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Project governance – why is it important?

Before we tackle the importance of project governance, we need to debunk a common misconception: Project governance is NOT project management. In fact, the two are very different. Where project management focuses on delivering project objectives within the right time, cost and quality, project governance focuses on creating a framework for effective project decision making using defined structures, the right people and the right information.

But why is this important? Well the answer is twofold:

  • Before a project is given the go ahead, project governance ensures that the project not only aligns with your business objectives, but also confirms that the project is the correct one to embark on at the present time.
  • During project execution, project governance serves as a sounding board to ensure that the project does not deviate from its agreed goals and objectives, limiting the risk of failure.

Project governance is achieved by having clearly defined project policies and procedures in place, a steering committee comprising of stakeholders who can effectively drive decision making and adherence to the following key principles:

  • State your case
    Project governance starts with your business case. If you can’t define why you need to embark on a project and what the business benefit will be, there’s no point in moving forward.
  • View Project governance as a different animal
    Corporate governance defines your organisational line of authority and responsibility, but with project governance you need to ensure that your decision making process is as streamlined as possible. It’s important, therefore, to separate the two and define your own line of command.
  • Create a feeling of ownership
    Assign one owner to each key project deliverable or focus area. A single point of accountability promotes empowerment and ownership and ensures that nobody’s standing around assuming someone else will take the lead.
  • Define clear decision-making roles & responsibilities
    Be clear about who is needed for which type of decisions and why. By defining this upfront you’re ensuring less confusion further down the line should an issue or critical decision point bubble up unexpectedly.
  • Keep your stakeholder management & decision-making separate
    Your decision makers should be a small subset of your broader project stakeholder group. Therefore, when decisions are needed, setup focused sessions with this select group only. If you include decisions into broader sessions which involve your other stakeholders, the session will become more about getting people up to speed, thereby losing focus and negatively impacting your ability to get to a decision point quickly & efficiently.

As one of the more niche management consulting firms in South Africa, we pride ourselves on solving complex business challenges powerfully and efficiently with our tried and proven partnered approach and methodologies.

Do you feel that your projects are lacking the right level of governance? Do you need Project Governance Specialists to put structure back into your game? Contact Cathy at Analyze on 021 447 5696 or email her on 

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