The Goldilocks Theory of Governance: Making Our Own Porridge

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at

Earlier this month, we presented the Goldilocks Theory of Governance. The first article primarily introduced what too much and too little governance looks like. We explored examples and archetypes that reflect instances where project teams suffer from excess sponsorship participation, and where they suffer overwhelming neglect. As well, we examined the idea of what “just right” looks like, but left many with the feeling that, “Yes! I want that! But how do I actually go about getting it?!?”

In this article, we’re going to begin to investigate how to get there. While good governance rarely happens naturally, it does and can happen. But rather than waiting for the right bowl of porridge to appear before us (because that really does only happen in fairy tales), we need to make the porridge we want. As with any good meal, it helps if we start with a recipe.

The first thing to recognize is that while we’ve defined what we want from our recipe (good, more effective, attentive or less intrusive governance) it helps to be able to specifically define what we are actually looking for. If we have a clear picture of what good governance looks like, then not only will we recognize it when we see it, but we can actually start to seek it out and actively negotiate securing the support that we need.

A recipe for good governance starts with …

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