This Guest paper was submitted for publication and is copyright to Mark A. Seely© 2016.
Published here April 2017

PART 3 | Editor's Note & Table of Contents | Chapter 7: Finding Levels 3 and 4
Chapter 8: Level 3 - Program Management | Level 3 Management | The Apollo Example
Chapter 9: Level 4 - Program Governance | Level 4 Governance | Performance
Chapter 10: Level 5 - Public Governance | Level 5 Governance | PART  5

Level 4 Governance

There are a number of distinguishing features that require a different approach to Level 4 than the previous three levels. These features are:

Level 4 is an open system concept where the roll out of the initiate is subject to external determinacies and both internal and external stakeholders determine success, hence the three-dimensional chess metaphor.

Level 4 is thus a matter of governance, not management.

Level 4 is not about implementing a preconceived solution. It is about considering a business case of a proposed direction, testing it with the external determinacies and adjusting the formulation based on what the governance network determines.

In DBM parlance, Level 4 entails a dynamic objective; the only stabilizing context linking project practitioners with the end-user is appeal to the common principles of the organization.

The corporate IT implementers and the corporate end user base at least share a common set of corporate principles. This is a fixed-principles reference within the DBM. Unlike Level 3 projects, Level 4 entails a dynamic objective. The project may launch with a notionally fixed objective, a precept that will only be tested and adjusted by the corporation's end user base. These end users are not under the management control of the IT project manager. With this, the term for this role has become "Project Champion" suggesting the individual falls somewhere between Project Advocate and Cheer Leader.

The Level 2 attempt at Solidify Baselines is short lived as the project management change control loop heats up like a hot wire. The half-life of associated schedules, cost estimates and contracts can be measured in days, not years. The reply from senior management to dysfunctional projects is to apply more anxiety — rather than undertaking the more intellectual posture of seeing the Level 4 for what it is.

Governance, meaning "corporate governance", is the basis for bringing the purpose of the organization together with the purpose of the enterprise project and enabling the unfolding new Darwin-forged reality.

The ability to bring the disparate forces together, instilling trust and relying on that trust for a harmonized implementation is key, while reconciling those in the "Business Process Reengineering" equation losing to the fact that life has changed.

The Enterprise IT example

The Mike Hammer[5] era of business transformation took hold in the late 1990s. The invention of the desktop PC and the networking of them to enterprise business-emulating communications tools created an alignment of business logic that was never considered in the formative stages of the business operations. Gone was the era of the monolithic impenetrable company fortress, and the new externally friendly open communication world was ushered in. The CEO was not there to control the ship, but to sail it!

Management delayering enabled greater connectivity between senior leadership and the company's workers who then undertook hand-to-hand combat in the halls to survive.

Of course, through this swift transformation, many a company went the way of the dinosaur as the true experience of Level 4 initiatives became apparent. IT was the catalyst for a re-equilibration of the larger sense of purpose. Putting the technology aside, the great question that is tested in this exercise is — how relevant is my operation to my swiftly changing surrounds?

Chapter 9: Level 4 - Program Governance  Chapter 9: Level 4 - Program Governance

5. "Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution", Hammer, Michael Martin. Harper Collins, 2003.
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