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Project Governance - Frameworks for the Governance of Projects

On this page you will find information on project governance frameworks and their relevant project management methodologies, books, tools and qualifications.

The differences between project governance and project management, which are frequently confused, are also pointed out.

Methodologies covered on this page include: PRINCE2®, PMBOK®, Agile, MSP®, PMO and MoV™.


What is on this page?

An Introduction to Project Governance

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

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

While successful ICT project delivery will improve your competitive positioning, a failed project can place an organisation at a strategic disadvantage to its competitors.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 an expensive and embarrassing failure. 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.

'Unless the project only affects the IT department (because, for instance, it only involves, impacts or benefits the IT unit in the organisation), it will actually be a "business" project. A business project is one that has value to the business as a whole, a project that the business should be investing in, and to which it should be allocating resources. A business project is one that should be supported throughout the organisation, one that is worthy of executive leadership, and of its detailed, enterprise-wide communications plan.'
(IT Governance Today: a Practitioner's Handbook - chapter 6 deals extensively with project governance and project management methodologies.)

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.

Project Management Methodologies

A project management methodology (and there is a range of them) 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 Program Evaluation and Review Technique ('PERT') are all traditional project management tools, described in some detail in Chapter 6 of IT Governance Today: a Practitioner's Handbook.


In the United Kingdom, Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) and PRINCE2 are the most widely known and best-established project and programme management approaches, owned by the Cabinet Office and 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 Guide has been available for over 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 R & D activity 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 and relies on a dramatically enhanced level of communication and pragmatic collaboration between business users and software developers throughout the development process, rather than on a prescriptive definition of the finished product. They instead favour on a method called 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 and 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 (supported by a set of Manifesto for Agile Software Development to provide a common framework.

Management of Value - MoV

Management of Value (MoV) is a value management methodology from the Cabinet Office. It provides guidance on how to maximise the best 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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