Is Governance helping you or slowing you down?

We've worked with many organizations that have put in place some fairly mature project management processes and implemented what they call 'Governance'. While we 100% support the practice of providing a defined process around project, program and portfolio management we have detected a trend in organizations experiencing some unintended consequences of governance. Specifically, adopting a 'one size fits all' model to governance can be detrimental to the organization and to the PMO. By forcing all projects to conform to a rigid standard of controls (governance) we risk slowing down the execution of projects and overburdening them with too much process. One of the significant benefits of MPMM is its highly customizable and adaptable to fit your project's needs. The PMO 'Process Police', as they are sometimes called, need to make sure that they are focused more on business outcomes than on the governance process. Their processes should enable greater productivity and effectiveness and not be a constraint that slows the organizations down. In our newly released Portfolio Management module for MPMM, we discuss benefits management in the context of being the ultimate goal of portfolio management in driving the strategy. In order to maximize productivity and effectiveness we recommend and encourage the practice of 'right-sizing' the governance model to fit the complexity and risk of projects. This method is sometimes referred to as 't-shirt sizing' (as in small/medium/large) in order to categorize projects into an appropriate size. For each size you would have a tailored governance model so that low risk and low complexity projects can be executed quickly and not bogged down with the same level of governance required by high risk and high complexity projects. You can get started on the process of 'right-sizing' your projects by downloading and utilizing our Project Portfolio Scorecard Template.
  • Modify the categories and weights to the needs and desires of your organization.
  • Score each project
  • Determine cut-off points for Small/Medium/Large
  • Determine the governance, control and oversight processes for each category.
Remember, you don't need to be overly rigid in applying any of these steps but you will benefit significantly by removing any unnecessary steps that aren't adding significant value to your process -- and your sponsors and business partners will thank you!

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