This video outlines the key roles and responsibilities of a project manager in shaping a programme, and the benefits and challenges that come with this.
- According to the APM BOK 7, "a program is a unique, transient strategic endeavor undertaken to achieve beneficial change and incorporating a group of related and business-as-usual steady-state activities." In this video we'll talk about the difference between program and project management, program manager roles and responsibilities, and the benefits and challenges of program management. The difference between programs and projects is actually pretty simple. Projects exist for a specific timeframe to produce or to change something. And then the project team is broken up. Programs are used to help transform an organization over time. So programs all have benefits that are realized throughout its life cycle and not just at the very end. They can easily last for years. Programs also have a single business case that the project business cases will align to. They focus on iterative delivery of outcomes and benefits, manage the transition in BAU, business-as-usual, and are concerned with strategic benefits. Okay, so now you know what programs are all about, let's delve into the benefits and challenges of program management starting with the benefits. Program management offers effective prioritization of individual projects based on their contribution to the program objectives and the broader strategic objectives. Efficient and effective management of resources, including the sharing of overheads, for example, the PMO, and prioritization of scarce resources. A consistent view of interdependencies between multiple projects and business-as-usual, which makes the transition from project to operations run more smoothly. The ability to manage risks, issues and changes more completely. The program can define the standards the projects will use to manage these disciplines. More effective communication due to consistent reporting and escalation processes in addition to a single point of contact. And focus on how projects contribute to the program objectives, opposed to only considering each individual projects time, cost and quality success criteria, program management looks at the bigger picture. Programs are a great way to deal with very large change initiatives with large visions. Last up for this video, let's talk about five of the challenges associated with program management. From an organizational perspective, programs are challenges because while they do have the same triple constraints as a project, so time, cost and quality, it can be very difficult to scope these at the start of a program. Next up, communication. As a program manager, you must be empowered to make and communicate decisions. Communication has to be clear and consistent across project functional boundaries, because you're going to have a lot more stakeholders than if you were just working on one project. Managing change in a program, and also in the projects aligned with a program, is an ongoing activity. And as a program manager, something you need to be keenly aware of. Conflict is also pretty much inevitable within a program as they're so large and involve so many stakeholders. You'll need to manage conflict often, so it's important to prepare for it. Last up, uncertainty. Programs help manage uncertainty with a general vision, but because the details can be fuzzy, dealing with this uncertainty can be really challenging. And that's it for this video. As you've seen, programs and projects need to be aligned to succeed. Programs have a much wider scope than projects and come with their own unique benefits and challenges. And as a program manager, you'll be in a position to manage all of these.