Project governance is an operating framework within which decisions about the project and those responsible for delivering it are made. It is a control mechanism that helps to ensure a project’s smooth and cost-effective delivery, in line with best project management practice.
How big a project is, its complexity, its cost and the risks it poses all determine the extent of project governance required.
How does project governance work?
Effective project governance involves having:
- a governing structure (Board or Steering Committee, as well as, possibly, other forums of stakeholders); how these groups operate is specified, as are delegations for decision-making
- the right people on the governing bodies, with roles and responsibilities outlined
- an up-to-date Project Plan and Risk Management Plan
- rigorous quality control of key governance documents and project deliverables
- the project owner and other stakeholders being kept informed and suitably involved (e.g. via progress reports, reviews etc.), in a timely way.
Principles of good project governance
- One person (the project owner) is ultimately accountable for the project. This person should be right person — someone who can confidently lead and drive the project.
- The project owner needs the support of key stakeholders. If the needs of other stakeholders are compromised, an independent review may be required.
- Decision-making forums should be of a size that enables timely and flexible decision-making. Managing stakeholder interests is important, but should be separated from project decision-making.
- Project governance should be consistent with the principles and strategies of corporate governance. But it should be separated from it operationally. This avoids potentially lengthy delays in having to negotiate the corporate hierarchy.
This slide show provides more information on project governance: