Aiming for ‘Just Enough’ when it comes to Project Governance

Aiming for just enough, now that sounds very unambitious and here at Nine Feet Tall we always strive for excellence and best practice. When I talk to my children I explain to them that they should never settle for mediocrity.

So why that when it comes to Project Governance is ‘Just Enough’ an acceptable standard?

Over time having worked with a range of clients we have observed them investing significant amounts of time and money in setting up a Project Methodology, all in their own forms but based on the same Prince2 Stage Gate principles. Some beautiful and highly detailed collateral has been developed but here in lies the problem: it is beautiful in theory but not in practice.

The problem is that most of these methodologies have become so unwieldy leading to Project Managers spending more than 40% of their time completing forms, reports and templates when they should be leading the project and driving it through to completion.

On the other side of the spectrum there are Project Managers who have given up on the methodologies and use their own ways of working. This is resulting in a lack of consistency and transparency with no accurate project information accessible.

So in practice when it comes to governance we need to aim for just enough, just enough structure to give control, just enough governance to create structured and consistent management information, but not too much that Project Managers are weighed down by processes and the bureaucracy that follows, and become administrators instead of managers.

How to strike the just enough balance in practice: 

  • Design a methodology that is fit for purpose for your organisation and your projects.
  • Build flexibility into your methodologies; introduce light versions for smaller projects and tighten the governance for more complex, high risk, or expensive initiatives.
  • Keep it simple; if it sounds too complex – it probably is.
  • Train your Project Managers, explain what the methodology is, how it helps them and embed it across the organisation.

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