I do not know about you, but I fell into the trap of buying scatter cushions for our bedroom. Wow was I impressed with the new modern look it gave to what was once a very old and historic view of our main bedroom. The excitement lasted for a month or two until I realised that what I bought only goes with certain of the bedding I had in my cupboard. Every time we changed the sheeting I had to rethink the arrangement and every morning what seems to be a quick job in getting the bed made, turned into an extended artwork. This might be slightly over exaggerated, but what once was the cause of excitement, turned into an obligation literally overnight.
In project management, we tend to do the same. We start off strong with excitement and establish rules and regulations that according to us add value, and will help us to manage our projects properly. Very soon we realise that the rules we have laid down at the beginning was really unpractical or did not suite the need of this particular project. Well it looks great at the onset, and definitely portrait a competent project manager, but in reality it adds red tape with very little value. Some then have a kneejerk reaction and end up doing the opposite or getting rid of all rules, necessary and unnecessary. For others, the continued suffering through what was once a brilliant moment in an ill-advised project.
Don’t get me wrong, project governance is necessary, but needs to fit both the environment and the requirements of the project. You should be creating balance between control and execution and allow sufficient flexibility in your organisation to be able to fast track projects that has a limited window of opportunity. It is better to set fewer rules at the beginning, and drive compliance into what can be later become habitual behaviour for your team. You can then always add more as you go along, and so create a team than can cope within the rules set. Remember less is more!