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Is Your Program Board a Help or a Hindrance?

Is Your Program Board a Help or a Hindrance?
By Peter Osborne

Best practice in program management states that ‘Successful delivery needs an engaged senior management team as part of the Program Board’. But as someone tasked with the responsibility for delivering major change, how do you avoid your Program Board operating as a talking-shop, or worse, a forum that actually impedes program delivery?

We often work with clients to recover under-performing programs and it is clear from this experience that an effective Program Board is crucial for delivery success. The good news is that it is never too late to ‘tune’ your Program Board to help rather than hinder delivery.
Any textbook or course on program management will tell you that to ensure effective direction and control of the program, you will need a robust governance structure. This provides the framework for your decision-making process, in which all stakeholders are properly engaged in key decisions, and empowered to take those decisions along with relevant guidance to the program team. Read the Complete Article

Simple Tips for Successful Project Selection

Simple Tips for Successful Project Selection
By Brittany Andrews

Have you ever made a decision you’ve regretted? Something that didn’t really align with the direction you wanted to take in life or didn’t consider all the potential solutions? If so, then you know how the time – and money – lost on bad decisions can really sting.

The same is true for organizations. Often times, even the most forward-thinking leaders have their minds set on a particular project, then pursue it full force without considering the alternatives or taking the time to stop and think about whether it is the best choice for their organization. One bad decision can cost a company or organization thousands, if not millions, of dollars–not to mention ruin the personnel morale. Adopting good project selection habits is key to ensuring the future success of your organization. Here are some key steps to successful project selection:

  • Work as a team

    Just as you might allow a few trusted friends or family members to weigh in on major life decisions, every organization can benefit from utilizing the unique perspectives of individuals with different responsibilities and backgrounds to make project selection decisions.

Read the Complete Article

Overcoming the Infrastructure Gap

Overcoming the Infrastructure Gap
By Robert Prieto

We must change the perception of infrastructure from a taxpayer cost to a societal investment. This means translating macroeconomic arguments into the language of citizens – jobs; improved quality of life; lower future governmental costs; better futures for our children; and a more resilient place to live and work.

Business as usual = failure

We must link desired outcomes (jobs, reduced congestion, resilience) with the investments we make and demand transparency for all infrastructure investments. Pork must be slaughtered quickly. Sacred cows must be gored. Corruption, still a major challenge, stamped out.

Business as usual cannot be our planning basis. We must set broad, audacious goals such as reducing the life cycle cost of new infrastructure put in place by 50% by 2025 and reducing the large project “failure” rate from 2 out of 3 to 1 out of 10!

We must encourage innovation by shifting codes and standards from prescriptive to performance based recognizing that this requires new analytical tools. Read the Complete Article

When Program/Project Management Goes Well

When Program/Project Management Goes Well
By Philip Young

Today has been a good day. I presented my end of program report to my steering committee.

This has been a 12 month program of work comprising of multiple project teams delivering technology and business application changes across Rank Groups Casino retail trading estate.

The great thing about this is that as a team of people who were program managed by me, delivered on-time, below budget and the agreed scope of work was implemented. Yes it was hard work and sometimes did not go as planned but how often do things ever go as planned?

I have thought about why this program went so well and think that the following bullets sort of sum things up:

  • Where the projects were technical biased we had technical Project Managers, and where application biases we had the right business knowledge on the teams.
  • We were not afraid to go off-plan sometimes, especially when carrying out issue resolution.

Read the Complete Article

Manage as a Project or Manage as a Program?

Manage as a Project or Manage as a Program?
By Kiron D. Bondale

There’s little doubt that a company would manage the construction of a new hydroelectric power plant or a major global sporting event as a program. However, outside of such mega-projects, how can a ”normal” organization consistently determine whether to manage an initiative as a very large project or as a program of interdependent projects?

PMI’s current definition for a program provides insufficient guidance: “A group of related projects, subprograms, and program activities that are managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually.”

