Program governance is a crucial factor while managing a program since it forms the backbone of all activities within the project. Thus, selecting an appropriate governance model structure including policies, procedures, and standards is an essential aspect in securing the success of your program. More importantly, such a selection must be in line with the organization’s governance structure to ensure seamless program delivery.

Table of Contents

Understanding the Governance Model

The governance model is a strategic guide that outlines the way decisions should be made within an organisation. It brings together various elements like policies, procedures, and standards, in a structure setting, by outlining key elements such as:

  • Who makes decisions?
  • What processes are followed in the decision-making?
  • How are the decisions communicated and implemented?

Policies, Procedures, and Standards

Here is a distinction of the three components of the governance model:

  • Policies: These are the guiding principles intended to influence decisions and actions within an organisation. They offer a set of rules that guide the decision-making process.
  • Procedures: This is the ‘how’ of the process. They outline the steps that ought to be followed to achieve a certain objective.
  • Standards: These are set measures that need to be achieved within the process of delivering the program.

Program Governance and Organisational Governance

The program’s governance model should be in conformity with the organization’s overarching governance structure. This leads to the alignment of program practices with strategic objectives. The integration ensures a clear understanding of responsibilities, improves communication, and creates efficient decision-making processes.

To elaborate this linkage, let’s take an example of a program in a construction company that’s following a hierarchical governance model.

In this scenario, the policies set by the organization could include safety measures, environmental responsibility, and quality control. The procedures would outline specific steps on how the operations would be carried out, from the foundation laying process to the finishing stage.

The standards, on the other hand, could involve well-defined measures of the quality of materials, and specific timelines for the completion of each aspect of the construction process.

However, while defining these aspects in the program governance model, adherence to the company’s hierarchical governance structure would be crucial. This could mean that approvals for any changes in the procedures come from different levels of management, following a clear chain of command.

Selecting the Right Model

An organization needs to select a governance model that mirrors its culture, business model, size, risk tolerance, among other factors. A well-chosen governance model for a program results in a smooth program run, minimizes risk, and brings program alignment with organizational goals. It can also strengthen stakeholder trust, and provide a clearer decision-making framework improving the program performance.

The choice of a program governance model may fall under three broad categories:

  1. Centralized governance model: This type of model is used in an environment with strong top-down control. The central management team makes most decisions.
  2. Decentralized governance model: This model involves more distributed decision-making and empowers local or divisional stakeholders with decision-making responsibilities.
  3. Matrix governance model: This model combines both centralized and decentralized features, providing a balance in decision making, sharing the decision-making responsibility across different stakeholders.

As a potential PgMP aspirant, understanding how to align the program practices with the governance structure of the organization would prove to be a significant game-changer. Remember, integrating program governance and organizational governance fosters cohesion, minimizes conflicts and increases efficiency in the entire system, maximizing program success.

In conclusion, tailoring the program governance in agreement with the organization’s governance not only ensures a smoother implementation of the program but also streamlines the conformance to strategic objectives, enhancing productivity and transparency.

Practice Test

True or False: In program management, governance refers to the rules, practices, and processes by which a program is directed and controlled.

  • True

Answer: True

Explanation: Governance in program management provides a framework for the functioning of the control mechanism and oversight body of the program.

Which of the following is NOT a component of a governance model in program management?

  • A) Policies
  • B) Procedures
  • C) Standards
  • D) Cost

Answer: D) Cost

Explanation: A governance model structure includes important components such as policies, procedures, and standards, but not direct costs.

Single Select Question: A program governance model structure should be aligned with:

  • A) The program manager’s personal preferences
  • B) The organization’s governance structure
  • C) The program’s budgetary constraints
  • D) The technical specifications of the program

Answer: B) The organization’s governance structure

Explanation: It is crucial for the program governance model to conform with the organization’s overall governance, to ensure consistency, compliance, and smooth operations.

Multiple Select Question: The governance model can significantly impact which of the following aspects of the program?

  • A) Structure
  • B) Outline
  • C) Delivery
  • D) Vision

Answer: A) Structure, C) Delivery

Explanation: The governance model, including policies, procedures, and standards influence the structure and delivery of the program.

True or False: Policies are a key component of effectively delivering a project.

  • False

Answer: False

Explanation: Policies are a key component of effectively delivering a program, not just a project. They define what is to be done, who is responsible, and how it is to be achieved.

