Achieving Successful Projects: Effective Governance

Duncan Ross Russell
The vision of the Association for Project Management (APM) is ‘A world in which all projects succeed with project management as a life skill for all’, but how do we ensure that our projects succeed? In this final article of the series reviewing the APM’s five key project success factors, I discuss effective governance.

Effective Governance

Effective governance sets and maintains the conditions for project success. Effective governance directly impacts all the other success factors as it sets the conditions within which these factors operate.

Goals and Objectives

Setting the project goals and objectives is a key governance function.  Effective governance will put both subjective and objective measures for each goal and objective in place.  This will enable the goals and objectives to be both suitably defined and properly understood.  Effective governance will also keep these measures under review throughout the project to ensure the conditions they set are conditions for success.

Commitment to Project Success

Effective governance will establish and maintain a commitment to project success through ensuring that the conditions the project is working in, the resources the project is given, and the measures by which the project is assessed, are all optimised for success and remain optimised for success throughout project delivery.

Project Planning and Review

Effective governance supports the process of project planning and review through endorsing the project plan by providing the resources and commitment to success the plan requires.  Effective governance will review the project plan in light of the project interfaces with business as usual and other projects, minimising any friction at these boundaries.

Competent Project Teams

Establishing the project team is a key governance function.  Effective governance will ensure the project has the competencies the project requires at the relevant stage in the project.  Effective governance will take interest in team relationships and will be prepared to adjust the governance environment to build a stronger team.


At its core, effective governance is about leadership, giving the project team the space to carry out the tasks they have been given, whilst also offering the advice, support and additional resources they may require to overcome obstacles. 

Effective governance removes the constraints that hold a team to work within a box and creates the conditions for innovation. 


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