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Understanding How to Use Program Management

Posted Oct 03 2013 10:19am

As leaders and managers, we often consider and manage by our span of control. We look out at our horizon and see the ground that needs to be walked so we can achieve completion of the current endeavors at hand. Most work can be quantified as a project. We begin to see projects everywhere. The comparison I'm sharing is to be wary of labeling everything as a project.


Start to look at the projects inflight and soon to be launched, begin to consider if there are ways to manage or achieve certain aspects which will yield better quality results or achieve optimized results. For example, let's look at the initiatives underway and we note several application upgrades for the surgery department? Are there benefits or controls available by combining these upgrades?


Let's take a deeper diver here and carefully examine the benefits of a programmatic approach by looking at the Program Management Performance Domains. The five programmatic performance domains are:


  1. Program Strategy Alignment- Activities associated with the integration and development of business strategies, organizational goals, and objectives. Examines the degree to which operations and performance meet the stated organizational goals and objectives.

  2. Program Benefits Management- Work performed during the execution of program that achieves the anticipated benefits which captured in the benefits realization plan.

  3. Program Stakeholder Engagement- Activities associated with ascertaining stakeholder needs and expectations, achieving and maintaining stakeholder support, and mitigating or channeling opposition.

  4. Program Governance- Systems and methods by which a program is monitored managed and supported by its sponsoring organization

  5. Program Life Cycle Management- Managing program activities under the phased groupings of program definition, program benefits delivery, and program closure

For these upgrades, we would most definitely be able leverage having a single governance and stakeholder engagement campaign. It would also be helpful to monitor and examine benefits holistically along with individually. Finally strategy alignment would be more closely achieved by looking and the program to achieve the benefits, rather than just implement and move onto the next project. Additionally managing resource constraints through a programmatic approach may revel smarter approaches to work.


The Project Management Institute defines Program Management as "The application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a program to meet the program requirements and to obtain benefit and control not available by managing projects individually. " Program management is a framework for managing related efforts by looking for synergies in strategic benefits, coordinated planning, complex interdependencies, deliverable integration and optimized scheduling.

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