Thursday, February 18, 2016

Program Management 101

Program Management is the process of managing several related projects, often with the intention of improving an organization's performance. In practice and in its aims it is often closely related to systems engineering and industrial engineering.

A program is something which delivers a massive piece of functionality. Within this program will be a large number of individual projects each of which will deliver a specific piece of the functionality. When all these projects have delivered, all their pieces will make the big deliverable.

Program Includes:

  • A single product or deliverable
  • Many product deliverables
  • Usually focuses on business objectives and delivering value
  • Benefit management
Critical difference between Program Management & Project Management:
  • Program are going, project end
    • Program usually span a far greater duration than a project. This might seem like an arbitrary difference. However, managing a program involves long team strategic planning that's not required of a project.  The ongoing nature of program also means that they engage in continuous process improvement.
  • Program are tied to organization's financial calendar
    • Program Managers are often responsible for delivering result tied to the organization's financial calendar. 
  • Program management is governance intensive
    • Program are typically governed by a senior level board that provides direction, oversight, and control, program managers must be able to influence at this level. They must also facilitate resolution of disagreements between executives.  The program manager must ensure that the governance board provides achievable objectives for the program and must deliver to these objectives.
  • Program have great scope of financial management
    • Projects typically have a straight -forward budget, project financial management is focused on spending to budget. Program Managers maybe be responsible for revenue and costs that are critical to an organization's financial results. Management and control is significantly more complex in the context of a program.
  • Program change management is an executive leadership capability
    •  Project employ formal change management process. Program change is more difficult to manage because they are driven by an organization's strategy. They are subject to market conditions and changing business goals.