The Role and Importance of Project Governance


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Whenever a group of people has a big task ahead of them, setting down a plan of action before starting seems like a normal part of the process. However, agreeing universally on what those plans are can be a little challenging. Certainly, getting down to the details can be a hassle, but there are a few key qualities to keep in mind.

Project governance allows those involved to remain in the know while everything else is handled smoothly. It’s also considered to be a basic guideline. All you have to do is keep an eye on the chain of command.

What Is Project Governance?

Governance is considered to be the decision-making process or the implementation of decisions. Project governance is a bit more specialized than that definition, though.

When a company team is handling a project, relationships have to be established and acknowledged with people on the outside. Project governance is adherence of the group toward their relationships with sponsors, stakeholders, owners and anyone else involved.

Project governance creates the framework for the company and keeping executives (and others who have invested in the project) with plenty of information and the power to make decisions. Constant discussion between the team and corporate bodies may seem tedious to those stuck in the lower rung.

However, keeping every level of the company in the loop creates a smoother atmosphere in most cases. Everyone understands the objective and general plan, so there’s more collaboration.

Why It’s Important

You need your investors and bosses to know exactly what you’re doing. They have to understand how important your work is and feel that they have some impact on the project.

This is especially true for nonprofits, who rely heavily on outside resources to attract and retain donors. Impact letters and other types of reporting are vital in order to keep donors informed and heard.

The same goes for startups and new businesses. With proper project governance, the structure of the new company remains stable, and outside investors can get a clear picture of the startup’s results and overall impact.

Whether a report deals with new products or donations going toward the local community, investors need to know what’s going on.

Qualities of Project Governance

As mentioned, there are a few key qualities project governance has to adhere to. The biggest quality is to keep business leaders and anyone with investments like stakeholders engaged in the project. This includes sponsors, something every project needs to work. A good way to keep these people involved is to provide them with reports at different stages.

Otherwise, there is a strict plan in place regarding roles and responsibilities. If someone makes a mistake, it’s up to the team to learn from it and make improvements rather than continue repeating them. This is why keeping with one group is important.

Benefits of Governance

Project governance is intended to help everyone involved. There might be some frustration if communication does not get across or budget restraints come into play. However, remaining informed and trying to work with the business as a whole is the only way to succeed.

In addition, recording everything and learning from mistakes is crucial for advancement. Getting everyone on board in the big picture early, and even keeping stakeholders apprised of plans, are the best ways to strengthen a business.

Project Governance vs. Corporate Governance vs. Project Management

Project and corporate governance are related, but they aren’t the same thing. Corporate governance works on a much larger scale by informing suppliers, local government, consumers and anyone else that may have an impact on the entire company. They work to ensure that all internal projects have room to grow. The scale of information they receive has to be condensed for the team.

Think of corporate governance as being a whole while project governance is made up of many parts. Corporate is the tree while the projects are the leaves, so to speak. Project governance speaks to the company, which in turn talks to everyone else. Many people are involved with a single project, and they may be unaware that they have any impact at all. While this can put pressure on a project team, it also allows for more information to come in and better decisions to be made.

In terms of project management, this is also not the same as project governance. The difference is on focus and intent.

Governance is focused on creating the environment for good project management, ensuring the organization’s management is good. Project governance is performed at the top end of the corporation or business, while project management is focused on delivering results for the governing body. However, successful project governance is important for successful project management, and vice versa.

Teamwork, after all, is critical to a company’s overall success.

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