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Delivery Excellence - Delivery (Project) Management and Governance Organization
April 15, 2010
   Content Revised on 05/24/2013 (-Som G)
A Project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.
Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements. Project Management is accomplished through the appropriate application and integration of the 42 logically grouped project management processes comprising of the 5 process groups.
- Project Management Definition, PMBOK 4
A Program is ... a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually.
Program Management... is the centralized coordinated management of a program to achieve the program's strategic objectives and benefits.
- Program and Program Management, PMBOK 4
A Portfolio refers to a collection of projects or programs and other work that are grouped together to facilitate effective management of that work to meet strategic business objectives.
Portfolio Management refers to the centralized management of one or more portfolios, which includes identifying, prioritizing, authorizing, managing and controlling projects, programs, and other related work, to achieve specific strategic business objectives.
- Portfolio and Portfolio Management, PMBOK 4
A Project Management Office (PMO) is an organizational body or entity assigned various responsibilities related to centralized and coordinated management of those projects under its domain. The responsibilities ... can range from providing project management support functions to actually being responsible for the direct management of a project.
- Project Management Office (PMO), PMBOK 4

  1. Project Management uses 47 processes instead of 42
  2. Slightly redefines Program as a collection of sub-programs, projects and other related work...
  3. Models the definition of Program Management on the lines of Project Management definition - is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques in order to meet program requirements...
  4. Adds sub-portfolios and operations to the collection of Portfolio
  5. Reorders the words used to define Portfolio management, but essentially says the same thing
bove mentioned are more or less universally accepted definitions (offered by PMI) of some key terms used in project and delivery management. While these are the definitions from PMBOK 4, they are not a whole lot different in PMBOK 5. While a PMO traditionally provided for some project-level governance, I would like to separate the two functions - the actual management of projects, programs, and portfolios, and their governance. I would also like to enhance the governance piece from regular project governance to Organizational Governance.
Project Governance provides a comprehensive and consistent method of controlling projects and ensuring success. Organizational Governance ensures the projects are in alignment with meeting the organizational strategic goals and objectives (prioritize projects, programs, and even portfolios at an enterprise level). A traditional PMO is expected to do some of this prioritization and strategic alignment. However, PMO is also charged with ensuring actual delivery of the projects to the customer, and at times has been known (at project, program or even portfolio manager levels) to cut corners on the Governance piece to ensure delivery. A Governance Office independent of the Project Office would not only define processes, methodologies, tools and best practices, but also ensure their proper and consistent implementation/ compliance across the delivery organization. If the PMO decides to deviate from a certain defined process, Governance would ensure that such a decision is conscious and well-documented. A strong, well-defined organizational structure consisting of both management and governance of projects will provide for independence and autonomy required for each of the two sides to function effectively.
Project Management and Governance Orginaztion Structure
Consider the organizational structure shown in the picture.
It outlines two distinct sub-organizations with distinct, but related functions of delivery. They are Project Management, and Project Governance, both rolling up into the Vice President of Governance and Delivery. Since one (Governance) enables, and the other (PMO) ensures successful delivery, I consider them as two sides of the same coin (so to speak).
Here is one of the ways to build this organization. First, identify related projects and their operating business streams and domains. Each project would fall under one or more business streams under a business domain. Identify and organize project managers (at all levels) based on their individual interests and business domain knowledge. If required, laterally move Senior Project Managers poised to grow into people-management roles, into mid-level manager roles within their chosen/expert portfolio. Identify and encourage veteran project/program managers with high business acumen to move into portfolio management roles for a given business portfolio. Finally, consolidate the PMO organization under the leadership of the Director, PMO. Once the company and the PMO grow large enough, the role of the Director, PMO may be split into Portfolio Directors for such portfolios that might require it for better control and organization.
And in the meantime, identify such senior project managers who are experienced and poised enough to define the processes and methodologies for effective and uniform/consistent execution of the projects. If required, hire new personnel, perhaps initially on a contract basis, and build a team of Process Analysts. Bring in a senior project manager (level 4 or 5) to lead the team of Process Analysts. This could be a new hire or a lateral move from the current project/program managers’ pool. If/when the organization/company is larger enough, or the business circumstances demand, bring in a Director of Governance to head the Process and Governance group. You may have to hire new personnel to fill any of these roles. However, for optimum results, it is best to repurpose one/some of your veteran project manager(s) who has/have vast (and quite diversified) experience, and has been with the company long enough to understand the “current” delivery operations, to lead this group. They would understand the current operations, and with right leadership mindset, they can not only define the right processes/methodologies/tools for the organization, but can also help the project managers to make the transition (be the change agents and manage change effectively).
