Compliance is generally defined as conforming to a rule, policy, standard or law.
Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing, managing, leading, and controlling resources to achieve specific goals.
So, why should the two principles be married? Companies focused on compliance regulations and improving operational efficiency continue to implement project controls.
Project Compliance/Governance can be seen as the method by which a company can ensure that projects executed are aligned to overall strategic objectives.
The project governance structures within a company may or may not be based on the project management methodology.
In an IT company the execution phase of the project management methodology normally consists of a system/product development life cycle.
In an engineering company, the execution phase may include adherence to engineering standards and procedures.
Whichever project management methodology is used, the project governance structure generally consists of standards, processes and procedures that need to be followed.
Having a governance framework in place will also ensure that all stakeholders understand exactly what their roles and responsibilities are.
The governance structure is all good and well, but controls need to be set in place to facilitate smooth project implementation and execution.
Examples of these controls may include budget/cost control, management of scope, time management and deliverable review and approval.
A good step to incorporate into the governance of the project is regular reviews of the Lessons Learnt. This will promote improved execution of future projects.
The focus of project governance/compliance should be that of transparency and accountability.
If not, Operational Efficiency may not be achieved at the required level.
No governance means that the company has no systems/controls in place to sustain effective project management processes.
Having said all of the above, if all project resources are oblivious to the existence of the governance methodology/framework and do not know what their roles, responsibilities and most importantly their limitations are, it only takes one "cowboy' or "rookie' to bring an entire project to its knees very quickly due to non-compliance.
How can systems be used to assist with the above? A project and portfolio management tool can be set in place for project governance.
The company?s strategic drivers and constraints can be loaded in the system and mapped to every single initiative to ensure optimal use of the company?s capital during portfolio selection.
Constraints may include resource availability, time restrictions, financial limitations or any other compliance constraints in the specific industry.
Some petrochemical organizations even prioritize their projects based on predicted CO2 emissions. Even though different types of projects may be executed, the project management tool will enforce good governance throughout the project lifecycle.
On a small project some of the steps might not be necessary.
On one large project the Project Manager and Team Lead might be overseen by the PMO, whilst on a regulatory project, the Project Manager and Team Lead may need to report to the executive team or to the board itself. The point is that the project scope, size and level of risk will determine how tight the project governance needs to be.