Governance Agility in Project Management

Insights | 15 October 2012

Governance, and more specifically governance agility is a topic in the project management field that has grown increasingly important in recent years. Contextually, governance refers to the level of decision making power that is needed to run and maintain operation of a project.  When undertaking governance there is a fine balance between ensuring optimal operational performance, and the flexibility needed to adapt to new problems and obstacles that may arise throughout the duration of a project.

It is a frequent problem that project governance is confused, and this could lead to a crippling of organisational processes potentially stalling a project and therefore potentially leading to cost blowouts and a decrease of project team morale. Project governance therefore, increasingly becomes an important part of project management. More complex and detail oriented projects require such a level of organisation that without the set structure of governance, it is impossible to control them effectively.

It is a surprising statistic that just 81% of organisations employ formal governance processes in project management; however, most of these processes are tailored to give the appearance of a high amount of rigour around the initial stages of a project. It appears that governance is not frequently reviewed throughout the continual progress of the project, meaning that they do not adapt to ensure efficiency.  This commonly leads to sub-optimal results being achieved or benefits being eroded..

Just 28% of organisations continually monitor and review governance and other processes. The lack of benefits review is highly concerning. Without it, it is impossible to discover the true value and success of a project. This may lead to serious consequences. If a project is failing and it is not realised until too late, it can have major financial and career ending consequences. Therefore strong and effective implementation of governance processes is something that an organisation must have.

Governance relies on asking the right questions at the right time during Project Delivery. If the wrong questions are asked then you are unlikely to get the information you need to make good decisions

Good questions to ask include:

» Are we running the right projects to achieve our business objectives?

» Are the business benefits still achievable?

» Do we have the resources and capability to deliver this project/all projects?

» Do we have an engaged sponsor?

» Are we supporting our project team?

If you face challenges with establishing/operating governance or educating senior executives speak to one of our consultants to see how we could help. 1300 70 13 14

“81% of organisations state that they have formal governance processes in place however these processes generally focus on providing a high degree of rigour around project justification in the initial stages of a project.  Once funding has been approved then governance tends to relax into tracking against deliverables, budget, and time only.”

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