Responsibility Matrix
Project Managers (1/2/3)
  • Junior to mid-level project managers (0 - 6 years of experience in project management)
  • Handle small to medium projects (under $1 M), may be a part of a large project (over $1 M) under the mentorship of a senior project manager
  • Own end-to-end activities and delivery of their projects or their parts of a large project
  • Ensure process compliance and accountability of successful delivery
Senior Project Managers (3/4)
  • Mid-career to career project managers (6 - 9 years of experience in project management)
  • Independently handle medium to large projects/programs ($1 M to $4 M); May have other project managers working on their projects
  • End-to-end ownership of project delivery, customer satisfaction and team/peer mentoring
  • Ensure process compliance and takes accountability for successful delivery across all project aspects
Mid-Level Managers
  • Purely an administrative and HR-related function to manage junior to mid-level project management resources; It is essentially a parking place for an individual contributor Senior Program Manager and a full-blown Portfolio Manager (perhaps a managing a sub-portfolio)
  • Responsible for the overall performance, recognition and growth of their direct reports (determining their own performance and senior management growth potential)
  • Are at the level of senior program managers (level 4/5) in their ability and experience in managing projects
  • Individuals in this role may still be regular project managers (with independent charge) on one or more large projects
  • May cross over to Senior Program Manager level to be an individual contributor
Portfolio Managers (4/5)
  • Highly experienced in managing multiple large and complex projects/programs
  • Understand the particular vertical or horizontal domain
  • Able to develop and maintain excellent customer relations with a business focus
  • Strategic in identifying new opportunities in their domain and recommend direction
  • Accountable for successful delivery of all programs and projects in their domain/portfolio
  • Owns HR-related activities for all personnel in their domain, including performance
  • May grow into Portfolio Director (not in the graphic) if their portfolio grows enough to require sub-portfolios for better control and organization
Senior Program Manages (4/5)
  • Highly experienced in managing multiple large and complex projects/programs
  • Able to develop and maintain excellent customer relations with a business focus
  • Accountable for successful delivery of large and complex programs/projects (> $4M), key corporate initiatives/accounts, multi-domain programs etc.
  • May grow into to a Program Director (not in the graphic) to lead a range/combination of major company #1 products development, initiatives, mergers, acquisitions etc.
Director, PMO (5)
  • Overall ownership of PMO and accountable for delivering business value
  • Final say in PMO initiatives, direction, strategy, org-structure, policies and procedures
  • Represents PMO on the BUIT Advisory Board (or SLT Steering Committee to ensure business value through PMO policies
  • Collaborates with Governance Director to ensure successful implementation of PMO Best Practices
Process Analysts (PM 3/4)
  • Subject Matter Experts in various Software Lifecycle processes
  • Define/recommend processes that are most efficient for the company's delivery and client's engagement model (in collaboration with project management team)
  • Recommend industry best practices for implementation (in collaboration with project management team)
  • Are part of project team acting as Process Mentors to help with lifecycle process issues
  • Perform periodic internal audits on projects to ensure process compliance
Delivery Process Managers
  • Subject Matter Experts in a number of Software Lifecycle processes
  • Identify processes that are most efficient for the company's delivery and client's engagement model (in collaboration with project management team)
  • Direct a team of Process Analysts in defining/recommending/improving processes for the type of projects in the portfolio
  • Know and understand industry best practices for implementation (in collaboration with project management team)
  • Direct periodic internal audits on projects to ensure process compliance
Director, Process Governance
  • Direct/define Process and Project Governance Structure, and ensure governance
  • Ensure all projects are following the corporate/organizational Governance Model/Structure
  • Direct Project Governance Group to ensure process definition and continuous improvement mapping to real life projects of the company
  • Define strategic direction of project methodologies, identify new requirements based on company’s business focus, and ensure the right methodologies/processes are defined, tools build, and processes followed