Program Governance & Control

Case Study : European Space Agency - Designing a new Program Structure

The International Space Station (ISS) Exploitation Program has a multibillion euro budget to operate the space station. ESA asked Pcubed to help them define an appropriate approach to implementing the program.

The result was a governance structure that gave ESA the right level of control, and was designed to adapt to changing needs. Pcubed then provided detailed processes to manage the program, and took an active part in running them.

The solution provided a means of control and the ability to balance risk and ensure the effective operation of the ISS in a pragmatic way. ESA were able to manage the program within the constraints of a set budget.

Helps you to implement the organization, function and processes to manage and control your programs.


Pcubed Program Governance and Control helps your business steer programs towards successful delivery through establishing effective program management structures. Control is gained by using methods and tools that allow management to monitor and direct progress, identify and reduce threats, and respond to changes and problems. Crucially, the right governance structure will support the robust flow of program information that is critical to success.

  • Governance- Pcubed will help you to build the right levels of management into the program and tie it into the business. This governance must also adapt to changes in the program and its environment, which will inevitably happen in a long, complex undertaking.
  • Control- applied using a tried and trusted set of processes to steer the program itself, and guide and communicate with its portfolio of projects. These processes are managed through individuals, boards and functional teams, who are given clear and unambiguous remits and levels of authority.

Every program needs a centre of expertise to set up and run these processes - a Program Management Office is often deployed for this purpose.


Pcubed Governance and Control makes the difference between a successful program and one that can veer off course, lose sight of its objectives, and fail to bring the benefits intended. Strong governance builds genuine involvement with the business and stakeholders and ensures that its purpose and outcomes match their needs.

Effective management reporting means that the right information is consistently available in a commonly-understood format at the right time, bringing confidence in the business that it can base decisions on solid foundations.

Programs are complex and include multiple projects. It is essential to control them so that they deliver the right, high-quality products at the right time. The flow of current information to the management of the program allows it to respond quickly to the changing needs of the business, and to problems and risks that arise.

The right governance structure makes the program an integral part of the business, moving it to a new state by employing expert skills and resources within a clear framework that all can understand. Control ensures that this major investment is effectively channeled to produce the expected benefits.

Pcubed will help you maximize Return on Investment - well governed programs deliver strategic aims while maximizing benefits and reducing risk.


Implementation of or change to the governance of a program requires knowledge of what structure will best serve the Program. Pcubed's experience, gained in public and private sector programs worldwide, provides a reasoned and objective view of the program whether it is starting up, facing major change, or hitting problems - the solution is tailored to the circumstances.

Each engagement is different, but there are certain products that we would normally expect to deliver when implementing Pcubed Program Governance and Control. These include, in a typical implementation sequence -

  1. An analysis of the program, and the capacity of the business to manage it.
  2. Clearly described processes that provide the necessary controls - project appraisal, planning, change control, risk management, procurement, resource management and benefits realization (ensuring that the program delivers the positive outcomes that it is designed for) are key examples.
  3. Processes and procedures, usually built around genuinely informative program-level reporting, without which effective management is not possible.
  4. An appropriate schedule of meetings and events, each backed up with clear terms of reference and clarification of roles and responsibilities.
  5. The program plan, encompassing the definition of the program and the running of the program itself, not merely a set of project schedules.
  6. A Program Management Office (PMO) to establish and run the processes.

Pcubed Program Governance and Control will help you establish a sound, flexible framework within which to manage your program, and the means to control it. You will have access to Pcubed's world-wide knowledge of the full program life-cycle, best practice, and experience of what really works.