PgMP - Program Governance

Program Governance is the performance domain that enables and performs program decision making, establishes practices to support the program, and maintains program oversight. It includes

Program Governance contains the framework, functions, and processes by which a program is monitored, managed, and supported in order to meet organizational strategic and operational goals. The focus of program governance is the delivery of program benefits by establishing the systems and methods by which a program and its strategy are defined, authorized, monitored, and supported by its sponsoring organization. A well designed program governance framework provides practices for effective decision making and ensures the program is managed appropriately. Program governance is performed through the actions of a review and decision-making group that is charged with endorsing or approving recommendations regarding a program under its authority. The program manager has management responsibilities to ensure that the program is run within the governance framework while managing the day-to-day program activities. The program manager should ensure that the program team understands and abides by the governance procedures and the underlying governance principles.

Program governance may also refer to the framework, functions, and processes by which a program team monitors and manages the components that are being performed to support the program. Governance of components is often achieved through the actions of the program manager and program team responsible for the integrated outcomes of the program. Such a responsibility may also be called component governance.

Program governance is impacted by organizational governance, which is a structured way to provide control, direction, and coordination through people, policies, and processes to meet organizational strategic and operational goals. Typically, portfolio governance is the hierarchical level of governance where program investments are authorized.

Effective program governance supports the success of a program by:

  • Ensuring that the goals of the program remain aligned with the strategic vision, operational capabilities, and resource commitments of the sponsoring organization. Compliance with the reporting and controlling processes required to support this alignment is enforced by the Program Governance domain;
  • Approving, endorsing, and initiating the program and securing funding from the sponsoring organization;
  • Establishing clear, well-understood agreements as to how the sponsoring organization will oversee the program, and conversely, the degree of autonomy that the program will be given in the pursuit of its goals;
  • Facilitating the engagement of program stakeholders by establishing clear expectations for each program's interactions with key governing stakeholders throughout the program;
  • Creating an environment for communicating and addressing program risks and uncertainties to the organization, as well as opportunities and issues that arise during the course of program performance;
  • Providing a framework that is aligned with portfolio and corporate governance policies and processes for assessing and ensuring the program is compliant. Each program may need to create a particular governance process or procedure, but it should be aligned with the organization's governance principles;
  • Designing and authorizing the assurance process and, when required, executing reviews and health checks of the program progress in delivering its expected benefits. Various review types are used, including phase-gate reviews, other decision point reviews, and periodic health checks;
  • Enabling the organization to assess the viability of the organization's strategic plan and the level of support required to achieve it;
  • Selecting, endorsing, and enabling the pursuit of program components, including projects, subsidiary programs,and other program activities; and
  • Making decisions to transition between phases, terminate, or close the program.

Effective program governance is especially important in environments that are highly complex or uncertain when it is necessary to respond rapidly to outcomes and information that become available during the course of the program. Program governance makes it possible to clarify the organization's vision, facilitate alignment of the program with organizational strategy, and enable the periodic balancing of program demands with current organizational capabilities. Governance participants are able to monitor and, as necessary, authorize or limit changes to the activities performed as part of a program. Governance decision forums focus on facilitating the adaptive realignment of the program's approach to enable the delivery of intended benefits.