Governance is a "top-down" process. Most of the risks and rewards associated with a project or program are determined long before the project manager is appointed.
Effective project management delivers a realistic and achievable outcome efficiently. If the parameters for the project are unrealistic in the first place, the best project management can do is stop the situation from deteriorating further. Failure is guaranteed.
Wishful thinking is not an effective substitute for effective project governance. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) does not have a miracle process that will magically transform an impossible set of objectives into an achievable set of objectives.
The organization's executives need to balance risks, rewards and capabilities to set realistic objectives and then use effective governance systems to oversee the delivery.
The only way to achieve meaningful change is by communicating to affect a change in the understanding of stakeholders. When senior executives require effective project governance, we can better assist them in establishing effective and robust systems.
If you're lucky enough to work in an organization with effective project governance, broadcast the benefits. If you work in an organization that could improve its governance, use your skills to advise upwards. If your organization is on the road toward effective governance, keep helping it along.
If we are successful in making effective project governance the normal way organizations operate, the rate of project success will increase, as will the standing of our profession.
What can you do to help create the climate for better governance?