The first thing the program must do is establish program governance by planning how it will monitor and control the constituent projects. Effective governance ensures strategic alignment, the realisation of promised service and benefits, stakeholders are communicated with and kept aware of progress and issues; appropriate tools and processes are used in the program; decisions are made rationally and with justification; and the responsibilities and accountabilities are clearly defined and applied. All of this is done within the policies and standards of the partner organisations and is measured to ensure compliance. Program Governance is intended to provide:
- A framework for efficient and effective decision-making
- Consistent delivery management with a focus on achieving program goals
- An appropriate mechanism to address risks and stakeholder requirements
Governance is about structured decision-making on investments in projects as has been summarised as the four areas:
- Are we doing the right projects?
- Are we doing them the right way?
- Are we getting them done well?
- Are we getting the benefits?
What criteria to use to select the right programs? There are 5 selection criteria for organisations to evaluate what programs to start, being the strategic fit and benefits analysis the most important ones.
- Strategic fit: how well the program fits with the business strategy of the organisation
- Benefits analysis: what the benefits to the business are and how they will be achieved
- Budget: the preliminary budget estimate for the program
- Resources: the human and other resources required for the program and their availability
- Risks: analysis of the potential risks to the program