Portfolio governance is a cornerstone of any effective PPM process. Unfortunately, for many organizations, the term governance has connotations of arduous rules and processes that place an undue burden on stakeholders. But truly effective PMOs understand that – while essential – robust portfolio governance controls must also be smart and flexible enough to meet the needs of a wide variety of stakeholders. The key is striking a balance to effectively control both project and operational work without the excessive bureaucracy that can negatively impact time-to-market and employee morale.
Robust governance workflow.
Effective PPM governance workflow provides a blueprint for your organization to successfully communicate, implement, and realize its business strategy through a framework that selects the right initiatives and improves project delivery. When developed thoughtfully, it comprises a set of guidelines that help you to effectively create, control, and deliver all types of work, enhance accountability, and optimally align spending with company strategy. With the appropriate controls in place the right stakeholders are engaged and presented with the right level of information across the entire life of a project.
An agile approach
Organizations execute both project and non-project investments using a variety of execution techniques, which can vary by size and scope. These execution methodologies could be waterfall, agile or even basic work management / back of the napkin. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to project execution, which means there is no one-size-fit-all solution to governance. Governance processes need to provide the organization with the ability to cater to specific execution methodologies – or even a combination of methodologies – while still providing enterprise standardization. It’s also critical that portfolio governance be flexible enough to adapt to a wide variety of scenarios, providing the autonomy needed to ensure that more nimble organizations can execute without being bogged down by needless bureaucracy.
Establish standards while providing flexibility
Enterprise-wide standards break down divisional silos and improve efficiency, communication, and transparency across the organization. But no two departments are alike in how they manage their project and program portfolios. To ensure that enterprise investments are being effectively managed, every organization needs to establish the appropriate level of control to match their unique standards. But the controls they put in place must also allow individual departments within the organization enough autonomy to adjust those controls as needed to meet their unique needs, while still adhering to corporate standards.
Drive accountability and traceability
Establishing proper levels of approval authority is a critical component of any organization’s governance capabilities. By making it easy to establish checkpoints that empower individuals with the appropriate level of approval authority, the organization can more effectively drive accountability while providing an auditable record of all investment decisions. These capabilities extend beyond the typical approval gates within projects and programs to also include managing change requests and even how the organization governs the process of re-visiting decisions at any time within the lifecycle of projects and programs.
Manage recurring governance
Recurring events that occur throughout the project and program lifecycle require the appropriate controls to ensure that all stakeholders have the controls necessary and appropriate to their role and level of responsibility. The status of projects and programs must be updated and communicated to stakeholders on a regular basis. Risk must be assessed periodically to ensure that everything continues to proceed as planned. Dynamic planning techniques require sophisticated controls to enable the organization to share insight needed to drive informed decisions and maximize portfolio value. With the appropriate controls and governance in place, organizations can ensure that they’re driving the right decisions at every key point in the project and program lifecycle.
Assess and document results
In order to drive constant improvement, it’s critical to assess and document the outcomes of their processes. By analyzing processes and leveraging the resulting metrics, organizations can identify and resolve bottlenecks and refine processes to improve business results. Documenting lessons learned can help the organization improve forward movement without affecting quality or bypassing required organizational controls.