Project Management Governance and PRINCE2
The PRINCE2 project management framework describes the activities which are required by each member of the project management team, including governance activities. As such, governance is central to PRINCE2. Deriving from the Greek word for a helmsman, governance refers to the overall use of institutions, systems, resources, and structures of authority to manage activity and achieve goals. This is, of course, precisely what happens on a PRINCE2 project.
An appendix to the PRINCE2 project management manual (Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2: 2009) indicates the areas of governance that PRINCE2 fulfils. For example, the PRINCE2 project management guidelines for creating and updating a Business Case ensures that this crucial document contains ‘relevant and realistic’ information with which decisions can be made about the project.
The relationship between the PRINCE2 project management guidelines and project management governance is perhaps best understood by considering how the systematization of the PRINCE2 project management methodology supports the consistent implementation of clearly defined and tested processes and activities, such as reporting, reviewing, creating management products, and communicating information about the project.
For example, one of the project management governance principles listed in the PRINCE2 project management manual, and adapted originally from Directing Change, a publication by the Association for Project Management, is the following: ‘Disciplined governance arrangements, supported by appropriate methods and controls, are applied throughout the project lifecycle.’
Even small projects benefit from more thorough and systematic organization of their management activities. The PRINCE2 project management framework provides a systematization that has been repeatedly refined through the ongoing contributions of hundreds of project managers and high profile organizations. This process of development ensures that the methods and controls produced are both rigorous and appropriate, and deliberately generic, suitable for a wide range of projects. This ensures that a project run strictly and consistently to PRINCE2 guidelines will fulfil the governance principle quoted above.
The consistency of the PRINCE2 project management guidelines supports the reliability of management activities and their results. For example, the PRINCE2 Product Descriptions and templates, and the PRINCE2 guidelines for when the management products should be updated, and by whom, means that crucial information is always in place, and that appropriate reports and produced and submitted to the people who require them.
The generic nature of the PRINCE2 project management framework means that the Project Manager and the Project Board still have to design the individual details of the project management activities. For example, the Quality and Risk Management Strategies are created during the initiation stage of the project. At the same time, this means that the framework can be consistently applied across a wide range of projects, ensuring that all meet an essential level of project management governance.