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Project Governance

Project Governance

Here is our comprehensive article on project governance, from its precise definition to a concrete implementation guide, including various examples.

Table of Contents

The term “project governance”, or “project governance”, is manifested by the desire to deploy an organisational model specific to one’s company. Think of the helm of ships, which is used to decide which direction to take: this is exactly what project governance is, or the art of deciding, of directing.

We will explain everything to you about project governance in this complete article: definition, examples, methodology, tools… No detail will be left behind, and you will be ready to implement it in your own company!

Project Governance: The Detailed Definition

The notion of project governance covers a management and organisation mode within a company.. It allowsthe identification of the roles and responsibilities of everyone and refers to the steering of projects within a given structure. Thus, one can identify within a company:

  • a policy
  • processes
  • regulations
  • the functions of each employee
  • the roles and responsibilities assigned to each employee.
La gouvernance c'est quoi ?

Why establish project governance within your company?

Project governance consists of defining a framework and rules of operation specific to an internal organisation. It must be consistent with the company’s overall strategy and serve the common interests.

In a governance context, stakeholders are led to follow and apply simple, understandable processes, easy to implement for the collective. As a result, each actor refocuses towards achieving the expected results without providing undue effort.

The stakes are therefore multiple:

  • Limiting risks and threats that could lead to costs or losses inherent to organisational dysfunctions
  • Improving communication and information dissemination
  • Promoting everyone’s adherence
  • Facilitating decision-making.

Let’s continue our work of clarifying concepts by addressing the difference between project management and project governance, often confused.

Project Governance VS Project Management: The Nuances

While project governance denotes a mode of management and organisation, therefore strategic steering specific to a given company, project management denotes the set of techniques, methods, and tools that allow managing a project and achieving the set objectives.

Project Governance Project Management
Strategic Steering Techniques, Methods, Tools
Determined by the collective Determined by one or more project manager(s)
Pilots Supervises

That said, project management serves project governance,since it focuses on the concrete realisation of deliverables and the achievement of expected results. It concentrates on the concrete execution of activities and tasks, within a global framework that is project governance. Together, they contribute to ensuring the project’s success.

Now let’s look at the different committees that make up project governance.

Example Scheme of a Project Governance

The implementation of project governance involves asking 4 essential questions:

Question Meaning
Who participates? It’s about identifying all the project stakeholders, whether internal or external.
What are the company policies that apply to these stakeholders? Identifying company policies involves using the appropriate documents, like project charters, memos…
When and how to communicate with each project actor? It’s time to think about a communication plan.

Thus, we arrive at a scheme similar to the one you will see in the video below, which is of course just an example to adapt to your particular situation.

Source: Blog Gestion de Projet, video “How to make a project governance scheme (with Model).

Beyond these theoretical considerations, it is now time to review the concrete results brought by project governance.

Examples of Results Obtained with Project Governance

Here are some examples of results achieved thanks to good project governance:

  • Respect of deadlines and budgets by monitoring the progress of the project, ensuring that deadlines and allocated resources are respected. This helps to avoid delays and budget overruns.
  • Better coordination and collaboration among team members and stakeholders, which ultimately leads to increased team satisfaction.
  • Informed decision-making: decision-making mechanisms are clearly defined, involving the right people at the right times.
  • Risk management: the systematic approach to risk management allows identifying, assessing, and managing potential risks throughout the project.
  • Transparency and accountability: relevant information is communicated to all stakeholders. It also emphasises accountability by defining the roles and responsibilities of each individual.

Of course, the objective is for this governance to be reliable and sustainable, which we will detail.

How is Reliable and Sustainable Governance Established?

Sharing, adherence, and team spirit are the essential foundations of healthy collaboration in the long term. Indeed, the choice of a management methodology applicable to all strata of the organisation will influence the rigour applied to work. Organisation members identify with this methodology, notably through their involvement and contribution to the commitments set. The methodology is part of a continuous improvement process; it adapts to the organisation’s business activities, taking its source within the teams that define and apply it daily.

The result is characterised by active participation, regardless of the role played in the organisation, and by the ambition to achieve greater objectives over time thanks to the application of this methodology.

Concretely, what does that imply?

An entity must structure itself around its methodology by proposing to establish:

  • communication processes with the aim of facilitating exchanges between different services and guaranteeing traceability of information. A well-defined communication channel for each of the activities avoids dispersing the effort of collection and especially rationalising data on a common foundation. The objective is to work transparently within the entity and ensure that stakeholders share the same level of information, giving autonomy to the concerned actors.
  • steering bodies through a committee system to organise information of high added value for the entity. Indeed, through reporting, a set of actions offers the opportunity to have strategic elements arbitrated by the decision-making members and above all to make the right decisions. This involves regularly taking stock of completed activities, making forecasts on a scheduled calendar, thinking about improvement axes, while managing encountered difficulties as well as potential risks.
  • global activity monitoring practices in the organisation to promote collegial decisions. Establishing cross-functional management supports the company’s strategy by precisely defining roles and responsibilities for each business activity. The achievement of results is reflected by the understanding of the stakes and the perfect match of the work performed against the management’s expectations.
  • a line of effective and management practice-adapted tools. Securing activity portfolios, controlling budgets are closely linked to the efficiency of the technological means provided. Proposing document templates, establishing decision-making tools, or collecting information are actions that promote development, creativity, production by stakeholders, and free them from administrative burdens.

