Organisational Governance and Financial Management Success Factors

Organisational Governance Success Factors

Success Factor 4.1

Check continuing alignment with strategic objectives

To meet Organisational Governance Success Factor 4.1 the project will:

  • Clearly understand to which strategic objectives it contributes.
  • Understand what is required by its central governance body to monitor progress towards meeting strategic objectives.
  • Be notified of strategic change impacting the project via the organisational governance control structure to the Project Manager.

Ensuring that objectives remain aligned with the organisational strategy will ensure that the organisational goals are met. Understanding how and why project objectives contribute to the strategic objectives of the organisation enables informed decisions to be made within the project.

It may also be of benefit to understand how an individual project aligns with associated projects contributing to similar/related strategic objectives in terms of resource sharing, awareness of interdependencies, delivery synchronicity etc.

Success Factor 4.2

Operate within agreed boundaries and constraints

To meet Organisational Governance Success Factor 4.2 the project will:

  • Have a clear understanding of the organisational governance framework within which it operates.
  • Understand the extent of its accountability, authority and autonomy.
  • Be aware of the legislative and regulatory requirements with which it must comply.
  • Have agreed tolerance levels with its governing hierarchy detailing the freedoms within which the project is authorised to operate.
  • Have clearly defined reporting and communication lines.

It is important for the project to know to whom it is accountable and the management reporting hierarchy to which it should refer/report so that decisions can be taken without delay and within authorised delegation during the project lifecycle. The project must also ensure that it is compliant with organisational, legislative and regulatory requirements and where advice, guidance or authorisation is required; a clearly defined management reporting or escalation hierarchy has been agreed and recorded.

Success Factor 4.3

Operate within agreed roles, responsibilities, authorities and accountabilities

To meet Organisational Governance Success Factor 4.3 the project will:

  • Have a designated Project manager with a defined level of authority.
  • Have an accessible Project board / steering group with agreed responsibility, authority and accountability.
  • Recognise additional key roles and responsibilities within the project and document and communicate their responsibilities, authority and accountabilities via ‘Terms of Reference’.

Clearly defined roles, responsibilities, authorities and accountabilities from the outset of the project will ensure clarity, prevent duplication and identify areas where roles need to work closely together to maximise productivity and synergy. It is vitally important that the governance structure and roles are clearly identified and accessible to aid authorisation, delegation and control.

Additional key roles will vary depending upon the type of project and the environment in which it operates.

Success Factor 4.4

Obtain approval to proceed at key decision points

To meet Organisational Governance Success Factor 4.4 the project will:

  • Have an agreed sponsor (or sponsoring group).
  • Obtain authority and agreement for initiation.
  • Have an appropriate, defined lifecycle with stages and authorisation points.
  • Have an agreed process for obtaining authority and agreement to proceed at each of the management stages / decision points.

In order to obtain the required approval to proceed further, the project must make a balanced judgement of threats / risk, benefit, projected cost, time and performance. To do so, the project must gather and objectively assess this information to assess viability.

Approval to continue is then sought from the controlling governance hierarchy before the project moves to the next stage/phase within its lifecycle.

Success Factor 4.5

Obtain and provide confidence that the project will meet its objectives

To meet Organisational Governance Success Factor 4.5 the project will:

  • Produce projections on its ability to deliver its aims and objectives as reflected in the most recent formal approval document (business case, project initiation documentation).
  • Assess the ability to deliver its approved aims and objectives (in time, cost and quality terms) on its current trajectory.
  • Provide projections for assurance or review purposes including shortcomings which might threaten delivery to approved plan and how these may be overcome.

The project must monitor internally as well as provide information to its governance hierarchy on how likely it is to meet its aims and objectives (in time, cost and quality terms). To do this the project should produce projections to assess whether it remains on target.

Alignment of the project with the organisational assurance regime should enable independent assessment to take place. This assessment should also provide confidence that the strategic contribution of the project is aligned with organisational expectation.

Financial Management Success Factors

Success Factor 5.1

Obtain agreement on how the project will be funded

To meet Financial Management Success Factor 5.1 the project will:

  • Identify and agree with the budget holder from which budget stream the project will be funded.
  • Ensure that the funding profile for the project is agreed and secured with the budget holder and sponsoring group.
  • Record formal agreement of funding.

It is important for the project to have a firm commitment in terms of funding to enable planning for delivery to take place within budgetary and time restrictions. For the organisation, a realistic view of project estimates – including through life costs – will allow viability and value for money to be considered within the strategic context. Inclusion of risk/threat and change contingency funding in estimates may add some flexibility.

Success Factor 5.2

Control costs and expenditure effectively

To meet Financial Management Success Factor 5.2 the project will:

  • Maintain a record of costs and expenditure against the agreed funding profile and plan.
  • Maintain a record of committed expenditure.
  • Identify any changes to the agreed expenditure profile and seek formal authorisation in accordance with financial delegation.
  • Manage costs and expenditure within agreed boundaries.
  • Consider fairness of prices and value-for-money.
  • Continue to regularly monitor estimates and forecasts and provide alerts to the budget holder as required.

The project needs to maintain close control over what has been spent and committed in the course of its lifecycle so that it is fully aware of the remaining approved budget. Regular reporting of expenditure and commitments will be required to ensure that any anticipated excesses or savings can be monitored and action taken at the earliest opportunity.

Article series on “Project Management Success Factors”:

(c) This series of articles are subject to Crown Copyright.

Read full story »