The idea for all project methodologies is to improve the way the projects are delivered so that the end objective is better achieved, in terms of cost, time and quality. Ironically environments where governance is applied strictly often face the situation of project delays and red tape getting in the way of effective project delivery.
There are even instances of specialist governance teams that have grown to the point where they believe projects are there to support governance and not the other way around. A core challenge to PMO’s over the next few years is getting the balance right, or at least improving the balance so that delivery can progress quicker but quality and cost be maintained and improved.
Many Auditors and PMO analysts act as the governance police and apply the letter of the law delaying progress with more hoops a project is expected to go through. Pragmatic application of a governance framework helps projects deliver in a controlled manner.
So one might ask the question is it better to have no governance and just let project managers do their own thing. This would wholly depend on the quality of your project managers and the project delivery team, but I have never seen a project delivery team work better where no control framework is applied.
The rule I have applied in training and coaching Project Managers, Programme Managers and PMO staff has always been to look critically at the control or mechanism being used. If the control tools or documents that you are building do not help in improving quality, containing cost, or delivering a solution quicker then why are you using them. In simple terms if the method is not helping it must be getting in the way.
Apply this judgement to each element of your project method as you initiate and execute your projects and you end up with a self-tuning method that is scalable and develops overtime. Eliminate the areas that never provide benefit and support project teams in helping to improve areas of value.