Project Governance

A key benefit of a Method Grid account is the Method Grid Store – a growing collection of free grids that cover a number of common, repeatable business situations and practice areas. This week sees an update to our project and program management (PPM) grid – bringing the Project Governance theme up to date (with related guidance and control elements).

This follows the first grid release of the engagement management theme – as covered in this “Art of Gridding” blog. This blog also described some of the overarching principles behind this grid’s design.

You can find out more about this project and program management methodology here.

In this latest update, we have added a project governance theme to the framework.

As all experienced PPM practitioners know, projects and programs “live or die” as a function of the thought and attention applied to their governance – so this is a central aspect to any PPM related methodology.

Per the overall grid, our content is aligned to such established standards as PRINCE2 and Managing Successful Programmes (MSP). Even if you are unfamiliar with such standards, the guidance talks to accepted tenets of governance “best practice” – as written “with the blood” from a myriad of projects/programs that went wrong.

At its heart, this new theme brings to life two fundamental aspects of project governance.

Firstly, the use of stage control gates to supervise the control of a project/program; essentially, to only allow a project/program to progress when there is sufficient clarity/control in place to justify the next investment bound of time/resource/money. This is all about the careful design of approval stages and being clear from the outset as to the rigour of such an approval process (for example: what control products will be required at each stage gate). This discipline will always focus on the project/program business case; constantly asking of the temporary team: are we still set to deliver the intended outcomes/benefits? As a minimum, governance in this context is about avoiding the common unthinking drift into a situation where the projected business benefits no longer justify the allocated resources and effort allocation and a project/program needs drastic recalibration or termination.

Our new theme provides a detailed c.20 page guidance document on this aspect and a simple control checklist template (that can be used to set the level of control products required).

As a side point, it should be remembered that you can always clone your (tailored) “master” PPM grid into specific project instances. Within such specific instances, you can, of course, then delete control elements that are not needed – to effectively “prune down” the specific grid to act as this control checklist itself.

With respect to tailoring this resource to your own purposes, you will note that we use a simple L/M/H categorisation of project/program risk and complexity; this label legend is then applied to control elements within the methodology to suggest an indicative level of mandatory compliance (per different levels of categorisation). This is, of course, all easily re-configured to your own organizational needs – both in terms of setting the parameters of each category (see the A01 | Governance Checklist element) and the actual (category/color) label assignment of elements within the grid.

The second critical aspect of project governance covered in this new theme is that of project/program organization; that is, the clear assignment of roles and responsibilities.

A c. 50 page embedded guidance document describes key principles, outlines a number of illustrative project/program structures, describes the RACI tool and details a comprehensive set of Terms of Reference (ToR) for a range of key project/program management roles. The related control element (A02 | Organization and Governance Structure) provides a template for capturing the governance structures (and role ToR) for a specific project along with related “Hints and Tips”.

Finally, a common application of established Method Grid users should be noted. This PPM grid will allow you to develop your own master methodology. Such a master PPM grid should be the subject of continuous refinement; after every project/program delivery you will want to refine, update and improve the master; for example, by adding new best-practice examples, updating team experts, adding new missing elements etc. The common application I refer to, however, is using such a master reference grid to create specific instances of such grids whenever you enter actual project/program delivery. You do this by simply cloning your master grid into a specific project instance – see here for more on that function. The grid instance can then be refined (tailored to the specific circumstances) and used as an invaluable progress tracking tool. See this blog for more on that powerful functionality.

In summary, this latest project governance update adds another core theme to our PPM starter grid – a grid that can serve as the foundation of a deep, valuable resource for your firm.

Watch out for future release iterations that further build out the grid content in coming weeks. If you would like to receive an email whenever we post an update, please sign up below …




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