Project Governance for Ottawa Web Project Manager - Ottawa SaaS Product Manager

Project Governance :
How to set up a workable management structure for a project

A significant issue in Project Management is project governance and oversight at a high level (conceptually), beginning as early as the initiation phase. A Steering Committee, comprised of key stakeholders such as the funders and important influencers, meeting regularly, can ensure that the project is realistic to begin with, and proceeds according to the documented plan. When outside influences necessitate change, a Steering Committee can ensure that project goals are adhered to nevertheless.

Why a Project Governance Model?

It is critical to the success of every business project that stakeholders have available to them a framework explaining the responsibilities and reporting lines of all the key players. For example, we know that there is often a Steering Committee for large projects and that every project has a Project Manager, but what distinguishes their respective roles and how are the two linked? All questions of this type are answered within the Project Governance Model (PGM). You must set up a PGM specifically for each project. Here we discuss some of the foundation concepts and general principles.

One of the nicest introductions to this topic, delightfully entitled Rowing not Steering, was published by the Information Strategy Unit - until recently, a policy group within the Tasmanian State Government. That pamphlet contains a number of invaluable messages - the central theme being that project Steering Committees are not some kind of extension to the project team.

If your Steering Committee starts rowing ... then who is going to steer?

The foundations of the PGM

Lying at the heart of the Project Governance Model is the simple notion that every project involves the production of some defined outputs. A new business process or the relocation of an office are both examples of outputs. All outputs must have have a supplier and a customer. The supplier is the Project Manager and the customer is either a nominated individual or collective entity (such as a business unit). The customer is also the Owner of project outputs.

The two central elements of the PGM are the Project Manager and the Steering Committee (SC). The project Owner is always a member of the SC and, depending on the size of the exercise, will be joined by other key stakeholders such as the funders and important influencers. One of the most important issues that project stakeholders must resolve early in the life of a project concerns an appropriate size for the Steering Committee:

  • If too big, it will be become a burden.
  • If too small, it may not be able to add value.

Politics must be managed - not wished away

Project teams often complain about the "politics" surrounding their work. Project politics is not some sort of disease that needs to be cured before we can proceed. Politics is an important feature of the project environment that must be properly managed like all other key issues. Ensuring that key influencers are represented on the SC is one (proper) mechanism for dealing with project politics.

The role of the Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is there to ensure that the objectives - especially the target beneficial outcomes - will be achieved. The SC must develop as a supportive forum for the project - if it sees itself (and is seen by others) as a forum for charging, trying, convicting and sentencing the Project Manager for misdemeanours, it will fail. it will also fail if the members use SC meetings for bickering and point-scoring.

The SC is concerned with:

  • Project progress.
  • Meeting budgets and timeframes - or extending these as circumstances demand.
  • Clearing organisational roadblocks for the Project Team - for example resolving contention for resources.
The SC (through the Owner) will eventually be held accountable by the organisation for generating target benefits - outcomes are not the responsibility of the Project Manager - however he/she is accountable for delivery of outputs that are fit-for-purpose.

Notionally, the SC is the banker for the project, while the project manager is responsible for procurement and expenditure. The SC pays the Project Manager (in advance) for project outputs.

SCs must meet monthly to monitor progress. The major monitoring mechanism takes the form of a "standardised" reporting package presented by the Project Manager based on:

  • A status report based on the achievement of milestones.
  • Summary of critical risks.
  • Summary of key issues.
  • Statement of position on the budget and timeframe.

A generic PGM - in schematic form

Ottawa Web Project Manager governance plan

The above diagram shows the SC and Project Manager. The Project Manager has full control of all project team members and resources. For part-time team members this brings a matrix management issue into the discussion.

"Reference groups & advisers" are all those who provide ad hoc expertise and input, but who are not managed as a project resource. Both the SC and Project Manager may make use of such skills - depending on the peculiarities of the project.

Quality-related roles in the PGM

The Quality Adviser (QA) is a critical role. Often members of the SC are not technically qualified to specify or to make judgements about fitness-for-purpose of outputs. In that case a Quality Adviser may be appointed to confirm that outputs are fit-for-purpose and that their delivery can be signed-off. The Quality adviser may, in turn, engage others for specialist quality tasks.

The QA reports to the SC, not to the Project Manager, and is given considerable authority in exercising his/her role. The QA is not the same as the Quality Manager (QM). The QM is a member of the Project team and is accountable for the execution of the project's Quality Management Program. The QA, QM and owner jointly establish the project's quality framework.

A PGM is a mandatory element of every business project

A PGM should be established in the Preparation or Initiation Phase of each project. The size of the exercise will decide how detailed and extensive a model is required.
John R. Smyrk


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Ottawa Project Manager PMP

A project manager defines the job, plans the work to be done, and controls the work according to plan. A project manager takes responsibility for planning and managing to deliver success on a web project. A project plan is a document that includes the starting point, the process for achieving the goal, and anything else that will help the internet project be successful. There are several things that need to be managed by a project manager in a web project:
The scope of the project, the timeline for when it will be completed, including deciding when work will start, who comes at what times and what job is done each day or hour, managing costs, how to manage human resources, implementing a plan for communication, including who needs to know what information, and how to keep track of it all. An internet project manager must also come up with contingency plans in case something comes up unexpectedly, as well as project manage the procurement process, which entails figuring out what needs to be purchased, how to handle contracts and invoices.

saas resources

Fusebill Fusebill automates recurring billing for subscription based companies, and uses the data to generate customer insights. Stripe Stripe provides a payments infrastructure for the internet. Whether you're building a marketplace, mobile app, online storefront, or subscription service, Stripe has the features you need. Shrink The Web Shrink The Web provides a highly configurable, on demand webpage screen shot service. MaxMind MaxMind provides Geo IP location intelligence for content personalization, ad targeting, traffic analysis and digital rights management. Brightcove Brightcove provides the leading online video platform for publishing and distributing video across PCs, smartphones, tablets and connected TVs. Adspeed AdSpeed is an independent ad server and ad manager. You create advertiser's ads with targeting criteria. We handle ad serving, ad tracking and real-time reporting on ad impressions, clicks, revenue, and conversions. Localeze Localeze provides definitive business location data with tools to analyze, connect, clean, and map listings for distributors to use in building relevant sites and applications. Basecamp Basecamp is the leading web-based project management & collaboration tool. It offers to-do lists, wiki-style text documents, milestone management, file sharing, time tracking, & a messaging system. Highrise Highrise CRM helps you manage your contacts, keep track of who said what when, schedule follow-ups, set reminders, and convert leads into done deals. Jira Jira enables development and IT teams to capture issues, plan work, and resolve requests. Spend less time managing work and more time building great software.


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