In a word, governance must be supported by the Management, but it is above all carried by the collective in obliging itself to establish a line of conduct.

How to Implement an Effective Project Governance?

Comment instaure-t-on une gouvernance fiable et pérenne

Guide to Implementing Project Governance

Conducting a Situation Analysis

Let’s be perfectly clear: if there is a secret to success, it is to progress gradually, without haste. As we mentioned above:

Sharing, adherence, and critical spirit are the essential foundations of healthy long-term collaboration.

That’s why team adherence is a prerequisite to be respected before any project governance implementation. Once it is assured, here are the steps to follow:

This is the opportunity to ask all possible and imaginable questions. What is your company culture? Who does what? What bodies and procedures have you implemented, do they work? What tools do you use, are they effective? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you want to keep, and why? And what do you absolutely want to change? Here is a checklist of points to address:

  • teams: functions, roles, missions
  • decision-making
  • bodies
  • procedures
  • processes
  • tools
  • budget
  • communication

Projecting with a Roadmap

This step is directly linked to the previous one: when you assess the state of your company, you also think about your objectives and what you want to change. For example, the question of tools inevitably leads you to formalise the type of tool you would like to use in the future. Make forecasts on:

  • the budget
  • the necessary time
  • the procedures to be implemented.

Thinking about Team Training

Every internal player must be trained. We emphasize this point!

Integrating Tools

Tools are not an end in themselves, but a simple means to improve your operation. It is quite possible that the tools you have used so far are satisfactory, but the way they are exploited needs to be rethought; or conversely, that the operation of your company is quite effective but needs to be facilitated with better tools.

Guide de mise en place d'une gouvernance projet

What are the criteria for good governance?

How to succeed in your projects with quality governance? We can list 4 essential criteria:

Firstly, governance covers the question of team adherence.. Indeed, by involving all actors and not just project managers, this allows confronting the chosen model with reality, taking into account each person’s imperatives, and ensuring that missions, roles, and responsibilities are well defined.

Then, it’s important to define the project management method best suited to your organisation and teams. It appears essential to make this decision collectively.

Then keep in mind that governance bodies (committees) are not empty shells, but real decision-making tools. Perhaps you will need 2 committees, perhaps 6, it’s up to you to decide what is relevant for your organisation.

Finally, you will need comprehensive reporting, using dashboards, to gather information related to a project and extract directions. It serves as a basis for decision-making.

You will also need to take into account the limits of project governance.

What are the limits of project governance?

Rather than intrinsic limits to governance itself, we propose to think about the 5 most common mistakes to avoid:

Mistake 1: Underestimating the human dimension.

If stakeholders are not sufficiently involved in governance processes (whether internally or externally), its effectiveness will be reduced.

Mistake 2: Lack of diversity of personnel in committees and meetings.

Concentrating decision-making powers in the hands of a few, who would always be the same from one body to another, is detrimental to governance. Therefore, promote diversity of profiles, gender, age, professional backgrounds, in order to obtain truly representative bodies of all your teams.

Mistake 3: Excessive complexity and rigidity.

Too complex a project governance can lead to administrative heaviness and an overload of processes. Similarly, you risk having difficulties adapting to changes and unforeseen events.

Mistake 4: An overload of information.

While regular communication and reporting are keys to success, they can also lead to an information overload for stakeholders. An excess of reports and data can dilute relevant information and make decision-making more difficult.

Mistake 5: Not putting tools in their right place.

Underestimating the importance of tools or, conversely, making them an end in themselves can be significant obstacles to enlightened project governance.

These limits, or rather these risks, should not discourage the implementation of project governance!

Is project governance compatible with the agile method?

Project governance is indeed compatible with the agile method. Although they may seem different at first glance, it is possible to combine them.

What is the agile method?
It was developed in opposition to the so-called traditional or waterfall methods: it is about rethinking ways of working. Indeed, the waterfall method implies a series of linear steps to follow. However, this methodological framework proves to be rigid, not suited to some business sectors such as software development, and not appropriate for communication between teams and with the client. The agile approach, on the other hand, promotes collaboration between multidisciplinary teams and clients; it focuses not on planning stages but on dividing the project into independent deliverable elements, allowing for permanent back-and-forth. The agile approach has given rise to several methods, including Scrum, which we are training in at Qim info. If the agile methodology emphasises flexibility, collaboration, and continuous adaptation to changes, it can coexist perfectly with governance in an agile project.

