This two-part paper was submitted for publication October 22, 2008, and is reprinted with permission.
It is copyright to J. LeRoy Ward and ESI International.
Published here March 2009.

Introduction | Program Management Challenges 
Essential Steps for Delivering Successful Programs - Steps 1-2
Steps 3-4 | Steps 5-6 | Steps 7-8 | Steps 9-10 | Delivering Program Success in Your Organization

Essential Steps for Delivering Successful Programs -
Steps 9 & 10

9.  Identify Achievable Benefits and Requirements

The attainability of program benefits is directly linked to the achievability of the stipulated requirements. For a program to have any chance of success, it is vital that requirements and benefits be:

  • Realistic
  • Clearly articulated
  • Understood by all stakeholders
  • Accepted and signed off as viable
  • Supported by a rigorous change management process

Benefits management is best led by a change manager who can link outcomes to strategies, events and assumptions. He or she should also establish agreed-upon benefits-tracking metrics. Without an agreed-upon measurement system in place, disagreements will be inevitable and the entire program will suffer.

Requirements management is ideally led by a qualified business analyst. This critical role must ensure that the front end of the program and any later projects are consistent with common practices and processes for requirements elicitation and documentation.

Lastly, it's essential to include benefits and requirements impact assessments in order to counter creeping commitments and to maintain control.

10.  Facilitate Effective Change Management

A program's deliverables will typically impact multiple facets of an organization, so effective change management is essential. An appointed change manager, as mentioned earlier, will facilitate widespread understanding and acceptance of program goals, solutions and outcomes. A change manger should:

  • Identify the need for change
  • Define compelling vision or "to-be" state
  • Choose a change strategy
  • Engage the support of stakeholders
  • Assess the organization's readiness for change
  • Implement change strategy

Each of these change management activities will, among other things, help provide the basis for an inspiring change vision, facilitate a unity of understanding about exactly what will change within the organization, help individual employees understand how they can contribute to the end goal and, finally, garner internal support for the change initiative.

I've been a part of many such programs over the years, and I can say with confidence that a program will never suffer from too much support.

Essential Steps for Delivering Successful Programs - Steps 7 & 8  Steps 7 & 8

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