Project Governance: Overcoming Obstacles

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

One of the primary roles of the Project/Program Management Office is to provide a framework for ensuring the proper governance over projects. This goes beyond just ensuring that proper project protocols and practices are adhered to. The governance process begins with the vetting of projects; continues through their prioritization and deployment; and ends with assessing the effectiveness of each project once completed. Sounds simple enough, but there are obstacles and challenges that many PMOs need to overcome to get governance right.

One of the easier to understand models of PMO governance can be found at Diane Meiller and Associates’ website as presented below:














This model breaks down the PMO governance function into three simple layers:

  1. Investment & Prioritization Decisions
  2. Program & Project Dependencies
  3. Consistent, Repeatable Delivery

Most of the PMO governance functions can be covered within this framework. provides an expanded list of PMO governance functions in context to the following definition:

“The Program Management Office provides a set of tools, technologies, and standards that enables the synchronization and governance of multiple related …

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