Put together the right programs

The “Project Maturity” influences whether the correct assessments and decisions, which are often of considerable significance, are made at the management level and whether the program achieves the intended goals.

It is therefore not surprising that the following key weaknesses were identified in cross-sector studies in which large companies participated:

  • Missing information about the project landscape
  • Implementation problems when enforcing priorities
  • Lack of exploitation of synergy potential
  • Lack of transparency from top

Management decisions/lack of strategy transparency

Dependencies between projects are not recognized, which can lead to far-reaching wrong decisions.

Programs and projects compete for resources. Prioritization, release and correct allocation of resources often lead to frequent iterations and inefficiencies in reconciliation.

Synergies are not used, conflicts are not recognized in time. Often, the short-term perspective when selecting projects should be mentioned, which does not make it possible to determine synergy potential through the collaborative effects of projects.

The lack of transparency regarding management decisions and frequent partial drastic changes of course lead in the long term to a lack of acceptance of decisions.

Added value through program management

Program management in conjunction with the Portfolio Management project can contribute to

  • Provide qualified information about your own project landscape company-wide
  • to achieve improved resource use and project prioritization
  • To achieve improved risk management of the interdependent projects in one program
  • To provide a comprehensive control framework in which the generation of business benefits, costs, time and quality can be assessed and measured
  • optimize the alignment of programs and projects with the business strategy
  • To achieve better support for decision-making regarding strategic initiatives by top management

Put together the right programs

The question of how the often diverse initiatives, projects and plans are to be broken down and prioritized can be answered within the project portfolio management.

In the first step of the project portfolio management process, the derivation of “strategic buckets” can be carried out on the basis of the corporate strategy, in which programs and projects are prioritized and sorted in the further planning and selection process.

Areas of program management – best practices

According to the PMI standard “Program Management”, three core areas are addressed, which extend over the entire program life cycle and are key to the success of a program.

  • Program Benefits Management
  • Program stakeholder management
  • Program governance

Program Benefits Management

Ensures that the company receives the expected benefits and their sustainable security from the funds invested. The definition of the benefits and the expected results are the result of the overarching project portfolio management process.

Benefits can be quantifiable, expressed in financial terms (e.g. sales growth) or only qualitatively (e.g. customer satisfaction), whereby qualitative benefits usually make a contribution to quantitative benefits.

Benefits management spans the entire program life cycle and includes:

  • Definition of each individual utility value and how it can be realized
  • Mapping the utility values based on the program result
  • Metrics and procedures to measure the achievement of value
  • Definition of roles and responsibilities for Benefit management
  • Communication plan for benefit management
  • Transfer of the program into the operational routine and ensuring the sustainability of the benefits achieved

Program stakeholder management

Identifies all participants (people and organizations, internal or external) on different hierarchical levels whose interests are influenced positively or negatively by the program. Stakeholders are a critical factor for program success because, depending on whether they recognize the benefits or see a threat scenario for themselves, they can support or hinder program progress.

The program manager must recognize the position of the individual stakeholders on the program, how they can exert influence and where they derive their power from. In order to avert negative influences, critical stakeholders must be convinced of the benefits. Adequate marketing of the program is often required here, among other things.

A lot of political and diplomatic skill and empathy is required to balance the often different interests of those involved.

Stakeholder management also plays a major role in change management. Programs often result in organizational changes, so the program manager should have a good understanding of the accepted methods of organizational change management.

Program governance

Defines the framework in which decisions are effectively made and in which the result management is focused on the consistent achievement of goals, taking into account the risks and the requirements of the stakeholders.

Policies & procedures, the necessary organizational structures, and best practices are developed, implemented, monitored and adhered to throughout the program.

Program governance extends along the entire project life cycle and includes the management of corporate investments and the control of the generation of value in use as the program progresses.

Control is achieved, among other things, via aggregate program progress reports (e.g. based on predefined milestones) and, in particular, routinely through phase gate reviews as a defined decision point for the go/no-go for entering the next phase at the end of each phase of the program life cycle ,

Phase model, however, the program can be structured according to general main phases and their work results.

Phase gate reviews focus on the objective assessment of whether:

  • the program and its projects continue to follow the corporate strategy
  • the expected benefits develop in accordance with the planning
  • the risks remain acceptable
  • the previously defined procedures are followed