Posted by Robert Baumgartner

As initiated by PMI Netherlands Chapter in cooperation with IPMA Netherlands a combined meeting of about 50 members from both PM organizations across Belgium, Netherlands and Germany was held by APG Groep B. V. (pension system for 4.5mln Dutch people) for elaborating and exchanging more information on project governance but also for getting further insights on the role of a project sponsor that is hardly defined anywhere.

From left to right: Mr. Fredriksz (IPMA-NL), Mr. Pijs (PMI NL Chapter), Mr. Stellingwerf (ISO/TC 258 SG1 Convenor), Mr. Baumgartner (PMICC), Mr. Hoitink (NIMO PM Institute) and Mr. Savelkoul (APG)
From left to right: Mr. Fredriksz (IPMA-NL), Mr. Pijs (PMI NL Chapter), Mr. Stellingwerf (ISO/TC 258 SG1 Convenor), Mr. Baumgartner (PMICC), Mr. Hoitink (NIMO PM Institute) and Mr. Savelkoul (APG)

First of all, Mr. Stellingwerf started with a little surprise that none of the attendees did really expect: ISO21500 („Project management – Guide on project management“) got ranked as no.5 in the sales charts of all over 80tsd. ISO standards! By working for ISO/TC 258 SG1 he develops a framework for project governance that is associated to ISO21500. But project governance does rather focus on interfaces between project management / program management / portfolio management and their stakeholders. Shortly described it deals with following objectives:
(1) Framework and principles by which projects are directed and controlled.
(2) System by which projects are directed and controlled.
(3) Assuring to do the right projects right!
Thus, project governance surrounds the environment of projects, programs and portfolios by making sure that environmental factors and organizational process assets are considered from the very beginning of any project life-cycle and maintained over programs and portfolios, too. A certain consensus on general definition of project governance has already been achieved but needs to be broken down in further details for which Mr. Stellingwerf was interested in getting more volunteers. If you are interested to join this study group you can send a mail to Klaus Stephan, the President of PMICC,

Coming from theory into practice, Mr. Savelkoul, Manager Programme & Project Management, continued in giving a few more insights on project governance on how it was implemented at APG. Based on various analysis the success of a project very much depends on the commitment of sponsor (12%) and relationship between sponsor and project manager (12%) among many other managerial things. Therefore, it is key to find the right match between sponsor and appropriate project manager. Usually, a sponsor looks for someone who does have same nature of person like herself or himself but those relationships are not always the best for the project team and its success of project by the end of the day. So, a perfect match between different human criteria for both sponsor and project management would be an ideal constellation that can be hardly found. For instance, he made very clear that an ideal sponsor cannot be easily found for endeavors such as a change of furnishing or even IT equipment of offices as those jobs are not valued enough in his company. Here, project governance can help to tackle those obstacles in creating a better project environment for obtaining a higher performance and outcome of projects.

Finally, Mr. Hoitink illustrated the topic about project sponsor. There is hardly anything defined what a project sponsor should do, which skills the person should have and what the upper management can do to ensure finding the right sponsor for their unique project type. As a next step it got time for playing a game called “Cross the line Challenge”! All attendees were asked to leave their chairs and build up a lane along a line lying on the ground. He asked us several typical questions about project sponsorship and project management at which only those attendees should cross the line if they can answer the questions with a clear “Yes”. Questions about satisfaction on one’s project work and performance also in relation to project environment were brought up. The tricky part was for all those attendees who did not cross the line in answering why they could not say “Yes”. Here, it was quite interesting to see how certain persons with their individual background reacted and what reasons they brought up why they did not cross the line. One person even stood still onto the line because he was not satisfied with his project work as he wanted to have bigger projects. All in all, it was a lot of fun and learning that all participants enjoyed.

Mr. Pijs and Mr. Fredriksz closed the event in saying good-bye to everyone and giving an outlook that such events of inter-chapter and inter-PM standards collaborations will be repeated in the near future.

PMI Köln Chapter e. V.
V.i.S.d.P. VP Marketing Robert Baumgartner, PMP®, PRINCE2®

Retrospect “Euregio Project Professional Meeting” in Heerlen (NL) on Sept 25, 2013
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