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Project governance is the key to guiding a project from the initial planning stage to completion. This is a great way to ensure a successful implementation as smoothly and efficiently as possible. That is, good project governance is essential for efficient and effective project management, helping everyone involved to understand, monitor and implement the policies and procedures necessary to achieve the expected results.

What is governance?

The concept of governance represents the establishment of policies and the monitoring of their correct implementation. Governance involves designing systems, structures and processes that ensure that all team members are aware of their duties and responsibilities, enabling them to work towards well-defined goals and outcomes.

There are several essential elements that are generally considered essential to good governance, including:

  • Accountability
  • Transparency
  • responsiveness
  • Participation
  • process guidance
  • Strategic vision

Governance is not a new concept. In fact, the very word sounds old-fashioned, but don’t be fooled. The way good governance is being introduced into 21st century project management is modern, high-tech, and increasingly solutions-based.

What is the purpose of governance?

The purpose of governance depends on the type of organization that employs it. When it comes to the public sector, for example, good governance is generally aimed at ensuring that the organization balances achieving intended results with acting in the public interest. A private company, on the other hand, applies this concept to align its internal processes, maximize efficiency and reduce risks.

In this way, good governance is closely linked to public trust and accountability, as few things destroy an organization’s viability as quickly as a lack of trust and respect for those it aims to serve.

Within this broad definition, there are some basic governance roles that every team in an organization needs to keep in mind.

In general, governance:

  • Defines the organization’s goals
  • Defines the ethics of the organization
  • Creates the organization’s culture
    Ensures legal compliance

Governance, then, needs to permeate the entire organization and will affect every project undertaken – from the initial planning stage to final completion. At each stage of any project’s lifecycle, managers and team members need to work within a framework that incorporates all of the above.

How to apply project governance?

Project governance represents a top-level framework within an organization for measuring and managing projects. To put this into practice, you can follow these steps:

1. Definition of the person responsible for the project

The first step in getting any project off the ground is to define a person responsible for leading the activities, the focal point. This is the person who provides the business requirements and context for project delivery.

Sometimes the person responsible for the project is obvious, but other times there are several possible professionals. This person can be one person (usually a manager or executive) or two. However, more than two people can generate future difficulties.

2. Creating a complete project plan

Your project plan must go beyond a Gantt chart. In addition to the high-level timeline, you need tasks broken down into manageable work packages. You need to have a formal communication plan and a risk strategy.

It’s good practice to review the components of a project plan, even the smallest ones, to ensure you’ve covered all aspects. This plan should be developed in the early stages of the project, published and updated periodically throughout the project.

3. Definition of requirements for the project

A project governance framework should define the requirements for executing this project in several stages – with periodic reviews as the project progresses. Here’s how these requirements can be broken down:

development / implementation

  • Test and Validation Plan
  • Implementation plan
  • project plan
  • project schedule
  • Project Risks

Project closure

Final transition documentation
Lessons learned document. The project governance model will define which documents must be completed in each project stage and includes a review of the project status for senior leadership. These check-in points can be scheduled at various stages of the project or periodically, such as monthly or quarterly.

It will also be important to use document templates for the necessary documentation. Having the same documentation from project to project will make it easier for both project managers and the governance team, as they will be used to working with similar documents.