At Hart Square we have the privilege of working with amazing and inspirational clients who are implementing new CRMs. One of the most important elements of any project is ensuring there is effective governance on the project. A key strand of this is the project board. I will explore some of the key reasons why this is so important and the pitfalls of an ineffective project board.
Importance of a project board
1. Keeping the project on track
The primary purpose of the project board is to ensure the project remains on track. The project board ensures key risks and issues are discussed and that are being decisions made on the project.
The makeup of your project board will vary depending on the size of project and organisation. However, it is vital that the project manager (internal or external), client lead/product owner, project sponsor and the technology partner attend. In addition, you may also wish to include other senior stakeholders such the finance director or CEO, and subject matter experts could attend specific board meetings depending on the agenda. By ensuring your suppliers attend, if applicable, as well as the project manager, it enables you to hold them to account and ensure that the project remains on track to deliver against time, budget, and quality.
2. Forum for decision making
Typically, the board should meet once a month with a consistent core group of people and agenda distributed in advance to allow any preparation to take place. The board becomes an even more important forum if there are issues or risks that arise on a project especially if it could delay to the timeline or an increased budget. By having those senior stakeholders who have ultimate responsibility for the project delivery, it ensures that any decisions or changes that need to made can be implemented quickly and efficiently.
3. Effective communication
In addition, the project board serves as an important reporting point in the project and allows key project information to then be cascaded across the organisation. Effective communication is a core component of any project and so any decisions or changes need to be widely distributed to the rest of the organisation.
Risks of an ineffective project board
Having an ineffective project board, or not having one at all, is a serious risk to a successful project delivery.
The key signs of ineffective project board are inconsistent meeting frequency, lack of consistent attendees and a lack of decision making. This can cause a lack of oversight and control over the project, jeopardising an effective delivery. If these things start to occur, it’s vitally important that the project manager raises this issue with the project sponsor to seek to understand the cause of the problems and rectify them as soon as possible.
However, just as important is also ensuring that everyone understands the role of the board and its purpose. This should be set out at the start at the project with everyone signing up to agreed terms of the board.
Overall, a project board is a key cog in the overall governance structure of any project. Although the composition will vary depending on the size, it’s vitally important this is established at project kick off and all stakeholders understand the benefits of committing the time for this forum. A failure to establish this early in the project or let it become an ineffective forum will put the project at serious risk of not completing the aims it has set out to achieve.