Project Governance  — Why is it important?

Project Governance  — Why is it important?

Before thinking about why Project Governance is so important, ask yourself the following three questions:

  • Why do we deliver projects?

  • Is a project that is delivered to scope, on time and within budget a “success”?

  • If the project is delivered “to scope, on time and within budget” but fails to add value to an organisation or its stakeholders, is it still a success?

One could argue that if the project has been scoped, costed and planned properly that won’t happen. But we all know that it does.

Herein lies the fundamental difference between project management and project governance. A project with a solid governance function will be focussed on ensuring that the project delivers value and benefits to the organisation and its stakeholders, rather than being primarily driven by the traditional “triple constraints” of project management.

A well-structured and resourced project governance function will address the three “pillars” of structure, people and information to ensure that project “success” is clearly defined, and that the decision-making, delegations and accountabilities of key roles both within the project and across the organisation support this success.  In simple terms, project governance is concerned with:

  • maximising value and benefit realisation instead of being primarily focussed on the traditional project management constraints of scope, time and cost

  • understanding assumptions, constraints, uncertainties, threats and opportunities which can have a “material “ impact on the project’s success

  • having the right people making the right decisions

  • having the right information at the right time to make those decisions

  • providing clarity over “ownership” and “accountability” for the success of the project

Given it offers so much, it’s clear to see why effective Project Governance is essential for a successful project.

In the world of projects, the news of John Langoulant’s appointment as Chair Designate of Infrastructure WA is welcome.  Based on his previous review of 31 projects and programmes across the State, his ‘Inquiry into Government Programs and Projects’ discussed and made recommendations in relation to the better management of risk and the particular capabilities, culture and leadership that needs to be built.  In particular, on Page 105 of Volume 1, it specifically recommends: “A focussed effort must be made to build skills in risk management….”.