Program management as a concept for implementing strategic initiatives

Strategic initiatives and extensive projects are made up of a large number of projects that often have complex interdependencies in terms of content, time and resources. A successful transformation of such projects requires the recording and coordination of the projects based on a holistic view. Today, these challenges are implemented in different ways in companies. Program management is an organizational concept that addresses these challenges in a targeted manner. Global standards as best practice frameworks have been developed by major international institutions and underline the importance of program management. This paper deals with one of these best practices, brings its own experience from consulting practice, presents methodologies for comprehensive program planning and control and offers an overview of marketable software tools for enterprise project management.

Basics, tasks, and challenges of program management

In today’s increasingly complex and rapidly changing business environment, many managers are faced with the question of how to successfully and successfully operationalize strategic initiatives and large-scale projects as part of project work.

Program management has established itself as a proven organizational concept for overcoming such challenges.

A program is usually characterized by a project:

  • the special strategic character and the high importance for the company
  • the strong character of change
  • the higher economic risk
  • i.d. R. high investment sums
  • high complexity and longer-term
  • a large number of internal and external stakeholders

The possible proportion of operational work, i.e. no project work

  • A focus on achieving the intended business benefit through the coordination of several interdependent and contextually related projects

Many of these criteria also apply to large-scale projects, which are often divided into individual sub-projects.

The subdivision follows, among other things. the purpose:

  • reduce complexity
  • improve controlling and make project management more effective
  • develop existing synergies between projects

When looking through the current literature, it is noticeable that there is no clear distinction in terms of content or concept between the program and the major project.

Large project management can be understood as the coordination of sub / sub-projects on a (large) topic. Program management usually controls individual projects in a subject area, each pursuing one or more goals, but these goals are subordinate to a common, overarching goal.

In addition, work elements are coordinated that are not projects but have an operational character.

Typical programs include mergers and acquisitions, the implementation of a comprehensive IT solution, the reorganization of a group of companies into a holding company and large investments such as in plant construction.