The OPG model

Organizational Project Governance includes the how to govern all initiatives, projects and program in an organization. For the organization to succeed with itis initiatives, projects and programs there is a need for a coherent and standardized control process, including models, methods, policies and governing principles.

The organization must also have necessary and sufficient prerequisites in place. Strategic alignment, how to ensure the right and sufficient competencies, and how to manage resources are some of these pre-requisites.

Organizational Project Governance concerns the governing of all initiatives, projects and programs in an organization. For the organization’s initiatives, projects and programs to succeed, there is a need for a coherent and standardized control process, incorporating models, methods, policies and governing principles.

There are also certain prerequisites that an organization must have in place. Amongst these are strategic alignment, methods to ensure that the appropriate and sufficient competencies are present, and an understanding of how to manage resources.

Organizational Project Governance is a term often used interchangeably with Enterprise Project Management (EPM).

Our interpretation of the term is somewhat larger than what is usually meant by EPM. In our context OPG is primarily focused on:

  • Governing initiatives in any kind of organization, not just in enterprises. The term govern is used in a way that means to manage, to steer, and to control not just the individual initiatives, but the total portfolio all the way down to the actual processes. This includes continuous improvements of all the processes needed to govern the initiatives.
  • Ensuring that governing is performed in such a way that the organization will focus on the initiatives most valuable to the organization, that the realization of the initiatives will be achieved in an efficient way, and that the organization will actually realize the benefits outlined in the business case.

The governance process must exist on several levels that must be able to interact:

  1. The strategic level, where the executives chose the right initiatives, aligned to the strategies and goals
  2. The tactical level, where the sponsor governs the project and/or the program to achieve the objectives
  3. The operational level, where the project and/or program manager steers the initiative to deliver the intended results and benefits
  4. The business level, where the benefits are realized by the organization.

Another way to look at the structure is the picture above:

The executive level (typically CEO-level) establishes a Policy for Project Management. This document (one page) points to the relevant Guiding Principles, which will be more specific about how the policy will work. This document will establish the governance principles, the roles, and the models the organization has established for handling the project portfolio, individual programs and projects.

The following factors are crucial for a successful governance process:

  • The process must be adapted to the organization, its size and its needs.
  • The executive management must be involved and engaged in the process, must be able to chose and prioritize the right initiatives, and must ensure that the policy and guiding principles are followed.
  • The process must be measurable, controllable, and open to continuous improvement.
  • The process must be communicated to all stakeholders
  • The necessary competencies must be established and continuously developed for all roles.
  • Clear mandates to facilitate cooperation between the portfolio, program and project processes must be established for all roles.

The models available from OPGport are integrated and are based on standards from the Project Management Institute (PMI).