What is Project Governance? - Definition & Framework

Instructor: Amber Dixon

Amber works with graduate students enrolled in a virtual program and has a Master's of Social Work degree.

This lesson will define and explain project governance and look at examples. The lesson also will give an overview of structure for successful project governance.

Definition of Project Governance

Imagine you are working for a contractor that is completing a home remodeling project, but there is no one designated person to communicate with. You need someone to make decisions, review the quality of the work, and stick to the budget, but because there's no one responsible, the project could have many negative consequences and probably would not meet the satisfaction of the homeowner. The project needs project governance, which is a process in project management that focuses on organization, outcomes, budgets, and quality assurance.

Project governance is defined as an operating process that ensures a project has been developed and implemented in a way that is consistent with a company's best practice approaches and complies with their expectations. Successful project governance is focused on meeting the expectations and goals that were during in the initiation of the project.

Let's look at an example. A community recreation center wants to install three automatic defibrillators to potentially save lives. If the facility manager orders what is needed and installs the devices, will staff and members of the center necessarily achieve full benefits just from this installation? This project will be more effective if a team is developed to manage the project, ensuring that the benefits of these life-saving devices are fully utilized during an emergency.

The project governance team would need to assist by developing protocols and procedures, training, and regular maintenance. One task this team would take on is the oversight of project completion timelines. They would also likely be involved in verification that policies and procedures are being met during the installation and use, as well as develop communication for any new information to staff.

Framework of Project Governance

The framework of project governance can vary between industries, though it will typically involve a steering committee or advisory team who develop a process to monitor costs and benefits, conduct project reviews and evaluate performance. Let's take a closer look at these areas to better understand the structure that creates successful project governance.

The steering committee goals are created to ensure that project implementation is successful and gains as many benefits as possible. The responsibilities of this committee include:

  • Establishing communication plans
  • Identifying training issues
  • Determining policy impacts
  • Identifying project management practices and methodology
  • Approving, reviewing and/or rejecting project plans

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