Project governance overview

What is project governance?

Text Box: Four key principles for effective project governance:
1.	Establish a single point of overall accountability.
2.	Service delivery ownership determines project ownership.
3.	Separate project decision making from stakeholder management.
4.	Distinguish between project governance and organisational structures.

Project governance is about guiding and monitoring the process of converting investment decisions into value for the organisation, delivering the anticipated benefits – the business outcomes and benefits to intended beneficiaries.  There are four key principles for effective project governance (set out below), which will be highlighted through this document.

Source: Ross Garland, “Project Governance – a practical guide to effective project decision making” Kogan Page (London and Philadelphia) 2009.

Principle 1.  Establish a single point of overall accountability.

A single point of accountability ensures clarity of decision making and empowers the accountable person within the organization. It is important that outcomes defined and delivered by the investment match the service outcomes required by the organizational owner of those services. Consistency of accountability throughout the project’s life ensures decision-making consistency – the focus of the project, its objectives and the benefits it seeks remain consistent throughout its life, or at least are not changed without due process. This is best achieved by having a single point of accountability, the Project Sponsor or Senior Responsible Owner (SRO).[1]

The project governance framework is a document prepared for each project outlining who has responsibility and authority to make decisions which ensures there is clearly defined accountability for all aspects of the project. It is the link between, and support for, the governance decisions made by Cabinet and the work of the project team to deliver the project and its outcomes. The public expect government delivery processes to be transparent and defensible. A sound project governance framework provides for a shared understanding of governance roles and the investment parameters, scope and deliverables.

Effective accountability requires everyone associated with the project to know:

·      Text Box: Care should be taken to ensure individuals who join the project receive sufficient introduction to this framework.what they are responsible for;

·      the limits of their authority and tolerance levels;

·      when tasks have to be achieved; and

·      communication, reporting and monitoring lines.

The project sponsor, as chair is accountable for the decisions of the steering committee. The project governance (steering) committee is responsible for:

·      delivering the agreed business outcomes and expected benefits;

·      optimising the cost-value equation;

·      timely delivery in accordance with the agreed project schedule;

·      ensuring an appropriate risk management plan is in place and in use;

·      monitoring project performance and taking action to address project risks to ensure successful project delivery; and

·      in the event that the outcomes are not achievable at an appropriate cost, acting to optimise the outcome or to recommend stopping the project, where appropriate.


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