2.14 Establish Project Governance Structure

Process - Establish Project Governance Structure


2.14.1Determine appropriate governance for a project (e.g., replicate organizational governance)
2.14.2Define escalation paths and thresholds

Project governance refers to the framework, functions, and processes that guide project management activities in order to create a unique product, service, or result to meet organizational, strategic, and operational goals.

Establishing a project governance structure is crucial for ensuring effective project management and decision-making throughout the project’s lifecycle. It helps define roles, responsibilities, and communication channels within the project team and stakeholders.

Determine Appropriate Governance for a Project

When determining the project governance structure, it’s important to consider the specific needs and characteristics of the project, as well as any relevant organizational governance frameworks. Some key considerations include:

a. Project Size and Complexity: Larger and more complex projects may require a more formal and structured governance approach, while smaller projects may benefit from a more agile and flexible governance structure.

b. Stakeholder Involvement: Identify the key stakeholders involved in the project and determine their roles and responsibilities within the governance structure. This includes project sponsors, steering committees, project managers, team members, and other relevant stakeholders.

c. Decision-Making Authority: Clearly define decision-making authority and accountability within the governance structure. This ensures that decision-making processes are transparent, efficient, and aligned with the project’s objectives.

d. Organizational Governance Alignment: Replicating or aligning the project governance with the existing organizational governance can help ensure consistency and integration with the broader organizational structure and processes. For example, the legal, regulatory, security, and safety requirements may require additional project governance effort during planning and managing the project.

Define Escalation Paths and Thresholds

Escalation paths and thresholds define how issues, risks, and decisions are escalated within the project governance structure. This ensures that problems are appropriately addressed and resolved at the right level of authority. Here are some considerations:

a. Escalation Levels: Determine the different levels of escalation within the project governance structure, such as project team level, project manager level, steering committee level, and executive/sponsor level. Each level should have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and decision-making authority.

b. Escalation Triggers and Thresholds: Define specific triggers or thresholds that indicate when an issue or decision needs to be escalated to the next level. For example, a significant deviation from the project plan, budget overrun, or a major risk event could trigger an escalation.

c. Communication Channels: Establish clear communication channels and protocols for escalating issues and decisions. This includes defining who should be notified, how the escalation should be communicated (e.g., through meetings, reports, emails), and the expected response time for each level of escalation.

d. Escalation Resolution: Determine how escalations will be resolved at each level. This could involve reviewing additional information, seeking input from relevant stakeholders, or making decisions based on established criteria or guidelines.

There is no one governance framework that is effective in all organizations. It should be tailored to the organizational culture, types of projects, and the needs of the organization in order to be effective. In projects using predictive approaches, project governance may be more formal compared to projects using adaptive approaches.

Overall, by determining the appropriate governance structure for the project and defining escalation paths and thresholds, the project manager can establish a clear framework for effective decision-making, issue resolution, and communication throughout the project. This helps ensure that the project remains on track, aligns with organizational objectives, and effectively engages stakeholders at the appropriate levels.

Last updated: May 28, 2023