name of the responsible person for each priority. Moreover, they also tie their incentives with successfully meeting their allotted priorities.
Also, many companies post monthly scorecard to maintain employee focus on thinking and valuing resourcefully. Such scorecards incorporate productive factors including flawless execution, innovative ideas, IT transformation, operational excellence, etc. That way, clear communication sets the proper execution tone and ensures that employees, as well as managers, understand the working system of critical governance processes.
4. Timely Project Monitoring
After organisational projects are selected, invested and launched, top execution managers must focus their energy on protecting project investments by staying on top of the project progress. Periodic reports assist greatly in quickly scanning summaries and highlighting critical focus areas before it is too late. More importantly, they enable organisations to intervene at an early stage to maintain desired progress level.