Project governance is the management framework within which project decisions are made. Project governance is a critical element of any project since while the accountabilities and responsibilities associated with an organisation’s business as usual activities are laid down in their organisational governance arrangements, seldom does an equivalent framework exist to govern the development of its capital investments (projects). For instance, the organisation chart provides a good indication of who in the organisation is responsible for any particular operational activity the organisation conducts. But unless an organisation has specifically developed a project governance policy, no such chart is likely to exist for project development activity.
Therefore, the role of project governance is to provide a decision making framework that is logical, robust and repeatable to govern an organisation’s capital investments. In this way, an organisation will have a structured approach to conducting both its business as usual activities and its business change, or project, activities.
Several recent public sector projects have been uncovered by auditors and by the media and severely criticised as delivering far too little benefit and not meeting projected outcomes, budgets or deadlines. The executives responsible for projects cannot avoid their responsibility for such loss and failure to deliver promised assets and services within promised/agreed parameters.
Current research shows that the majority of project failures are primarily caused by inadequate project management and in particular project governance. The majority of these failures can be attributable to the managers and executives at the head of the project decision tree. QTC will ensure the following:
- The board has overall responsibility for governance of project management
- The roles, responsibilities and performance criteria for the governance of project management are clearly defined
- Disciplined governance arrangements, supported by appropriate methods and controls are applied throughout the project life cycle
- A coherent and supportive relationship is demonstrated between the overall business strategy and the project portfolio
- All projects have an approved plan containing authorisation points, at which the business case is reviewed and approved. Decisions made at authorisation points are recorded and communicated
- Members of delegated authorisation bodies have sufficient representation, competence, authority and resources to enable them to make appropriate decisions
- The project business case is supported by relevant and realistic information that provides a reliable basis for making authorisation decisions
- The board or its delegated agents decide when independent scrutiny of projects and project management systems is required, and implement such scrutiny accordingly
- There are clearly defined criteria for reporting project status and for the escalation of risks and issues to the levels required by the organisation
- The organisation fosters a culture of improvement and of frank internal disclosure of project information
- Project stakeholders are engaged at a level that is commensurate with their importance to the organisation and in a manner that fosters trust