How to Succeed at
project governance
As the stewards of taxpayer dollars, we need to manage project risk
through a well-dened and proven governance process.
Calvin Rhodes
CIO, State of Georgia
In the previous chapter, we discussed operational eciency as a basic
element for delivering services exceptionally well. A second element
is project governance. Why is this important? ink about it! Every
activity performed by personnel in your information technology (IT)
organization is part of a project. Following is the objective, key mes-
sages, and examples used in this chapter.
1. Discuss the importance of project governance in pro-
viding an eective oversight and governance process
for all projects and associated portfolios in the business
2. Provide a project governance framework CIOs can use
to provide an eective governance process within the IT
3. Share a case study of an IT organization that uses an
eective governance process tool in managing a diverse
set of project portfolios.
the strategiC Cio
1. A well thought of project governance process will mini-
mize project risk and improve project success.
2. Bad communication, lack of planning, poor quality con-
trol, missing interim deliverables, poor budget, and proj-
ect management contribute to project failures.
3. Your project governance process should include guiding
principles, project excellence governance processes and
metrics, project portfolios, and a project portfolio man-
agement (PPM) tool.
a. Guiding principles include visible leadership, dened
tactics, eective communications, project excellence,
and metrics.
4. Project portfolios should be organized by categories and
viewable across dierent categories, characteristics, and
strategic alignment. Sustain, operational, and strategic
is one category grouping.
State of Georgia—Georgia Technology Authority (GTA)
Governance Framework—Project Excellence
Guiding Principles
Define tactics Effective communication
Project Excellence Governance Processes and Metrics
Project Portfolio
Sustain—maintain the business
Managing activities, schedule, cost, resources
Project Portfolio Management Tool
Operational—run the business
Sales/marketing Customer support
Product development
Data center
E-mailHelp desk
Strategic—innovate the business
Rigorous processes and oversight to ensure successful governance of projects
Focused metrics to measure project governance and project execution
Visible leadership
Change management
Innovative supply chain
Creative customer service
New products/new markets
360 degrees perspective
Executive sponsor
Business owner/IT owner
how to suCCeed at projeCt governanCe
Your IT and business teams work on large projects, which include
the development of sales applications, nancial applications, human
resource applications, and order entry applications for internal users.
ey also develop applications for customers, such as customer ser-
vice applications, as well as logistic applications for your channel part-
ners. ese teams also work on smaller projects such as application
enhancement releases, help desk issue, and incident resolution. Even
the activities associated with an outsourced or purchased application is
a project. ere are always data center projects to improve eciency or
install new equipment. e point here is that most work activities are
indeed part of a project and need to be managed through a governance
model to ensure successful outcome.
IT organizations manage many projects. Whether big or small,
these projects always have risks and project managers (PMs) always
want to minimize risk. Project plans are perfect the moment they
are developed. Once the project clock starts, subsequent events
inuence project schedules and costs. Resources with the required
skills might not be available resulting in errors or increased work
eort. Incorrect or expanded scope requirements extend project
schedules. Improper testing results in rework. Each of these risk
areas aects the ability of the IT organization to optimize project
throughput—the number of projects executed during the scal year.
When schedules extend beyond planned dates, or costs exceed bud-
get, fewer projects complete in a scal year, and potential business
benets of projects not able to be implemented are deferred to a
future point in time.
If you think about projects only in terms of cost, schedule, and
resources, then you need to change your focus. You need to realize
that projects provide business benets in terms of customer value,
improved revenue, reduced cost, and shareholder wealth. Once you do
this, your perspective on the importance of project success will change
benecially. Now, let us get back to some basic issues that aect suc-
cessful project delivery.
A Gartner survey in 2012 cited that large IT projects “are more
likely to fail than small projects…due to functionality issues and sub-
stantial delays.” Projects with budgets greater than $350,000 exceeded
budgets 25% of the time. e failure rate of projects greater than
one million dollars was almost 50% higher than projects with budgets

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