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 Guide's Introduction

By way of introduction, the guide reckons that the principles it identifies apply to all medium-to-large organizations including private companies, government organizations and charities, but only to their project activities. In its view, effective governance of project management ensures that an organization's project portfolio is aligned to its objectives, is delivered efficiently and is sustainable. Governance of project management also supports the means by which the board and other major project stakeholders are provided with timely, relevant and reliable information.

By way of illustration of the scope of the guide, it provides the illustration shown in Figure 1. The diagram shows that the Governance of project management (GoPM) is, obviously, only a smaller part of total corporate governance and, by the same token, only a small part of project management. However, it does emphasizes that GoPM should not interfere with "most of the methodologies and activities involved with the day-to-day management of individual projects."[7]

Figure 1: Governance of project management (GoPM)
Figure 1: Governance of project management (GoPM)

The guide identifies four main components of project management governance and eleven principles. The four components focus on the effectiveness and efficiency of:

  1. Portfolio direction
  2. Project sponsorship
  3. Project management
  4. Disclosure and reporting

These components are described more fully in the next page. However, the principles are described below.

The Eleven Key Principles[8]

  1. The board has overall responsibility for governance of projects
  2. The roles, responsibilities and performance criteria for the governance of project management are clearly defined
  3. Disciplined governance arrangements, supported by appropriate methods and controls, are applied throughout the project life cycle
  4. A coherent and supportive relationship is demonstrated between the overall business strategy and the project portfolio
  5. All projects have an approved plan containing authorization points at which the business case is reviewed and approved. Decisions made at authorization points are recorded and communicated
  6. Members of delegated authorization bodies have sufficient representation, competence, authority and resources to enable them to make appropriate decisions
  7. The project business case is supported by relevant and realistic information that provides a reliable basis for making authorization decisions
  8. The board or its delegated agents decide when independent scrutiny of projects and project management systems is required, and implement such scrutiny accordingly
  9. There are clearly defined criteria for reporting project status and for the escalation of risks and issues to the levels required by the organization
  10. The organization fosters a culture of improvement and of frank internal disclosure of project information
  11. Project stakeholders are engaged at a level that is commensurate with their importance to the organization and in a manner that fosters trust.

Note that the term "board" used here refers to the organization's board and not to any "project board" and that, as we indicated earlier, these principles contemplate multiple projects, i.e. a portfolio of projects, rather than any single large project.

More importantly, note that these principles go to the heart of the culture of the organization and its level of maturity.

The Guide's Purpose  The Guide's Purpose

7. Ibid, p4
8. Ibid, p6
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