Public Project Governance


what the public administration needs projects for


Let’s talk about public projects!


By Stanisław Gasik

Warsaw, Poland


Each country must have an idea of how projects and their aggregates will serve the goals set for the government and the public administration it controls. It would also be useful for them to establish general rules for implementing project management in their jurisdictions. The way to achieve these goals is through Public Project Governance (PPG). And the introduction to this topic is the subject of today’s article.

First, we will define the concept of governance, then the concepts of public governance and project governance. By combining these two areas, we get the concept of Public Project Governance. The last section is devoted to the first issue of PPG: the role of projects in public administration.

What is governance?

The term “governance” has many definitions. It can be understood as a high-level order or a way of directing an organization. The area of operation and the organization’s goal are elements of governance. A school operates in the field of education and its main goal is to provide knowledge to its pupils. Usually, an element of governance is the definition of the principal roles and structures that make up the organization. The organization is led by a Board headed by the CEO. The Board makes major decisions by majority vote and the CEO directs the work of the Board. Or the CEO makes major decisions using the knowledge and experience of the other Board members. The company consists of a production division, a finance division, a sales division, and a human resources and payroll unit, all of which cooperate in a specific way. Decision-making processes and controlling the functioning of an organization are also an element of governance. An organization’s governance is usually described in organizational regulations.

What is public governance?

A state is an organization, so it also has its governance rules which are called state governance or public governance. Its most important elements are usually documented in the constitution, although some countries, such as the UK and Israel, do not have a single document containing the most important regulations. Public governance defines the main levels of governance, such as the central level, state level, and local level, and the authority assigned to each of these levels. For example, foreign policy is created and implemented at the central level, communications policy at the state level, and rules for conducting trade at the local level. The division of public institutions into legislative, executive, and judiciary branches is an element of public governance. Another essential element of public governance is how power is elected (e.g., Kaufmann et al., 2010). Governments operate through the implementation of public policies, so the rules for defining and implementing them are also an element of public governance. An important element of public governance is the institutions that control how governments operate, generally referred to as audit chambers. They usually control the correctness of spending public money; they can also control the efficiency of management processes. In an expanded sense, public governance defines the ways in which the three sectors of the state interact: government, the market, and organizations of the civil society (e.g., Löffler, 2009; Ramesh and Howlett, 2017).

What is project governance?

Every organization must also have defined project implementation rules or project governance, which includes the main principles, structures, and decision-making processes for projects. According to Müller (2009), the most important element of project governance is defining the role of projects in the organization. In project-based organizations, projects are the main means of achieving business goals, while in project-dependent organizations they are a tool for organizational development.


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Editor’s note: This article series is related to the management of public programs and projects, those organized, financed and managed by governments and public officials.  The author, Dr. Stanisław Gasik, is the author of the book “Projects, Government, and Public Policy”, recently published by CRC Press / Taylor and Francis Group.  That book and these articles are based on Dr. Gasik’s research into governmental project management around the world over the last decade.  Stanisław is well-known and respected by PMWJ editors; we welcome and support his efforts to share knowledge that can help governments worldwide achieve their most important initiatives.

How to cite this paper: Gasik, S. (2023). Public Project Governance – what the public administration needs projects for. Let’s talk about public projects, series article, PM World Journal, Volume XII, Issue VI, June. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/pmwj130-Jun2023-Gasik-Public-project-governance-series-6.pdf

 About the Author

Stanisław Gasik, PhD, PMP

Warsaw, Poland


Dr. Stanisław Gasik, PMP is a project management expert. He graduated from the University of Warsaw, Poland, with M. Sc. in mathematics and Ph. D. in organization sciences (with a specialty in project management). Stanisław has over 30 years of experience in project management, consulting, teaching, and implementing PM organizational solutions. His professional and research interests include project knowledge management, portfolio management, and project management maturity. He is the author of the only holistic model of project knowledge management spanning from the individual to the global level.

Since 2013, his main professional focus has been on public projects. He was an expert in project management at the Governmental Accountability Office, an institution of the US Congress. He is the author of “Projects, Government, and Public Policy,” a book that systematizes knowledge about government activities in the area of project management.

He was a significant contributor to PMI’s PMBOK® Guide and PMI Standard for Program Management and contributed to other PMI standards. He has lectured at global PMI and IPMA congresses and other international conferences.

His web page is www.gpm3.eu.

To view other works by Dr. Gasik, please visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/stanislaw-gasik-phd-pmp/