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Insights from Life Hacks on Project Governance

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The first session of Life Hacks on Project Governance – a virtual meet up of the APM Governance SIG which took place on 13th December 2023 – was a valuable and insightful event. The lunch time webinar, facilitated by Obi Ozonzeadi, assembled a diverse panel of professionals who showed that there is no substitute for their lived experiences. Many real-life tips came from Fiona Spencer, Arnab Banerjee, Phil Bradbury, Richard Zavitz and Tim Ellis all of whom have walked the talk in various sectors and freely shared their life hacks.  

The interactive nature of the session provided a rich perspective on project governance. The word cloud generated from the participants' responses reflected a range of opinions and insights into what project governance meant to them. It was interesting to see both positive associations like "Guide," "Essential for project control and success," and more critical viewpoints such as "Confusing and bureaucratic." 

Read on for some helpful tips and tricks from the speakers on how to be successful in project governance.

1. Fiona Spencer's clarity on what governance is and her practical tips provided a strong foundation for understanding and implementing effective project governance. The emphasis on accountability, understanding the rules and procedures, building relationships and actively working on governance are key takeaways for anyone involved in project management. 

Some tips she offered, such as "Study the game," "Get down to business," and "Train, practice, review," highlight the dynamic and evolving nature of governance, emphasising the need for continuous improvement and adaptation. 

2. Arnab Banerjee’s insights on the importance of behaviour and trust in the context of project governance provide valuable perspectives on the human aspects of project management. He underscored the significance of trust, transparency and maintaining a realistic perspective in project governance. According to him, by addressing human behaviours, potential pitfalls and the need for a supportive environment, governance contributes to a holistic understanding of effective project management practices.  

3. Phil Bradbury’s views on the use of processes and systems for effective governance are practical and provide a thoughtful approach to ensuring that governance works seamlessly. He emphasised the importance of a well-structured and adaptable governance framework that aligns with the unique needs of each project. Balancing flexibility with a structured approach, focusing on fundamental processes and leveraging technology can contribute to the overall effectiveness of project governance. 

4. Richard Zavitz's contributions to the discussion highlight the critical role of sponsors in decision-making within project governance. He reiterated the pivotal role sponsors play in steering decisions to align with strategy and desired outcomes, and the need for a unified and reliable source of information. Additionally, the emphasis on early engagement aligns with the proactive approach to decision-making, allowing for a more informed and strategic project management process.

5. Tim Ellis's wrap-up statements provided intuitive reflections on the intersection of organisational culture and governance, emphasising the importance of trust, accountability and ongoing communication. Overall, Tim's remarks captured the complexity of governance within organisational contexts and stressed the need for a nuanced approach that considers culture, communication and practical actions to ensure effective project management. If not done, organisational culture will always eat governance for breakfast! 


The detailed and comprehensive nature of the discussions indicates a successful and informative session. The practical tips presented by the panellists with the audience's questions and interest in future life hacks sessions demonstrate the ongoing relevance and importance of further discussions around project governance. The emphasis on practical, actionable insights adds significant value to the community. 


Future Sessions: 

The next Life Hacks Session is on 21st March 2024. The audience expressed interest in private sector representation, financial services, agile vs. waterfall, effective risk management, project collaboration tools, and the role of integrated data in governance. 

If you would like to be part of the future sessions, please get in touch with APM Governance SIG. It's a great opportunity to contribute to discussions and share your expertise within the community. 


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