A program consists of a group of related projects and activities, managed in a coordinated way, in order to deliver outcomes and benefits related to the organisation’s strategic objectives that would not be available by managing each project individually.
Programs are the link between the business strategy and the individual projects that will implement the solutions required to deliver it.
Programs usually span several years and therefore the scope, time and cost are likely to change during the life of a program.
Program management is not about managing the details of each individual project, but rather about managing the big picture, in order to achieve the strategic objectives and realise the benefits for which the program is designed.
Benefits of Program Management:
- Optimisation of human and other resources over multiple projects in the overall program
- Coordinated management and reduction of risks
- Consolidation and management of the benefits
Why a to create a Program?
- The program is too large to be treated as a project and the component projects are too interdependent to be treated as separate unrelated projects.
- To optimise the use of scarce resources by sharing them across several related projects in the program.
- To keep the projects aligned with strategic goals and benefits.
Phases of a Program
Program Definition: involves understanding the strategic value of the program, defining the program objectives, identifying the key stakeholders and decision makers, developing a high level business case for the program, obtaining approval for the program and appointing the program manager.
Benefits Delivery: represents the main ongoing program management activity and for each of the constituent projects this will entail planning, execution and benefits realisation. For the program as a whole it also involves managing the inter-project dependencies, risks and issues.
Program Closure: performs a controlled close down of the program, together with the shutdown of the program infrastructure and transition of benefits monitoring to an operational group.