White Papers

Governing Programmes and Projects


Bridging the TMS-PM conceptual divide

Top management support is now thought to be the most important critical success factor. However a conceptual chasm has led to a lack of engagement between the top management and project management communities and high project failure rates have resulted and strategic goals have not been realised. A study of publicly-funded projects in the State of Victoria illustrates these issues and their significance. Strategy and the realisation of strategic goals have been introduced as a unifying concept with the potential to bridge the gap. Project management, portfolio management, programme management and project governance were reviewed to consider their role in strategic success and a model was developed to bridge the conceptual chasm. The highest priorities for developments in each of these fields were suggested to bridge the gap in practice. Programme management was highlighted with recommendations to develop more effective frameworks to facilitate strategic conversation and adaptation to overcome uncertainty arising from incomplete information (2009).

Governing programmes for strategic success – implications from Victoria

This paper has used a study into the role of projects within the Victorian public sector as a lens to evaluate innovations in project management. The Victorian public sector was expected to be at the forefront of practice but the study suggested billions of dollars are invested in projects with few of the expected strategic benefits being realised. Project governance, programme and portfolio management, the innovations with the most potential to increase project success rates, were found to be inadequate in their current state to be widely adopted to overcome the issue. The paper provides justification for a concerted research effort to find more appropriate programme and portfolio management approaches. A further contribution has been to frame the interrelationships between best-practice approaches to show how they contribute to different success criteria (2009).

ROI benchmarks for IT Project Governance

This paper synthesises prior research findings to highlight how few IT projects realise all their expected benefits despite the widespread use of project management and technical methodologies. Using brave but plausible assumptions derived from research the paper suggests only a third of IT projects currently deliver any benefits at all and that overall ROI is around 30%. It suggests detailed benchmarks for IT project success rates that might be achieved through IT project governance and shows that if they can be achieved the overall ROI for IT projects should be between 135-240%. The benchmarks have been validated to a limited degree and a program of further research is introduced (2006).

TMS IJPM published version

This research provides evidence that top management support is the most important critical success factor for project success and is not simply one of many factors. The finding is justified in the context of the project management literature and the IS factor research on project success. There are implications for practice because it appears that the conventional technical and project management advice has less impact on project success than previously thought. Boards and top managers may have to personally accept that they have more influence on whether a project succeeds or fails (2008).