Ensure Your Program and Project Management Success

Program and Project Management Leadership

Effective program and project management leadership, in support of your business objectives; allows you to address and implement change, while executing on your strategies and tactics.  Whether implementing change elements or executing strategies and tactics, both involve a focused investment in your business.  Your initial "investment" SHOULD be to establish a focused approach to best ensure that all of your projects are successful. 


The VALUE of this initial investment approach enables your business to apply consistency to program and project management and gives you the opportunity to ensure all projects are viewed as part of an overall business investment portfolio.


Sounds good – so, what steps do you need to take to have effective, profitable program and project management?

  1. Establish a project management approach appropriate for your organization – a combination of elements of a recognized methodology, governance, project scope management, project risk management, scheduling, change management, and the use of tools, such as Microsoft Project
  2. Ensure that your Business and Operational Requirements (functional and non-functional) are correctly documented.  Not only critical for your project, this is critical for an effective competitive selection process should you need to source third-party services and/or technologies
  3. Work with your team and your selected vendor(s) to translate the documented Requirements into technical/system requirements.
  4. Setup an appropriate process (appropriate for your organization) to facilitate any competitive sourcing of specific technology solution components or business services
  5. Negotiate with the selected vendor(s), in order to obtain the best terms possible, according to the scope of the project and your business constraints.
  6. Ensure that the agreed-to project Scope of Work correctly reflects your requirements, the selected vendor's proposal commitments, and the negotiated and agreed-to contract terms -- to minimize the potential for surprises.
  7. Assign experienced project managers and make sure project controls, monitoring, and reporting are sufficient for your organization
  8.  Monitor progress and celebrate successes


Technology-based solutions to implement chosen change elements are driven by the documented business and operational requirements.  Their design may involve a single application, on a single platform, affecting a single process -- OR -- the solution may involve multiple applications, a layered architecture, multiple platforms, and one-or-more end-to-end processes.

Finally, always use a "competitive" process to select a vendor.  In addition, the selection process should remain competitive as long into the process as possible.  In fact, for more complex solutions, you should attempt to derive value from the selection process -- for example, have the competing vendors provide a design deliverable critical to the implementation, or have them develop and deliver a portion of the customized software.  In these examples, the selection process then encompasses your evaluation of this deliverable.

Implementing the Effects of Change

In today's business environment, change is continuous and constant.  Innovation, transformation, and implementation projects are methods for an organization to incorporate the effects of change.  For example, changes in an organization's environment may prompt them to explore new approaches to growth. So, to drive growth they may modify their business model; design and market a new product and/or service; develop and expand into new lines of business; or create and cultivate new sales channels.

Successfully implementing strategies such as these is dependent on a solid implementation plan and disciplined approach – a written plan, along with a "tried and true" methodology.

Implementing a solution which satisfies the strategies ("executing a strategy") is essentially a project.  Effective program and project management execution requires a written, agreed-to plan, along with a project management methodology to guide the execution of the plan. 

It is the same with ALL successful projects and contains the following elements:  

  • Define strategy and align initiatives, metrics, people, and tasks with business objectives
  • Clearly communicate business strategies, tactics, and execution plans to all stakeholders
  • Use incentives to drive the individual behaviors needed to achieve business objectives
  • Collaborate and monitor progress and performance regularly to anticipate and identify problem and risk areas
  • Measure performance using business KPI's and attempt to resolve issues as early as possible in the execution (or project)

Program and Project Management Approach

For most organizations, you will typically use a combination of PMBOK® (PMI) and PRINCE2®, as your project management methodology and to added the critical structure.  

Use the appropriate elements of each methodology that best fit with your organization.  For example, you might decide to use the project management processes specified in PMBOK®, supplemented with the Project Board element found in PRINCE2®, to give a stronger focus on project governance.

Always keep ALL project efforts focused on the three "legs" of - people, schedule, and budget.


Remember, the primary cause of project failure is lack of communication between the Project Manager and the stakeholders.  With that in mind, make sure your project manager opens and maintains regular communication between the Project Team and Stakeholders.  A Communications Plan (part of the initial Project Management Plan, developed before the commencement of the project) should detail these communications.

Depending on the complexity of your projects and your organizational requirements, you may choose to use software tools for scheduling, budgeting and resource management.  For example, the use of Microsoft Project® for scheduling and MS-Excel® for budgeting and resource management.  

In the absence of existing software tools for individual projects, and if you choose to use software tools for project management, consider the use of Microsoft Project® and MS-Excel®.  For more distributed organizations, you may also consider the use of web-based collaboration tools which have a project management component, such as Monday, Wrike, Dropbox, and Zoom.

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