not taking time to set up strong governance. When
you’re the leader of any governance committee, the
first thing to do is ensure the individual members
are chosen for their experience and skills. Be sure to
assess the steering committee as a whole.
This involves identifying skill gaps and ensuring
the body has the right levels of seniority and accountability to be effective change agents. Identifying members who might be out of their depth and
working to have adequate representation saves a lot
of time in the long run and greatly enhances the
chances of project support and success. The next
step is to assign clearly defined roles and responsibilities to the committee members.
It’s also important that the governance processes and mechanisms are in place, they make
sense to you and they fit what you are trying
to accomplish. This includes a regular cadence
of meetings, understanding how and when
the committee will receive information, and
determining whether the information will have
the right level of detail to help you achieve the
business case. Also, documenting roles and responsibilities, structures and processes enables
agreement and formal acknowledgement by the
3. MAKE DECISIONS: DO NOT RECEIVE
Don’t allow steering committee meetings to become update sessions. A brief update is fine, but
the committee’s job is to ensure alignment, give
guidance, monitor results, make decisions and
clear roadblocks. It’s your time to help tackle the
tough issues that arise and help the project team
stay focused and continue to execute.
It can be difficult to set the direction and pace
of a meeting, so make sure you get the right level
VOICES In the Trenches
The New Sponsor
YOU’VE FOUND YOURSELF as the sponsor of
a new project—the one that’s supposed to change
the way your organization does business. Your
business unit is going to be one of the most affected areas, so it makes sense for you to take the
role. But you’ve never served as a project sponsor
before, and so—apart from applying common
sense and calling on past experience—you’re not
sure what to look out for.
Here are five tips for ensuring your inaugural
project or program governance journey is a successful one.
1. UNDERSTAND THE KE Y VALUE
DRIVERS AND KEEP THE FOCUS
ON THE BIG PICTURE
In providing governance over a project or program, one of the most important questions you
must answer is, “What is the organization trying
to achieve?” That answer is the key to setting the
vision for the overall program and to making good
decisions. If you’re unable to clearly articulate why a
project is being undertaken and how it links back to
the organization’s strategic goals, then the project
will likely have trouble achieving benefits.
Own the business case—including the objectives and goals of the project or program—and
weigh any future decisions against them. Be sure
to take time, even when deadlines are approach-ing, to see that the business case gets updated
with any significant changes before approving
them. That discipline will save you from losing
focus and eroding value.
2. DEFINE THE STRUCTURES, ROLES,
RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCESSES
One of the most common problems I see with
large change initiatives is implementation teams
There’s a first time for everything—including project and program governance. Here are five tips for doing it right.
By David Tilk, PMP