Project Governance and project management

Organisations use a number of project management frameworks to ensure that their IT and technology projects deliver planned outcomes, to time, to specification and to budget.

There are a number of different frameworks and methodologies that you can use, but the most widely used and recognised is PRINCE2.

An introduction to project governance

Project governance, of which programme and project management are the key subsidiary disciplines, is critical to business competitiveness.

Project governance is important because IT-supported project management and execution are fundamental to the survival of an organisation in the modern information economy, which is characterised by information, knowledge, networking and connectivity.

While successful ICT project delivery will improve an organisation’s competitive positioning, a failed project can place an organisation at a strategic disadvantage. This makes IT project governance one of the board’s most important responsibilities.

Effective project governance is about ensuring that complex IT projects deliver the value expected of them, rather than being expensive and embarrassing failures. An appropriate governance framework helps save money by ensuring that all expenditure is appropriate for the risks being tackled. It also enables business analysts to better understand and compare the way in which public companies manage their technology investments.

Project governance and project management

Project governance should not be confused with project management. Project governance deals with the strategic management and governance of a portfolio of projects to deliver business value.

Project management, on the other hand, manages projects on a day-to-day basis, making any decisions that have to be made based on the scope they have been given by the project board.

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Project management methodologies

A project management methodology is a set of inter-related phases, activities and tasks that define a project process from its commencement through to its completion.

Project management methodologies are usually supported by accredited examination certificates, such as the ISEB Foundation Certificate in IS Project Management.

  • GANTT charts (often using MS Project), critical path method (CPM) and programme evaluation and review technique (PERT) are all traditional project management tools.
  • PRINCE2 and MSP

In the United Kingdom, Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) and PRINCE2 are the most widely known and best-established project and programme management approaches, and are supported by a range of accredited qualifications.

Project Management Institute

The PMI is well established in North America and throughout the rest of the world. Its Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) has been available for more than 20 years, and is supported by a membership scheme as well as an extensive qualification scheme.


Many organisations set up a project management office (PMO) to coordinate their multiple projects. A PMO methodology might be applied in environments that have multiple release and deployment activities or a portfolio of projects and assets that need to be effectively managed through their lifecycles.

Agile project management

The Association of Project Management (APM) massively
de-emphasises the sort of project management methods described above. It instead favours a dramatically enhanced level of communication and pragmatic collaboration between business users and software developers throughout the development process, rather than a prescriptive definition of the finished product. APM favours Agile.

There are a number of different Agile methodologies. The originators and practitioners of many of these Agile methodologies had a workshop in 2001 to try to identify what they had in common. They picked the word ‘agile’ as an umbrella term for what they were doing and crafted the Manifesto for Agile Software Development to provide a common framework.

Management of Value - MoV

Management of Value (MoV) is a value management methodology originally from the Cabinet Office. It provides guidance on how to maximise financial and non-financial benefits from projects, portfolios and programmes.

Within portfolios, MoV matches the organisation’s strategic goals with those of the programmes. These programmes in turn deliver these goals through the underlying projects. The core guidance that forms the foundation of the MoV methodology can be found in the MoV manual Management of Value.


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