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Understanding Programme and Project Governance

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We all know the story of what happened on December 7, 1941. Few of us know why or how all the best efforts of the US Military failed to prevent the Japanese from attacking Pearl Harbor so successfully and with very minimal losses.

On December 7, 1941 the world changed for the United States following the surprise attack on the home port of the US Pacific Fleet by elements of the Japanese Imperial Navy. The shock of this event led to a major overhaul of governance that influenced policy and practice for 60 years. In the current world of projects today there are similar events, waiting to change reality for Project Directors, Managers, and Leaders.

There were two large bureaucratic organizations (The U.S. Army and Navy) managing the most complex technology of their day. These two groups were given conflicting and overlapping mandates in Hawaii, with a shared goal and badly broken lines of communication. The objective of this workshop on this event is to parallel the lessons from the days leading up to the attack to situations in modern organizations and governance. We let the history act as both a mirror and a lens, helping us see our organization in the reflection of the events from 1940-41, and focus on the key lessons of governance that those events contain.

Attendees will see the nature of project governance at strategic, tactical, and operational levels using the Pearl Harbor story as a background related to modern project experiences when an unforeseen reality (Sarbanes-Oxley, SARS, Privacy, Bill 168, business changes) arrives with serious consequences. The comparison examines how people, process and technology combined at all levels to create an epic failure of governance despite all the modern tools of diplomacy, intelligence, and leadership.

The key findings from the eight inquiries into the events of December 7, 1941 are as relevant to projects today as they were 70 years ago. Discover how multiple failures could have been avoided and history re-written, and how to apply these lessons today.


Attendees will learn about the governance and how to apply it to today’s organizations, projects and teams. After the workshop class members will know:

  • How governance exists at strategic, tactical, and operational levels within a program/project, and the limits of ability at each level.
  • How the lack of governance can handcuff a project from moving forward.
  • How to create adaptive governance that will be responsive to environment changes.
  • The key lessons of governance and how to apply these in project teams.
  • The enablers in applying good governance.



Project managers, project leaders, team leaders, managers, and general business professionals.


There is no prerequisite for this course. It functions as a stand-alone course.


Participants will receive a course binder containing copies of presentation slides and exercises.

course info

Course ID: MK-1606
Course Level: Intermediate
Duration: 1 day

upcoming sessions

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PMI Talent TriangleThe following table provides the breakdown of the professional development units (PDUs) for this course aligned with the PMI Talent TriangleTM.

  Tech. Ldrshp. Strat. & Bus.
PMP 3 0 4
PgMP 3 0 4
PfMP 3 0 4
PMI-ACP 3 0 4
PMI-SP 0 0 4
PMI-RMP 0 0 4
PMI-PBA 3 0 4

The three columns in the above table are Technical Project Management, Leadership, and Strategic & Business Management.

Other Credits

Other professional (re)certification credits are available, including:

  • Certified Business Analyst Professionals (CBAPs) earn 7 CDUs (Category 2B)
  • Certified Software Quality Engineers (CSQEs) earn 1 RUs
  • CIPS Information Systems Professionals (ISPs) earn 7 Learning Credits
  • CIPS Information Technology Certified Professional (ITCPs) earn 7 Learning Credits