A Programme delivers benefits to an organisation through strategic Change. Based on an agreed vision of how the organisation or business will look in the future, Programme Management provides a structured framework to co-ordinate, communicate, align, manage and control the activities involved. Programmes connect the delivery of change to the strategic objectives and direction of the organisation and should be Planned accordingly. Programme Management is designed to guide the organisation through this dynamic environment, refining and re-focussing as necessary along the way. Programmes are concerned with delivering outcomes whereas Projects are focussed on outputs. Programmes should engage with the NI Gateway Review process and plan for a series of Gate 0 reviews at appropriate points.
Programmes consist of a number of Projects and Programme Management provides the means of managing and coordinating Project outputs and capabilities in order to deliver business Benefits. Unlike most Projects, Programmes can be difficult to define and scope. Quite often at the outset of a Programme an idea of the final destination exists but the precise means of getting there is unclear. The justification for a programme rests in a Business Case which should be an aggregate of the estimated investment in the projects belonging to the programme.
Programmes and Projects are part of an organisation’s overall Portfolio of delivery activity. Programmes require a mandate from a senior management Sponsoring Group and the personal ownership and accountability of a single Senior responsible Owner (SRO). A Programme Manager should be appointed to drive the proposed change forward and oversee the links and dependencies between the programme’s projects. The establishment of a Programme Management Office (PMO) is recommended to support the programme and act as an information hub.
Programmes should set out how they intend to approach a number of key areas and usually require strategies for the management of benefits, Communications, Risks, Issues and for the engagement of Stakeholders.
Post-Review is an important part of an effective programme management approach and reviews should be carried out at appropriate points along the programme as well as at programme closure. Reviews will examine a range of outcomes including how well projected benefits are being realised and if initiatives such as sustainability have been fully considered. Lessons Learned should be captured and communicated as part of these reviews and should include key lessons emerging at project level.