Program Management Processes

or they may see Project Management as a subset of Program Management. In addition, some organizations may not have any such programs, only projects.

It is essential to be clear how the word "program" is being defined. In the context of OPM3, a program is a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually. Programs may include elements of related work outside of the scope of the discrete projects in the program. Program management is the centralized, coordinated management of a program to achieve the program's strategic objectives and benefits.

The linking of Program Management to ongoing operations positions it as more inclusive than Project Management, and indicates a greater involvement with the general management of an organization and other management disciplines. The program's focus is on producing, in accordance with a vision of an "end state" consistent with organizational strategic objectives. Program Management has two major attributes that differentiate it from Project Management: (1) Multi-project management and (2) Elements of ongoing operations, such as post-deployment management of the products and services produced and deployed by the program. Program Management is, then, an extension in scope beyond the temporary undertakings inherent in Project Management, since Program Management may include the entire product life cycle considerations such as upgrades or additional releases.

In the multi-project context, there is a shared set of common business objectives or an expectation of benefits from coordinated management. Program Management is often the source of the chartering of new projects to achieve these objectives or benefits. In other words, the projects that comprise Program Management deliver or deploy products and services to operational use, and those projects undergo project closure while the program continues. The program may initiate new projects to address requirements associated with those deployed products and services.

Ongoing operations may include several reoccurring or administrative functions that are the responsibility of the program, such as supplier relationship management and equipment maintenance. Other examples include the ongoing support and enhancement of the products and services produced by the program, or the ongoing activity of monitoring and ensuring the benefits expected of the program.

In many cases, programs produce products, services, or groups of products or services, for which the program must also provide ongoing maintenance and support. In such cases, the life of a Program Management organization may span many years, from the initiation of specific projects through the retirement and disposal of the resulting products and services from operational use. Program end is associated with the end of user ownership and use, when the organization is no longer expected to respond to issues, or when the responsibility for the products and services that resulted from its projects is transferred to another party. In some cases, this transfer may occur within the larger organization of which the program is a part.

Some of the key activities that are essential to Program Management from an organizational project management point of view include the following (see Appendix I for additional details):

■ Managing stakeholder expectations at the program level

■ Ensuring that program objectives support portfolio strategies (see below)

■ Prioritizing projects within the program and the allocation of resources

■ Coordinating the activities of multiple project managers and project teams

■ Managing the scope that encompasses all of the projects within the program

■ Managing conflicts among projects to achieve organizational goals

■ Adhering to definitions of responsibility and authority for communication and action

■ Managing the delivery of expected benefits.

It is also important to note that Program Management involves Initiating and Closing processes, in the same way that these processes are integral to beginning or completing any project or phase of a project. This will also be shown to be true of Portfolio Management.

The process groups associated with Project Management— Initiating processes, Planning processes, Executing processes, Controlling processes, and Closing processes—have relevance to Program Management, as well. The challenge, however, is more complex. For example, Initiating must consider other existing projects and Controlling must include methods of monitoring and making decisions about multiple projects. As with Project Management, the idea of maturity within the domain of Program Management is tied to the ability to perform each of the processes well, and includes the concept of establishing program-level standards, process measures, process controls, and continuous improvement of processes.

The specific Program Management Best Practices and Capabilities in OPM3 are intentionally general in nature to cover both the multi-project management and product-related aspects of Program Management. Assessment and improvement planning associated with Program domain Best Practices must consider both of these aspects.

Generally speaking, standardizing Program Management processes depends on standardizing the Project Management processes for the projects within that program. This same reasoning can be extended to process measurement, control, and continuous improvement.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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