When we look at the comparisons made between projects and programs in The Standard for Program Management (Third Edition) using factors such as scope, change, planning, management, success and monitoring we don’t find a single objective test. For example: “Project managers expect change and implement processes to keep change managed and controlled. Read the Complete Article

The Project Stakeholders: The Role vs the Person

The Project Stakeholders: The Role vs the Person
By Ammar W. Mango

Some prefer to look “objectively” at projects that they focus on the roles people play rather than the persons behind the role. The rationale is that by focusing on the role, they stay objective and do not let personal matters play a role in their judgment or interactions. While on the surface this looks great, based on what we were taught about not to take business personally. In reality, there are aspects of business that require a “look” at the personal aspect of the people we are dealing with, and for others to also see us personally. While objectivity is needed and role accountability is key, it is naive and harmful to blind ourselves from the persons we are working with, as persons.

There is confusion out there between how “not to take things personally,” versus understanding and employing the personal elements to improve chances of project success. Read the Complete Article

Organize Projects into Programs and Reap the Rewards of Change

Organize Projects into Programs and Reap the Rewards of Change
By Ammar W. Mango

The area of Program Management is still widely misunderstood. Ironically, it is as old if not older than Project Management. When the 1950’s pioneers started building Project Management models like the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Critical Path Methods (CPM), and Program Evaluation and Review Technique, a program was almost always in mind before the project.

A program aims at achieving a benefit. So, when a governmental agency undertakes a project to encourage a paperless environment, even if the project is completed successfully, it does not mean that it was able to bring the institution closer to paperless environment. A project is always about specific deliverables, and by definition is completed when its required deliverables are complete. So, who will ensure that these deliverables are used, and that they fulfilled the business need for which it was undertaken? Read the Complete Article

Program Management – Part 2

Program Management – Part 2
By Keith MathisPM Expert Live

After finishing the last article about about Program Management, I realized there’s so much more information that I wanted to share. So, we’re going to continue our look on this topic. In this article I’ll look at the Program Management Life Cycle.

First, let’s look at how it differs from the Project Life Cycle. The first main difference is that the Program Life Cycle manages outcomes and benefits, while the Project Life Cycle produces deliverables. Programs often have an extended life cycle as some projects transition to operations while other projects are only just being initiated. Projects generate deliverables at the completion of their life cycle, and the resulting benefits flow into the program. The capabilities delivered by several of the program’s projects may need to be integrated in order to provide some or all of the program’s benefits. Read the Complete Article

PMO – Program Management Office Functions

PMO – Program Management Office Functions
By Cora Systems

The inclusion of a program management office in line with their project management software tool has become a popular choice amongst organizations and project managers in recent years. The decision to implement a PMO is often taken when the number of projects being undertaken by an organization has grown to the point where the costs involved in delivering them and the risk of failure to the business is so great that centralized control and standardized processes are a necessity.

A program management office is a structure that organizations design to provide them with assistance and assurance around change management and delivery of projects and programs. A program management office or as it’s more commonly known, a PMO, can support a basic single project or program through to an organization’s entire program of work.

When a new program of work is launched within an organization a PMO is given the tasks of managing it. Read the Complete Article

An Introduction to Program Management

An Introduction to Program Management
By Keith MathisPM Expert Live

I don’t know about you, but it’s a very rare day when I only have one project vying for my attention. As I’m writing this, I have about 10 other projects waiting on my desk. As employees, we have to get very good at prioritizing all our projects or we’d crumble under the stress of them all!

All organizations have to deal with this; however, some of them are lucky enough to have a program management team to help keep everyone organized. According to Project Management Institute (PMI®), a program is a “group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually”. PMI® goes on to define program management as “the centralized coordinated management of a program to achieve the program’s strategic benefits and objectives.”

Program Management is very different from Project Management. Read the Complete Article

Recommended PM App

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