Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Project Governance – Maturity Level I

"Good project governance provides just enough oversight, process, guidance, and rigor to efficiently and effectively use project resources, deliver a solution, and handle trade-off decisions while optimally balancing adherence to a set of potentially changing project constraints.”

- Michael S. V. Turner, Microsoft Solutions Framework Essentials: Building successful technology solutions.  p271.

With this post I start a new series on governance.  Project governance, yes, but not just project governance.  Governance in the project context, though.  This should be a fun exercise, and I invite you to join the conversation.  Project managers historically have a love-hate relationship with governance, but it shouldn’t necessarily be so.
I have worked in the financial, pharma (GxP), and government domains, among others.  These are all high-governance environments and, with that experience, I can say that governance is a project manager’s good friend.  Understand that both you and the governance team have the same objective – project success.  If you don’t grasp that, then the yin-yang balance between advocate and adversary will be lost for you;  you’ll see governance only as an adversary to your success.  This will not be to your (or, more importantly, the project’s) benefit.  One thing in particular that keeps me on my toes is that, in these environments, I know someone who knows what they’re doing is going to be looking over my shoulder and evaluating my results critically.

There is probably some governance professional organization with its own body of knowledge and well-defined formal maturity levels for governance.  I wouldn’t know.  With apologies to that organization and to SEI and, completely tongue-in-cheek, I’m creating for this series an arbitrary set of maturity levels.
The first governance maturity level (gml), then, is one where any of the following are true:  there is no formal project governance process or methodology;  the project governance methodology is ineffective or insufficient;  or, the project manager perceives the project governance as (substantially) an adversary to success.  This is generally, in the maturity level worlds, called the state of chaos.  And that epithet clearly applies.

In the next post, I’ll advance to gml-II Solution and expound way too long on the characteristics of the first level of project governance maturity.
I would love to hear your stories on governance.  Have you found it to be an ally or an adversary?  What guidance do you have for fellow PMs?

© 2013 Chuck Morton.  All Rights Reserved.

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