The importance of effective governance – David Shannon


David-Shannon

What does good governance consist of? Is it confined to those at the top of the organisation as strategy is to the Admiral of the fleet?

David Shannon, Honorary Fellow of APM speaking at the recent IPMA World Congress in Crete suggested that governance is much wider than that and is about a set of relationships between interested parties including an organisations owners, project sponsors, project managements, departmental heads and stakeholders. Good project governance does not depend on systems alone but on culture and the motivation of those in the chain of command.
It is therefore the role of those in charge to ensure that an effective governance structure, the right culture and the necessary motivation exist.

The thing that these ‘success factors’ for good governance depend on is effective communication. This communication will take place up and down the chain of command as well as outwards to the stakeholders. It is important to recognise that in every communication there is ‘noise’ that will affect the transparency of the message. This needs to be understood and if governance is to be effective.

David ran through the various publications that have been produced and updated on this important subject as well as the Special Interest Group (SIG) that exists to promote best practice. In one of those publications, ‘Sponsoring Change’ the audience was introduced to the inclusion of governance checklists. Questions like: ‘has the control of risk and contingency been agreed?’ and ‘is there a forum for meeting with other stakeholders?’ were shown as examples of how practical these guide publications can be.

Other practical questions such as ‘do sponsors continue in their roles for periods of time sufficient to ensure accountability?’ have been included in the updated publication ‘Directing Change’.
Of course governance cannot be considered in organisational or even national isolation. Projects span national boundaries as do organisations and the governance SIG draws on members that reflect the need for an international view and consistency. These members include BSI, ISO, academics as well as commercial organisations.

The need for good governance in project management affects everyone involved. It not only helps in deciding which projects should be part of the organisations portfolio but determines the contents and frequency of team progress reports and whether a project risk is green, amber or red. This address contributes to our understanding of a vital activity which we ignore at our peril.

Found David Shanon at the IPMA World Congress on The PM Channel (subscription needed), found other videos freely available

 

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