Effective project governance is crucial for the successful execution of initiatives within an organisation. As an executive assistant striving to be a strategic partner, adopting a set of principles for project governance can enhance your ability to support and contribute to the achievement of organisational goals.
Principle 1: Alignment with Organisational Objectives
Principle: Ensure that every project aligns with the overarching goals and objectives of the organisation.
Rationale: Projects should contribute directly to the strategic vision of the organisation, and executive assistants play a key role in verifying and maintaining this alignment.
Example: An executive assistant ensures that project proposals submitted align with the organisation's strategic goals. They may review project objectives to verify their coherence with the overall mission and vision.
Principle 2: Clear Project Definition and Scope
Principle: Collaborate with project stakeholders to define clear project objectives and scope.
Rationale: A well-defined project scope helps in avoiding scope creep and ensures that everyone involved has a shared understanding of the project's purpose and boundaries.
Example: The executive assistant collaborates with project stakeholders to create a detailed project charter that clearly outlines objectives, scope, deliverables, and constraints.
Principle 3: Stakeholder Engagement and Communication
Principle: Foster transparent communication and engagement with project stakeholders.
Rationale: Keeping stakeholders informed and engaged ensures a shared understanding of project progress, challenges, and successes, enhancing overall project support.
Example: An executive assistant organises regular project status meetings, ensuring that key stakeholders are informed of progress, challenges, and upcoming milestones.
Principle 4: Risk Management and Mitigation
Principle: Proactively identify, assess, and manage project risks.
Rationale: Executive assistants can support the project team by assisting in risk identification and helping to implement mitigation strategies, thereby minimizing the impact of potential issues.
Example: The executive assistant conducts risk assessments, working with project teams to identify potential issues and assisting in the development of mitigation strategies.
Principle 5: Resource Allocation and Optimization
Principle: Assist in the effective allocation and optimization of resources for the project.
Rationale: Executive assistants can contribute by helping to allocate human, financial, and other resources efficiently, ensuring that the project stays on track and within budget.
Example: The executive assistant assists in managing project budgets, tracking expenses, and ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently to support project success.
Principle 6: Monitoring and Reporting
Principle: Implement robust monitoring and reporting mechanisms for project progress.
Rationale: Regular monitoring allows for early identification of issues, enabling timely adjustments and preventing potential project derailment.
Example: An executive assistant establishes a system for regular project monitoring, compiling progress reports and key performance indicators to keep stakeholders informed.
Principle 7: Compliance and Governance Adherence
Principle: Ensure that the project adheres to organisational policies, regulations, and governance frameworks.
Rationale: Executive assistants can play a role in promoting compliance and governance, safeguarding the organisation's reputation and minimizing legal and regulatory risks.
Example: The executive assistant ensures that project activities align with relevant regulations and organisational governance frameworks, minimizing legal and compliance risks.
Principle 8: Continuous Improvement and Lessons Learned
Principle: Facilitate a culture of continuous improvement and learning from project experiences.
Rationale: Projects provide valuable insights, and executive assistants can support the implementation of lessons learned to enhance future project outcomes.
Example: After each project stage completion, the executive assistant facilitates a session to gather feedback and lessons learned, contributing to the development of best practices for future stages.
Principle 9: Flexibility and Adaptability
Principle: Embrace flexibility and adaptability in response to changing circumstances.
Rationale: Projects are dynamic, and being adaptable allows the organisation to respond effectively to unexpected challenges and opportunities.
Example: In response to unexpected changes in project scope, the executive assistant works with the project team to adjust timelines, resources, and communication plans accordingly.
Principle 10: Post-Implementation Review
Principle: Support the conduct of a comprehensive post-implementation review.
Rationale: Executive assistants can assist in evaluating the success of the project against its objectives and identifying areas for improvement in future initiatives.
Example: The executive assistant coordinates a post-implementation review, gathering input from project stakeholders to assess the project's success and identify areas for improvement in future endeavours.
On your journey to become a recognised strategic partner to your executive(s), those you support and your wider team these 10 project governance principles can serve as your guiding compass, transforming your role from a facilitator to a proactive contributor in achieving organisational goals.
By adopting and understanding these principles, you can become a trusted link between the project team and broader organisational strategy. This strategic alignment empowers you to contribute proactively, ensuring that projects are not only well-planned but also adaptable to the changing needs of the organisation.
About the Author:
Richard Arnott, BA, FInatAM, FIToL, is the Director of BMTG (UK) Ltd, and the author and lead presenter of the groundbreaking, globally recognised Advanced Certificate for the Executive Assistant: ACEA® program.
Please connect with Richard on Linkedin and please also join our LinkedIn group, "The Advanced Certificate for the Executive Assistant: ACEA®," to connect with a community of forward-thinking executive assistants committed to career growth and development