One problem that programme managers come up against is the terminology. If you are working on a programme but your stakeholders still insist on using the word ‘project’, what can you do to ensure the message gets across that it is bigger than just one piece of work?
One needs to “drip feed” the notion that what they are working on is really a programme of interconnected projects rather than a project itself. One way to do this is to make sure that, as a programme manager, one is meeting with all project managers on a regular basis as a group. As each project manager is providing status and discussing his or her contribution to the greater whole, it will become evident that the work to be done is much broader and more comprehensive than a single project. That said, there are many companies that have their own vernacular which may be very difficult to change so one should not buck the “system” too much as it simply isn’t worth the political capital. Focusing on the work to be done, more than the way it is described, will mean success for the programme manager.
That’s great advice, thanks! Do you have another top tip for effective programme management?
Always keep in mind the stated benefits for launching the programme in the first place. For example, we are now implementing a content management system in the company. The reason we are doing this, broadly speaking, is to enable ESI to develop courses faster, better, and with less cost. The CMS program consists of multiple projects, from organizing our vast library of materials, to technical implementation, training, and other things. As a programme manager, our VP for Product Development, while needing to ensure that each project is completed, needs to ensure that the sum total of all the projects will meet our overall business goal of facilitating our product development process. In many programmes, there is a position called “benefits realization manager” simply to ensure that the business benefits are always front and center.
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Dr. Paul Giammalvo
4/4/2009 6:28 AM
Hi Elizabeth and Leroy,
With all due respect to Leroy's dictionary, 2 years research conducted by Bill Duncan, Ishi Ishikawa and I for the Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (GAPPS) showed that in the marketplace, the definition Leroy is but one of 4 definitions for program. http://www.globalpmstandards.org/program-manager-standards/general/defining-program-types/
I think it is a disservice to the practice of project and program management that we publish these dictionaries without recognizing that multiple definitions exist and providing background as to why one definition is prefereed over another. An example of this would be the highly regarded work of Max Wideman, with his Comparative Glossary of Project Management Terms. http://www.maxwideman.com/pmglossary/index.htm
Bottom line- I would honestly hope that we move the practice of project management to a more advanced level, not by rehashing what already has been done, but by performing a critical analysis of what is and why project and programs seem to fail with such alarming frequency and regularity. I think a good place to start would be with the lexicon.
Dr. PDG, Jakarta
4/6/2009 8:35 PM
I think that there is a place for definitions and dictionaries, especially for beginners to project and programme management. However, there are inherent limitations on any vocabulary and we need to recognise that too. The risk is that by presenting the beginner with four different (albeit allied) definitions of a programme we create more confusion. More advanced practitioners can debate the intricacies of the meta-language created by PM as they see fit.
I would argue that it doesn't matter how you define a programme: if you find a way of getting cohesive agreement from all parties about the work that you are doing and the benefits it will bring, whatever that definition looks like, you are in a good place to be one of the programmes that succeeds - and not one that fails.
Thanks for taking the time to comment.
4/9/2009 12:02 PM
Thanks for posting the article, it's a common question we get asked and I feel you've answered it well!
Readers may also find the following link useful on the PM Careers website:
mais sobre projetos e programas |&n
6/4/2009 11:42 PM
[...] sobre a diferença entre projetos e programas. Acrescento mais uma visão sobre o assunto do artigo The difference between projects and programmes, blog PMTips. Many of us would class ourselves as project managers, and some of us aspire to be [...]
11/18/2009 7:36 PM
PROJECTS SEEMS TO BRING CONTRADICTION WITH APROGRAMME
11/14/2012 12:21 PM
Thank you so much for such an article. I have read it once but I have understood the real difference between the two.
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