Indeed, project governance in an agile context can be adapted to support agile principles while meeting the company’s requirements. We can notably mention these few measures to implement:

  • A lighter governance framework, with simplified processes and documents to adapt to the iterative and adaptive nature of the agile approach.
  • The definition of clear roles and responsibilities: although agile teams organise themselves, it is important to have well-defined roles and responsibilities to facilitate coordination and decision-making.
  • Adaptive monitoring and control, whose mechanisms can be adapted to align with agile practices, promoting retrospection and continuous improvement.
  • Iterative risk management: agile governance encourages an iterative approach to risk management, identifying and addressing risks throughout the project.

A flexible and pragmatic approach allows combining agile principles with governance requirements to achieve effective results!

Discover computer project governance!

Now that you perfectly master the theme of project governance, how about exploring computer project governance? It is a framework aimed at developing information technologies in accordance with the general objectives and strategy of the company. It encompasses the processes, structures, policies, and practices necessary to make informed decisions, ensure transparency, and optimise the value of IT projects within an organisation.

Here are some important aspects of IT project governance:

  • Strategic Alignment: IT projects are aligned with the organisation’s overall strategy.
  • Risk and Compliance Management: Specific risk management processes for IT projects are integrated, such as security risk assessment, data privacy, and regulatory compliance.
  • Resource and Budget Management: Processes are established to efficiently allocate resources, monitor spending, and ensure cost-effective management of IT projects.

At Qim info, we are available to answer any questions about IT project governance! We attach great importance to it because of its impact on the success of technological initiatives and client satisfaction. In addition to the crucial aspects mentioned above, we ensure our clients that we operate with complete transparency: the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder are clearly defined, which ensures that decisions are made wisely and results are clearly communicated to interested parties.

Likewise, our mission is to generate added value for our clients and stakeholders through innovative and high-quality technological solutions. Lastly, continuous improvement is our battle horse! To learn more about our services, we invite you to discover our Centre of Expertise.

FAQ: Methods and Tools to Advance in Project Governance

Depending on the type of project, project governance is governed by several committees (this can be referred to as comitology) here are 5 examples.

Strategic Committee (STRACO)

Effective project management involves setting up an action plan that coordinates the activities of stakeholders: this is the role of the project’s strategic committee, which examines, approves, and synchronises everyone’s actions. It has a global vision.

Steering Committee (PILCO)

Its main objective is to provide advice that ensures projects are delivered on time and within budget. Thus, it is the essential committee to ensure consistency between the decisions to be made and the project’s stakes.

Project Committee (PROJCO)

The PROJCO focuses on the coordination and support of operational teams to ensure the smooth running of the project. It is mainly driven by project managers. It is responsible for operational and functional monitoring and decision-making.

Technical Committee (TECHCO)

The TECHCO focuses on the technical aspects of the project. Its main goal is to help other bodies not to worry about the technical dimension. It analyses technical risks and reports them to PROJCO.

Run Committee (RUNCO)

Almost systematically present in IT projects, the RUNCO is the committee that monitors maintenance activities. It guarantees the maintenance of each version of the project.

We will now discuss meetings, which can sometimes combine with committees.

As with committees, we present these to you for informational purposes. Do not fall into meeting overload! Each meeting is organised for a specific reason and meets a particular need. Here are some models:

The Planning Meeting is generally organised at the very beginning of the project to define objectives, deliverables, deadlines, roles and responsibilities, as well as to develop the overall project plan. It often involves the project’s main stakeholders and can serve as a starting point for later management and coordination.

We also have the regular Follow-up Meeting, organised, as its name indicates, at regular intervals to review the project’s progress, discuss encountered problems, make decisions, and adjust plans if necessary.

Then, the Project Review Meeting takes place at key stages of the project, such as the end of a major phase or the delivery of a major deliverable. It allows the entire project to be evaluated, the results obtained to be analysed, performances to be reviewed, and lessons learned to be identified.

There is also the Problem-Solving Meeting, organised specifically to identify and solve critical problems or obstacles that hinder the project’s progress.

Finally, let’s mention the well-known Presentation Meeting,intended to communicate on the progress, results or recommendations of the project to a specific audience. It often involves the presentation of reports, data, visualisations, or documents to inform and influence the concerned stakeholders.

There are numerous tools you can use to facilitate governance, and we offer you different types:

  1. Dashboards, classic tools but proven effective;
  2. Reporting creates an inventory and thus enables decision-making;
  3. The governance diagram represents communication flows and overall governance;
  4. The RACI Matrix (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) is a management tool that transparently allocates tasks and responsibilities to everyone. The RACI matrix allows identifying who the project participants and stakeholders are, and how each person is involved in the project;

PPM software (Project Portfolio Management) facilitates project steering task by task, considering available resources, schedules, budgets, deadlines, requirements. It is particularly well-suited to IT project governance. Examples include Project Monitor, Celoxis, and Sciforma.

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