A review and commentary of a recent publication Directing Change, by the Association of Project Management, UK, 2004.

Note: US spelling has been adopted throughout.

Published here June, 2005.

Introduction | The Guide's Purpose | The Guide's Introduction
The Four Components of Project Management Governance | A Broader View

The Four Components of Project Management Governance

The four components of project management governance support the eleven principles above, according to the guide, by asking four sets of questions. These questions are intended to help decide what actions, if any, should be taken to support the set of principles. They all focus on the effectiveness and efficiency of the four components listed. However, the questions should be applied with intelligence and appropriate delegation of responsibility combined with monitoring of internal control systems.

The four sets of questions are paraphrased for brevity below. For the full text, refer to the complete guide. The original questions refer to either the "organization" or the "board" but either way the intent is management at the most senior level, whatever the type of organization. These questions represent significant responsibility and in considerable detail, so for any but a few projects in a portfolio, a project portfolio office would seem highly desirable.

A.  Key Questions Pertaining to Portfolio Direction[9]

  1. Is the organization's project portfolio aligned with its key business objectives?
  2. Are the organization's financial controls applied to both individual projects and the portfolio as a whole?
  3. Is the project portfolio prioritized, refreshed and pruned so that they continue to support?
  4. Does the organization discriminate correctly between activities that should be managed as projects and those that should be managed as operations?
  5. Has the organization assessed the risks, including corporate failure, associated with the project portfolio?
  6. Is the project portfolio consistent with the organization's capacity?
  7. Does the organization's engagement encourage a sustainable portfolio through:
    1. Its sources of finance?
    2. Its project suppliers?
    3. Its customers?
  8. Has the organization considered the impact of its project portfolio on its ongoing operations?

B.  Key Questions Pertaining to Project Sponsorship[10]

  1. Do all projects have competent sponsors?
  2. Are sponsors accountable for:
    1. The business case and do they own and maintain it?
    2. The realization of benefits?
  3. Do project sponsors:
    1. Devote sufficient time to their project?
    2. Regularly track their projects through their project managers?
    3. Provide clear and timely directions and decisions?
    4. Ensure that project managers have sufficient resources with the right skills?
    5. Adequately represent the project throughout the organization?
  4. Are the interests of key project stakeholders aligned with project success?
  5. Are projects closed at the appropriate time?
  6. Is independent advice used for appraisal of projects?

C.  Key Questions Pertaining to Project Management[11]

  1. Do all projects have clear critical success criteria and are they used to inform decision-making?
  2. Is the organization satisfied that its project management processes and tools are appropriate for its projects?
  3. Do the people responsible for project delivery, the project managers, have clear mandates, sufficiently competent, and the capacity to achieve satisfactory project outcomes?
  4. Are project managers encouraged to develop opportunities for improving project outcomes?
  5. Are key governance of project management roles and responsibilities clear and in place?
  6. Are service departments and suppliers able and willing to provide key resources tailored to the varying needs of different projects and to provide an efficient and responsive service?
  7. Are appropriate policies in place for issue, change and risk management practices?
  8. Is authority delegated to the right levels for balancing efficiency and control?
  9. Are project contingencies estimated and controlled in accordance with delegated powers?

D.  Key Questions Pertaining to Disclosure and Reporting[12]

  1. Does the organization receive timely, relevant and reliable:
    1. Information on project progress?
    2. Forecasts, relative to the original business case?
    3. Information on significant project-related risks and their management?
  2. Has the organization:
    1. Set threshold criteria for escalating significant issues, risks and opportunities?
    2. Set both key success drivers and key success indicators?
    3. Established a business culture encouraging open and honest reporting?
    4. Minimized the amount of reporting to essential requirements?
    5. Sought occasional independent verification of reported project and portfolio information?
    6. Set an effective policy supportive of whistleblowers in the management of projects?
  3. Is the organization able to distinguish between project forecasts based on targets, commitments and expected outcomes?
  4. Does the organization share project portfolio status with key stakeholders?
  5. Where responsibility for disclosure and reporting is delegated or duplicated, does the organization ensure that the quality of information that it receives is not compromised?

The guide includes cross-reference tables that relate the foregoing GoPM principles to the requirements of both the UK Listing Authority's Combined Code, 2003,[13] and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act 2002.[14]

The Guide's Introduction  The Guide's Introduction

9. Ibid, p8
10. Ibid, p9
11. Ibid, p10
12. Ibid, p12
13. Ibid, pp14-15
14. Ibid, pp16-17
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