Project governance has lately been given considerable attention among scholars and practitioners discussing various theories, their limitations in respect to one another, and their interchangeability.
The term governance was derived from the Latin word “gubernare” which means to steer highlighting the dynamic mechanism in front of an everchanging environment. However, project governance is defined differently across industries and enterprises. For instance, Project governance can be perceived externally, that is giving a more institutional perspective through a set of standards that project based firms follow, or internally, depicting the interaction of project teams and organisations working in such project.
By way of an example of external governance, the Association of Project Management (APM) states that “Governance refers to the set of policies, regulations, functions, processes, procedures and responsibilities that define the establishment, management and control of projects, programmes and portfolios”. As such, the view focuses on standards or rules for the project to comply and be monitored i.e. Identifying roles and responsibilities, reporting, quality and assurance, communication to name a few.
Moving towards an internal view of project governance, the focus here is on governing the project itself, hence a focus on temporary organisation. This view is much used and akin to large complex projects where an established project-specific framework is needed in order to meet clients’ objectives and goals. In doing so, the shift highlights the synchronization of activities across multiple organisations involved in the project while adopting a control mechanism on agency issues emerging from these interactions.
Further, the main issues that project governance incorporates are governance frameworks, roles and responsibilities, stakeholder engagement and communication, meetings, reporting, risk and issue management, assurance and project management control processes. Whether one is adopting an external approach to governance or an internal one, there is a need to set out the attributes for good practices in such field. Therefore, the project manager or project director needs to address roles and responsibilities beforehand so that project team knows their clear positions and points of contacts. Similarly, communication channels should be clearly visible to project team so that they engage with the stakeholders. Additionally, in addressing controls in projects the project manager should be aware of the risks and issues involved in the project and address them accordingly at the front-end stage. With this comes the issue of control processes which is essential in governance so to be able to manage the team effectively and limit any inefficiencies.
Counterpart provides a solution to project governance challenges as it tackles the aforementioned attributes of governance.
First, it sets out a governance framework through both lenses (external and internal). As such, there is a portfolio and program management approach to projects overseeing the overall initiatives of the organization (external) or project management stage gate processes (internal) tackling the project itself.
In both, the project manager can assign and allocate resources respectively to their roles and structure the hierarchy of the organization according to its functions and units.
Second, it allows the project manager to bring in the stakeholders and engage them with an all-encompassing system, which ease the communication with project stakeholders.
Third, in terms of risk and issue management, Counterpart allows you to add and manage risks dynamically across the project lifecycle. The process involves the allocation and mitigation of risks and issues throughout the project. This allows project managers and directors to monitor the responsibilities of not only tasks but also the risks assigned to the relevant team member. Which again seamlessly feed into the allocation of responsibilities and accountabilities.
Lastly, all this can be fed to the senior management through a reporting system that has the ability to extrapolate different reports at different time in the project lifecycle including budget, risk, issue, status, and timesheets to name a few.