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Warning Signs of Weak Project Governance

IT projects cannot afford to have passive sponsors. Conversely, the right project sponsor can be a key ingredient for project mastery. But sometimes even that’s not enough for effective project governance. In her article for PM Hut, Kiron D. Bondale explains how weak project governance as a risk could ruin your project.

Two Es of Project Governance

A project governing process needs to be two things, effective and efficient. This means good design and timely decisions that fit within the framework of established policy and the organization’s established risk appetite. Good governance pays heed to project flow and provides a safety net for issue resolution.

4 Governance Errors

The sweet spot of project governance involves the negation of four common errors:

  • Frequent Reversal of Decisions
  • Excessive Administration & Documentation
  • Chronically Delayed Issue Resolutions
  • Gridlocked Governance Committees

There are three possible reasons for a frequent reversal of decisions. Either a. decision makers are engaged in excessive multitasking, b. they are making decisions prematurely, or c. there is insufficient engagement with the appropriate stakeholders. If this occurs, Bondale recommends broadening your governance safety net.

A governance process that spends more time supporting decisions with administration or documentation is a governance process that is not working. Use process analysis to streamline the reception of valuable input to the project.

Issue resolutions are not without time constraints. If the committee comes to decisions only when they are long overdue, then the problem is death-by-committee, and the solution is an assessment to determine if improvements can’t be made to timing and complexity for faster submissions.

If the governance committee is stuck at the storming phase, Bondale advocates using a strong sponsor as an informal coach or a steering committee / advisory group. This is especially applicable to large and complex projects, where the presence of long-standing executives may ferment organizational turf wares or personality conflicts.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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