Project governance helps make sure that a project is executed according to the standards of the organization performing the project. Governance keeps all project activities above board and ethical, and also creates accountability.
A project governance structure will also help define a project reporting system. It outlines specific roles and responsibilities for everyone involved in the project. Project managers can leverage a governance structure in their projects to help with setting project priorities.
By understanding how governance fits into the larger organization, a project manager can choose which objectives to pursue. Or, he or she can gain support to change objectives that don't align with the overall organizational goal. By monitoring governance, the project manager helps ensure his or her project will stay in tune with organizational expectations and remains a good investment as it continues in its lifecycle.
A project manager can also use the steering committees that are part of most governance structures to resolve conflicts. Because steering committee members don't work on the project on a daily basis, the can serve as fresh eyes to see what's causing the conflict and offer an outside voice of reason. They can also offer solutions on how to resolve the conflict and adhere to the standards -- while still sticking to the overall goals of the organization.
What do you think? How do you leverage governance structures?