What is it?
Closely allied to Project Management,
Programme Management is defined by the Government Centre for Information Systems as
the co-ordinated management of a portfolio of projects in order to achieve a set of business objectives.
How can it be used?
Programme Management can be used in organisations in a number of ways, which will include the following:
- To co-ordinate the management of a portfolio of projects that change organisations to achieve benefits that are
of strategic importance.
- To bring related projects together in order to manage their inter-dependencies.
It enables a strategic view to be taken over a set of projects, aligning and co-ordinating them within a
programme of business change
in support of specific business strategies.
- To provide the framework for implementing business strategies and initiatives, or large scale change,
and help to organise,
manage, accommodate and control these changes.
- The creation of a structured framework for defining and implementing change within an organisation.
The programme management framework covers organisation, processes, outputs and ways of thinking that focus on delivering
new capabilities and benefits.
- The programme management programme selects or commissions projects, providing the overall co-ordination,
control and integration of the projects' delivery.
Programme Management includes the process of managing benefits from their initial identification and definition through to the
eventual realisation and achievement of measurable improvements.
The driver for a programme management programme is normally the ongoing viability and relevance of the programme's
and the justification of benefit against costs.
The information that will be obtained is normally analysed in a Programme Support Office that will enable the
Programme Manager to:
- Identify, resource or prioritise conflicts as new projects are added to the programme by reviewing both existing
and new project
plans for conflicts of resource or timescales. Identify, manage and authorise requests for change after ensuring
that an assessment
of the impact of that change on other projects within the Programme takes place.
- Manage the critical path within the Programme by monitoring the critical deliverables within the programme's
projects and supporting the achievement of those milestones by the project managers.
- Review regular project reports and act to resolve or escalate any concerns expressed by the project managers.
- Wherever possible identify or forecast potential problems with milestone delivery.
- Monitor over and under spend of various project budgets in conjunction with milestone achievement in order to
avert potential problems.
- Ensure the project managers compliance with the best practices of project management and the project practices
of the organisation.
- Ensure that a review of the project risk takes place. Remain aware of the need to assess the continuing validity and/or
priority of any project.
Advantages & Disadvantages
The major benefits of Programme Management when applied in a multiple project environment are:
- Comprehensive and clear overview of all the active projects
- Early identification (and consequent escalation and resolution) of issues
- Change authorisation together with impact assessment and control
- Early identification and/or forecasting of resource conflicts
- All project records held in one central repository
- Consistency of approach, management and reporting
- Clear responsibility for the function
- Cross fertilisation of ideas -
the Programme Support Office becomes a central pool for information,
which may include ideas on improved project management and methodology.
Probably the main disadvantage of Programme Management is that it could become too bureaucratic and impose
too many constraints on the
Rather than assisting the process it could be seen as merely placing a series of hurdles in the way of effective change and
associated project management.