Single Select Question: What is the main purpose of procedures in program management?

  • A) To outline the objective of the program
  • B) To motto for the program team
  • C) To specify the sequence of steps or activities that must be performed
  • D) To generate project budget

Answer: C) To specify the sequence of steps or activities that must be performed

Explanation: Procedures specify the sequence of activities required to achieve objectives and conform to standards.

True or False: Standards in program management refers to the qualitative and quantitative measures that need to be complied with.

  • True

Answer: True

Explanation: Standards set the level of quality or attainment in the program and form a basis for comparison or compliance.

Single Select Question: Organizational governance structures usually aim at:

  • A) Greater transparency
  • B) Higher costs
  • C) Less efficiency
  • D) Reducing accountability

Answer: A) Greater transparency

Explanation: Organizational governance increases transparency, setting clear roles, responsibilities, and decision-making processes.

True or False: In program management, governance can be viewed as restrictive and limiting innovation.

  • False

Answer: False

Explanation: While governance includes rules and practices, it doesn’t limit innovation but rather provides a framework within which innovation can be managed and controlled.

Multiple Select Question: The effectiveness of a governance model in program management can be measured by?

  • A) The number of procedures
  • B) Compliance with the model
  • C) The individual skills of project managers
  • D) The ratio of failed projects

Answer: B) Compliance with the model, D) The ratio of failed projects

Explanation: Compliance with the governance model and the ratio of failed to successful projects are some indicators of an effective governance model.

Interview Questions

What is a governance model in program management?

A governance model is a framework that outlines the structure and operation of a program. It includes policies, procedures, and standards that guide program practices and align them with the organization’s overall governance structure.

What is the primary purpose of selecting a governance model?

The primary purpose of selecting a governance model is to ensure that program practices are aligned with the organization’s governance structure, and program deliverables meet the strategic objectives of the organization.

How are policies, procedures, and standards different in a governance model?

In a governance model, policies are broad guidelines that reflect the program’s goals. Procedures are detailed steps to implement these policies, while standards are specific benchmarks to measure and maintain quality.

How does a governance model impact the performance of a program?

A well-structured governance model enhances program performance by providing clear expectations, facilitating decision-making, managing risks effectively, and ensuring alignment with organizational strategy.

Why is it important for a program to conform to the organization’s governance structure?

Conforming to the organization’s governance structure ensures consistency of practices, reduces risks, enhances accountability, and fosters alignment with the strategic goals of the organization.

What are the main components of the program’s governance structure?

The main components of a program’s governance structure include its policies, procedures, standards, oversight bodies, decision-making frameworks, and reporting mechanisms.

How can an organization ensure that a program’s governance model aligns with its overall governance structure?

Organizations can ensure alignment by regularly reviewing and updating the governance model, promoting adherence to the model, and aligning the program’s goals with those of the organization.

What is the role of program manager in ensuring program conforms to organization’s governance structure?

The program manager plays a crucial role in implementing the policies, procedures, and standards outlined in the governance model. They ensure compliance, report progress and performance metrics, and address any deviations from the plan.

How should changes to the governance structure be managed in a program?

Changes should be managed through a structured change management process that includes evaluation of the change, approval, communication, and documentation.

How does governance model contribute to risk management in program management?

A governance model provides a structured approach to identify, assess, and manage risks. It ensures that the risk management practices are aligned with the program’s objectives and the organization’s risk tolerance level.

What role does a governance structure play in decision-making processes within a program?

A governance structure outlines the decision-making processes and authority within a program, ensures that decisions are made consistently and transparently, and aligns them with the strategic goals of the organization.

How does governance structure contribute to stakeholder engagement in a program?

The governance structure outlines how stakeholders are identified, engaged, and communicated with, ensuring that their needs and expectations are managed appropriately throughout the program.

What is the role of the oversight body in a program’s governance structure?

The oversight body, such as a steering committee, ensures that the program is implemented as per the governance model, sets strategic direction, resolves high-level issues, and provides requisite resources.

How does the governance model contribute towards successful program delivery?

By providing consistency and clarity in policies, procedures, and standards, a governance model facilitates efficient decision making, effective risk management, and alignment with organizational strategy, thereby contributing towards successful program delivery.

What is the importance of monitoring and controlling in a governance model?

Monitoring and controlling enables the program manager to assess the program’s performance against the plan, identify deviations, and take corrective actions, ensuring the program stays aligned with the governance model.

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