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Business Transformation

How to achieve good project governance: 5 rules for success

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
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Project governance is the essential link between corporate governance and project management. It defines the rules of engagement for all stakeholders, strategically guiding them towards common objectives. As always, knowing the answers to the most basic questions are key: WHY do I need to do this? HOW will I deliver? WHOM will this benefit?

We all know that ERP projects are strategic in nature, and that they typically start without project governance. For project management success, however, there must be a strategic link to corporate governance – more than just following a list of regulatory rules.

How can your organization work better at ensuring success?

Pipol offers 5 rules for successful project governance:


1. Select a vendor that matches your organization’s culture

Vendors who claim that they’ll adapt to any customer’s model simply don’t have a strong enough culture to offer a committed partnership. Once you know the scope of your project, ensure that you tie the vendor’s culture to that of your organization’s.

2. Communicate clearly with your stakeholders

People must clearly understand the rules, but also why they’re required to do something in order to feel motivated. The project manager must ensure that each stakeholder knows how their work is contributing‒both to the project objectives and the organization’s strategic objectives. Stakeholders must be convinced that the project governance is critical to the project success. And as always, their voices need to be heard through structured opportunities for feedback.

3. Empower people, through clear accountability

While adhering to project governance, all stakeholders must have a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities. In order to be accountable, however, people need to be empowered. Duplicate responsibilities must be avoided, and when shared responsibilities exist the accountability should lie with just one person. Stakeholders who feel empowered will go beyond their area of influence to ensure project success.

4. Clearly outline roles for all stakeholders

Good project governance is defined at the project level, which means the rules of engagement don’t take title, reputation, or politics into consideration. Roles should be assigned by keeping project goals and objectives firmly in focus. Once the project governance has been created, then assign individuals to roles based on (1) skills and (2) availability (with no regard to names and/or titles). Project governance and rules must also be transparent, apply to all stakeholders in the project, and be clearly understood by each stakeholder.

5. Define ethics based on mutually accepted norms

Good project governance must define accepted behavior for all stakeholders. In addition to CSR and legal reasons, most professional project management organizations enforce a code of ethics to help diverse teams work together on a project. They need to find common ground for an acceptable mode of getting things done a good working norm that everyone will accept. Since stakeholders logically come from different backgrounds (with different values), good project governance defines accepted behavior for all stakeholders.

Moving towards successful project governance

Project governance must provide clear guidelines for communication, responsibilities and ethics, which support an ERP project in adding strategic value. Take a look at our whitepaper on Project Governance, and read more about how strong teamwork, two-way communication, accountability, and transparent operational and ethical rules can lead to successful project governance in your organization.

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