The Harsh Reality of Project and Program Management Governance!

December 26, 2017


Project and Program Management is about executing initiatives flawlessly. Governance is about ensuring that the right projects and programs are delivered right.

Depending on the organizational maturity, one would expect structures, processes, and tools in place to manage projects, programs, and portfolios. Structures include committees, boards, and teams along with relevant hierarchy to facilitate appropriate decisions.

In parallel, we could also expect methodologies for planning and delivering projects and programs. From an execution standpoint, firms invest in specific processes, checklists, and software tools to manage projects, programs, and portfolios.

The software could include a combination of good-old and ever-friendly Excel spreadsheets, Scheduling tools, and Documentation platforms complementing enterprise applications such as ERP, CRM, and Accounting.
Everything looks hunky-dory!

It is now the time for portfolio managers to work on opportunities to optimize revenue and profits for the organization. In the process, they create business cases, prepare market analyses, make management presentations, and in the process generate a whole lot of documentation.

As part of the portfolio reviews, senior management would accord approvals to promising opportunities and discard others and possibly put them for later consideration. The approved portfolios are baselined and carefully maintained by a support organization such as a PMO (PMO could be Portfolio Management Office, Program Management Office, or Project Management Office).

Approved portfolios translate into either programs or projects depending on size, value, strategic importance, duration, complexity, and a host of other parameters. Program Managers and Project Managers are identified to execute the strategic vision of the firm.

It is now the turn of Program and Project Managers to plan their respective work with their teams and start executing them – hopefully flawlessly! Program and Project Management teams would create their own set of documentation.

Additionally, whenever there are program or project-level changes, necessary revisions to the documentation would be triggered.
So, what is the big deal?

How does senior management that reviews programs and projects for their performance get the confidence that everything is under control? How do the teams earn management’s trust that decisions are professionally agreed upon and that they could be audit-trailed? How does the firm know that the right people in the organizations were involved at the proper stages of decision-making – those who were responsible, accountable, consulted, or informed?

The above questions seem to be fairly straightforward. However, they pose significant challenges when the scale and value of the project or program are significantly high or something that could put organizational credibility at risk.

Oops, what about the various software tools that the company has at its disposal? Remember the list at the beginning of this article? For sure, they must be of value. Why are we unnecessarily working ourselves up?

The most prominent drawback of all the various software applications is that they are not integrated and don’t follow the business process of the organization in a seamless and automated fashion!

There is no guarantee to the top management that the governance mechanisms are working without ‘forced oversight’ or ‘regular audit.’

While oversight and audit may be useful, it comes at a cost that is worth spending for ‘adding business value instead of being an overhead!
So, what is the solution?

PPM Governance would be effective if and only if organizations invest in an integrated project management solution that addresses business process management as well.

Right PPM Governance implies that workflows are designed and configured based on program and project criticality, roles along with decision nodes defined, mandatory or discretionary documentation as needed to be automatically associated along with the other dimensions such as scheduling, risks, issues, meetings, defects, resources, costs, et al.

Unless organizations embrace an Integrated PPM Governance driven digitally, the word ‘Governance’ would just end up being a slogan and not in spirit.

Moreover, there goes all the trust and confidence of the top management. Unfortunately, this is the harsh reality in most organizations today!

TouchBase® PPM is specifically designed to drive ‘PPM Digitization’ along with ‘robust and automated PPM Governance.’

Srikanth PV


Srikanth PV comes with two decades of global corporate and consulting background across industries with diverse roles including Strategy, Leadership, and Management. Currently, Srikanth is Head, PPM Content Management at Kytes focused on content management strategy aimed to empower customers create and enhance value through its flagship digital solution - Kytes PSA. Srikanth is also a former member of the Board of Directors of PMI Bangalore Chapter.