Project Governance Part 4: Project Governance as the Approving body

Project Governance Part 4: Project Governance as the Approving body

Governance education is too often scorned by most executives

Ultimately accountability for the returns on investment lie with the Project Sponsor and governance team. So they should be actively reviewing and approving several aspects of the project. This should not be a 'tick and flick' type of approval, but a due, considered review with consideration as to the pros and cons and downstream implications.

  • The business case – is it viable, complete, accurate, doable and realistic?
  • The business requirements – do they define the future needs, fully, simply, will they deliver quantum increases in business performance?
  • Proposed consultancies – are they appropriate, skilled, resourced with knowledgeable staff (not beginners), value-for-money? Is there a full and appropriate brief with clear measures of success?
  • Project/delivery plans – are they practical, complete, appropriate, manageable? Will they deliver the critical results we need in the time we need them?
And so on. It is clear from the above examples that ‘approving’ is not something that can be done ‘o the fly’ in the steering committee meeting; but is a role that takes time and requires knowledge on the part of the governance team of the project and the business.

They need to understand the difference between a poor and excellent project plan; and a valuable and irrelevant business case. They need to know what they are looking at and what they should be seeing.

If they don’t have a background in project delivery then this is something they need to learn in order to be effective.

If you have the accountability, then it obviously helps to have the requisite knowledge. Yet, governance education is too often scorned by most executives and considered to be ‘not really necessary’.

Perhaps we need to remind them of their accountabilities and the downstream impacts if they cannot perform them effectively? Then they might be keen to access a business project governance education and support program.

How does your governance process compare? Tell me

Jed Simms is CIO magazine's project management columnist. Simms, founder of projects and benefits delivery research firm Capability Management, is also the developer of specialised project management and project governance Web site

To read Jed Simms’ previous 7-part series on developing a business case click here.

For previous project management articles by Jed Simms visit Project Governance Part 1: Non-understood Project Governance, Project Governance Part 2: Project Governance as Leadership, Project Governance Part 3: Project Governance as Facilitation, How Do You Know if Your PMO is Successful, "PMO: What’s In A Name?" and “The Self Evident Truths of Project Management”.

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