If you want to make enemies, try to change something. – Woodrow Wilson
Programme management gives the organisation an over-arching view of ‘sets of projects’ with a clear focus on the overall business need, rather than ‘tunnel vision’ towards any single project or aspect thereof.
Business change is necessary for an organisation to adapt and thrive, however it almost undoubtedly carries with it significant business risk. It will therefore be of little surprise that when implementing business change, organisations seek an effective way of monitoring and controlling the progress of multiple projects.
More often than not, this task lands at the feet of the Programme Manager.
This is a position geared towards delivering change in an efficient and effective manner. An organisation will expect the programme manager to provide regular updates on the health and status of the projects they oversee and ensure that the investment is on course to deliver the required change.
Without programme management, the series of projects required to drive the business change would fall solely under the control and influence of their respective project managers. They would then need to attempt to balance the day-to-day tasks and stresses of delivering their project with the ‘bigger picture’ approach of attempting to ensure their project is in line with the other related projects.
The lack of clear focus and no single point of control and accountability are only likely to increase the chances of project failure or result in the culmination of the projects failing to provide an adequate solution to the business need. In short this would provide a fragmented and unstructured approach to business change and carry with it far greater risks.
In complex organisations, it is simply unrealistic to expect multiple project managers to be able to deliver successful projects while balancing the wider needs of business without the support of a structured framework – which is exactly what programme management provides!
Steve Twine is a director at Focus-on-Training, specialist providers of project management training courses. Steve Twine started Focus on Training following an international career in project management in first tier suppliers to the automotive industry.
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