PgMP-Program Governance Design and Implementation

The design of program governance can have a significant influence on the success of the program. In extreme cases, inappropriate governance may create more problems than its absence as it can engender a false sense of alignment, progress, and success. There are many factors to consider when designing the program governance rules and framework. Common factors to consider when optimizing and tailoring program governance include:

  • Legislative environment. Programs that are significantly influenced by changing legislation may benefit from governance designed for direct interaction with the legislative authorities. In other cases, the interaction is performed by elements of corporate governance on behalf of the program.
  • Decision-making hierarchy. It is critical for decision-making responsibility to be at the level where competence, accountability, and authority reside. There are complexities to this approach. For example, in organizations where employees are not ultimately accountable for their actions or not made to feel accountable for their actions, there is a greater need for controlling practices. In other circumstances, a highly regarded, successful, and experienced program manager and team may be given greater autonomy and decision-making powers than is typically given to program managers.
  • Optimized governance. Generally it makes sense for the size of the program governance to be optimized and to be as streamlined as possible, while still able to perform the practices of the domain. This will lead to role clarity, effective and targeted support from the organization, and ultimately more rapid and effective decision making, endorsements, and approvals. Program governance should not duplicate program management activity.
  • Alignment with portfolio and organizational governance. Program governance is impacted by the portfolio governance that it supports. The degree to which program governance should align with organizational governance is based on the number, type, and relative importance of the program governance's interactions with corporate groups and governance. Typically, the need for alignment with organizational governance is greatest in the program definition stage as the program governance and the program itself are being formulated.
  • Program delivery. A program that regularly delivers benefits to the organization is likely to require different governance than a program delivering all or most of the benefits at the end. Regular delivery of benefits potentially requires constant change in the operations of the organization and the governance to manage this change is critical throughout the life cycle. 
  • Contracting. A program being managed and staffed by employees of the receiving organization is likely to require a different level of governance than a program being delivered by an external party when, in such cases, the management of the legal agreement requires a different governance focus.
  • Risk of failure. The greater the perceived risk of program failure, the greater the likelihood the governance team will monitor progress and success more diligently. This may manifest in a higher frequency of health checks and less decision-making delegation to the program team.
  • Strategic importance. High-value programs critical to the success of the organization and delivering benefits that need to be completely aligned with the strategy may require different or more senior participants on the  governance team.
  • the World Bank, there are likely implications on the design of the governance and the skills required.
  • uuProgram funding structure. When funding is secured from outside the delivery organization, for example from
  • specifically for a given program.
  • supports the governance of all programs for that organization. In other organizations, PMOs may be formed
  • uuProgram management office (PMO). In many project- or program-based organizations, a centralized PMO