Governance is Used to Enforce Project Management Practices

Project management is a specialized branch of management which has evolved in order to coordinate and control some of the complex activities of modern industry. It is not, of course, an isolated example of a management skill acquired as a result of the challenge presented by industrial development and expansion. Indeed the phenomenon of survival through specialization hardly originated in the world of industry and commerce.

“Here's the TenStep guest blog post "Governance is Used to Enforce Project Management Practices":

Governance is the term used to describe the formal and informal set of processes that allow organizations to resolve conflicts, make decisions and ensure management decisions and policies are enforced through the management hierarchy. Governance is a top-down management process and works as follows:

  • If an organization implements a policy, the head of the organization needs to hold the managers in the organization accountable to make sure the policy is followed.
  • Each manager then makes sure that his direct reports adhere to the policy. If they have managers that report to them, they need to hold those managers accountable as well, and so it goes down the management structure.

Governance also needs to include mechanisms to ensure that the policies are being followed and some rewards or consequences exist for following or not following the rules.

Let's say your organization wants to get better at project management. Part of your initiative is to implement a common set of project management processes and templates. The effectiveness of your initiative may hinge on the adoption of these common processes and templates. You will want to train and coach people to use the processes and templates. But are you able to enforce usage of the common processes and templates in your organization? Organizations that are able to change processes quickly tend to be good at governance. These organization tend to be good at Organization Change Management. On the other hand, if your organization is not very good at culture change initiatives, chances are you are not very strong at governance.

Once in a while I hear managers lament the inability of their organizations to change. However, since governance is a management responsibility, any manager that cannot successfully implement change within his own organization has himself to blame. Governance starts at the top of the organization and moves down. Ineffective management governance at the top dooms the chance for success on the way down.

Look at your organization. If your standards are a weak and you have a hard time instituting organizational change, then you have a poor management governance process. On the other hand, if you have good processes, standards and policies that are generally followed on an ongoing basis, you probably have pretty good governance in place.

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