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 Programme Management Explained | PM Tools - PM Tools

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Programme Management Explained

Alan Harpham, Chairman of the APM Group, defines Programme Management as: “A set of related projects with a common strategic goal or aim.”This is not to confuse Programme Management with Portfolio Management, which describes the management of a set of not-necessarily-related projects, which are more usually united by shared resources than by a common strategic goal.Programme Management is the practice of transmuting leadership ‘vision’ into visible outcome, through the implementation of multiple, interrelated projects. While the component projects are intended to deliver specific products or outputs (for example: a new advertising strategy, redevelopment of a curriculum or training program), the overarching programme delivers outcomes – for example, the benefits that a new advertising strategy is intended to provide.  When is Programme Management necessary?Alan Harpham went on in the same paper to describe Programme Management as a branch of Change Management, concerned purely with proactive (as opposed to reactive) change. According to the OCG (the Office of Government Commerce), one of the primary benefits of MSP, the Programme Management methodology, is “the effective delivery of changes … planned and implemented in an integrated way” with a constant focus on the business interests and change objectives of the organisation.Programme Management enables leaders to articulate a vision of the future state of the organisation, and then to work backwards from this vision to develop a strategy of changes required for its fulfilment. Once the necessary changes have been identified, a programme (or programmes) are devised with specific business outcomes in mind. These programmes then become the initiation for Project Mandates, the document that kick-starts an individual project. What are the advantages of Programme Management?The advantage of Programme Management is that it ensures all projects and project tasks are channelled towards achieving the programme goal. This ‘streamlining’ prevents any project being carried forward for its own sake, instead requiring Programme Managers to ‘murder their darlings’ (the individual projects) for the greater good (the programme).One of the greatest benefits of using a structured framework for Programme Management, such as MSP, is that it reduces the potential for going off-track, and helps Programme Managers to remain focused on the strategy behind the programme and the vision that it is meant to achieve.

Simon Buehring is a project manager, consultant and trainer. He works for KnowledgeTrain which offers training in managing successful programmes and MSP courses in the UK and overseas. He can be contacted via the programme management training website.

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