Essential Steps for Delivering Successful Programs -
Steps 1 & 2
1. Generate a Solid Business Case
To determine whether a program should be initiated and continued through to
its conclusion, a business case is needed. An effective business case provides
the required justification to commit the organization's resources (time, money
and effort) towards a program's intended outcomes and benefits. In particular,
it should reflect the most important strategic dimensions and clearly articulate
how the program will address and support these dimensions. A successful business
case must address the following questions:
- Why is the program important and what does it need to achieve?
- What is the current state and why does it need to change?
- What will the end state look like?
The answers to these questions will include a description of the anticipated
outcomes and benefits. This information should then be weighed against estimates
on what it will take to execute the program. Acquiring the right level and quality
of data to satisfy the decision makers will often entail an iterative process.
Multiple reviews and refinements of the business case should, of course, be expected.
2. Establish the Right Program Organization
While programs will differ vastly in terms of team size, a number of crucial
roles must exist to ensure proper governance (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Program Organization
- Program sponsorship
Success will depend heavily on the quality of the program's sponsors. Program
sponsorship typically resides not with one person but within a governance board
or steering committee headed by an executive sponsor. This group provides authority
on program funding, purpose and direction.
- Program manager
The program manager or director manages the program plan on a day-to-day basis
and defines the overall management process. He or she is responsible for the overall
coordination and integration of the component projects and operations to ultimately
meet program objectives.
- Change manager
The change manager should have significant input into the business case and prepares
the organization for the change that the program will inevitably bring. He or
she should be responsible for aligning stakeholders' understanding of program
goals and managing customer expectations.
- Risk manager
A risk manager should be appointed to define and implement the risk management
process. This may include overseeing risk identification, analysis and response
within each of the component projects. However, the key risk function of this
professional is a focus on overall program risk, which includes threats and opportunities
that can influence the success of achieving the program's stated objectives and
- Business analyst
The business analyst specializes in requirements elicitation, analysis and documentation.
He or she will coordinate requirements scope across projects, evaluate change
requests and perform quality assurance to verify program deliverables.
- Program office manager
The program office manager sets standards for program and project management practices;
provides administrative support in program planning, resourcing and communications;
and consolidates project progress information in support of program performance
to Wideman, 2008, there are six critical elements to an effective program or portfolio
Business case, see Issacon iac1004c11 page 8) namely:
1. The opportunity or problem to be solved
2. The resulting deliverables
3. The measurable benefits to be expected
4. The level of predictability of the entire exercise (risks)
5. An outline plan for development, deployment, and tracking
6. Level of stakeholder or business unit commitment