Alan Harpham, Chairman of the APM Group, UK

An update of a paper originally presented at The 16th International Project Management Association's World Congress in Berlin, 2002.

Copyright Alan Harpham.
Published here March 2003.

PART 1 | How and Where | How does Program Management Fit
Program Management | Framework | Reflections
Business Change Manager | Key Processes | Accreditation | Conclusions

Key Processes

Like project management, program management has a number of key processes and principles. The MSP guide identifies six processes, or you might call them stages? These are:

• Identifying a program
- to structure and formalize the program based on the strategic initiatives of the sponsoring organization.
• Defining a program
- to develop a complete definition of the program such that the funding requirements can be committed.
• Establishing a program
- to set up the program environment in terms of personnel, working practices and standards.
• Managing the portfolio
- to manage the Project Portfolio such that the required benefits are delivered.
• Delivering the benefits
- to manage the benefits realization process and to provide a transition to the new way of working, and
• Closing a program
- to formally close down the program and confirm delivery of the Blueprint and Vision Statement.

One of the key differences between a program and a project is that a project has a clear start and end. Programs do not necessarily have a clear start and end, although there are exceptions such as the Y2K program. This means that some of the stages above may be somewhat hazy and become more refined as the program progresses. Rather than sounding as clear cut as the MSP guide implies in the process descriptions above, projects will come and go, and get completed as the program progresses.

MSP also identifies eight principles, or you might call them processes? These are:

• Program management organization
• Program planning
• Benefits management
- to identify, optimize and track the expected benefits from business change to ensure that they are achieved
• Stakeholder management
• Issue and risk management
• Quality management
• Configuration management, and
• Audit.

Once again, details of these "processes and principles" can be found in the MSP guide.

Business Change Manager  Business Change Manager

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