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The existence of economic pressure is the major cause of increased demand on project management profession nowadays

The existence of economic pressure is the major cause of increased demand on project management
profession nowadays (Office of Government Commerce, 2007b). According to OGC (2009), it is
suggested that this discipline is adopted to accomplish organisation’s strategic priorities rather than
just enabling the organisations to operate projects in isolation. The ability to managing projects,
programmes and portfolios in reduced time caused the PM profession commonly used by many of
organisations for strategy implementation and continuous improvement. (Winter et al., 2006).
However, it is suggested that many of the projects were led to failure due to its disconnection, they
were not aligned together as whole portfolio, every project was treated as separate body (Knodel,
2004). As a result, the project governance activities were developed to deliver structured and
disciplined solutions for managing multiple project aligned with organisation’s strategies and
objectives (Meskendahl, 2010; Shenhar, 2004).
According to Association for Project Management (APM), project governance contains four main
components: portfolio directions, project sponsorship, project management capability and
disclosure and reporting. Each of the component was design to provide effective governance. In
addition, APM’s guide states: “Effective governance of project management ensures that an
organisation’s project portfolio is aligned to business objectives, is delivered efficiently and is
sustainable.” The study conducted by Garland (2009) defined four main principles of effective
governance. The principles are: “Ensure a single point of accountability”, “Ensure the project
governance is service delivery focused”, “Separate stakeholder management and project decision
making”, and finally “Separate project and organisational governance”.
The first two principles are based on clarity of the accountability and responsibility within the
project. They are also designed to improve the decision-making processes and to provide clear
understanding of ownership of project delivery as it is suggested that “good project governance
requires the customer retain the key project decision making responsibility throughout the project
since the Customer owns the project Business Case and the project budget.” (Garland, 2009). In
addition, PRINCE2 approach explains that the project governance framework identifies
accountability for the success of the project with the Project owner who is settled in the Project
Board. The aim of the project board is explained by Garland (2009) as the support party for the
Project Owner. The rest of the board: Senior User, Senior Supplier and Project Director are affecting
the project in terms of decision-making. On the other hand, PRINCE2 approach suggest that the
project may take place with two people – project owner and project manager, so it may be argued
that the rest of the board except project owner is not essential to deliver the project. Further study
of Garland (2009) suggested that many of the project are unstated in terms of the accountability and
this is a crucial issue that may lead to end up the project with unaccomplished status. The notable
example of the failure of setting up the roles and responsibilities may be found in Railhead’s project
[see appendix 1]. The attempt to upgrade existing anti-terror tracking system by Dept. Homeland
Security has failed due to the reduction of the contractors to skeleton crew while the project was on
execution stage. The reason of the failure may be found in wrong understanding of required roles
needed to complete this project. The stakeholders were not aligned within the accountability of
specific elements related to the project, so most of them literally left.
The remaining two principles are focusing on separate the key stakeholders of the project and
people responsible for decision-making activities. Also, the 4th principle is aiming to isolate the view
of organisation with the perspective of decision made it for purpose of the specific project. In
relation to Garland (2009) it may be argued that functions of stakeholder management and project
decision-making must be addressed separately to limit the number of people required in the process
of “shaping” the project while maintaining the essential input provided by key stakeholders. It is also
suggested that well performed stakeholder management support the needs of stakeholders by
implementing communication channels and reporting frameworks. The approach of PRINCE2
consists a variety of different reports providing the snapshot of the status of the project and its key
elements, for example: Checkpoint Report or Work Package. On the other hand, the separation of
the structure of the organisation and the project itself is essential in decision-making process
(Garland, 2009). The maintaining of isolation those two may speed up the process of managing the
project as extra decision layer will not be involved. The author also suggested that quality of the
decision would not be impacted by people who “don’t necessarily have the prerequisite knowledge
and understanding of the project and its issues”.
Garland, R. (2009) Project Governance: A Practical Guide to Effective Project Decision Making.
London: Kogan Page
Knodel, T., 2004. Preparing the organizational 'soil' for measurable and sustainable change: business
value management and project governance. Journal of Change Management, 4, 45-62.
Meskendahl, S., 2010. The influence of business strategy on project portfolio management and its
success — A conceptual framework. International Journal of Project Management, 28, 807-817.
Office of Government Commerce, 2007b. Managing successful programmes, 3rd ed. The Stationery
Office, London.
Office of Government Commerce, 2009. Managing successful projects with PRINCE2. The Stationery
Office, London
Shenhar, A.J., 2004. Strategic Project Leadership® Toward a strategic approach to project
management. R&D Management, 34, 569-578.
Winter, M., Smith, C., Morris, P., Cicmil, S., 2006. Directions for future research in project
management: The main findings of a UK government-funded research network. International Journal
of Project Management, 24, 638-649.