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How do I manage a program of work?

September 6th, 2011

Managing Multiple projects can be very challenging.  Each project will require attention to detail to the core concepts of time, cost, and scope to name a few.  So you ask,”How do I manage this and all the other “unwritten” responsibilities?”  Well, below are few pointers that could help you in becoming a successfully Program Manager.  Just remember your core responsibility is to be the Master Communicator for all your written and unwritten responsibilities.

What is a Program?

First, Let’s define what is a Program? A simple definition: It’s a group of projects. Detailed definition:  A program consists of projects that are grouped together to achieve a common solution to a foreseen business requirement or problem.  A program will typically have common objectives in the business strategy.  A program could also include operational work within their scope that makes them different.

I’m guessing you are looking into this topic because you’ve been asked to run a program to build a new solution, which involves multiple projects and/or some general marketing activities,etc. How do you do it?

Here are some tips:

Understand the Strategy

Prior to starting on the program of work, the first step is to review your company’s mission, vision, and strategy.  Next it is crucial that you agree and understand the objectives that your program is responsible for delivering. This is crucial because you are responsible for the success of the projects in program based on the set objectives.  In addition, it also allows you create and manage projects that meet the core objectives of the program!  Remember you are “In Charge” for the program you’ve been handed the keys to!

Got Support?

For a successful program complete, it is very important that you gain a support crew.  The support crew normally composes of executive team, SME, marketing, finance group, and technical teams.  In order to gain the support of your “crew”, complete the business case, as this will help you in identifying the benefits, costs, risks of running the program, along with the necessary funding that is required to get the program started on a good foot.

Strategic Planning

Now that you have created your support group and needed funding you are ready to get started. Before scoping your projecte create a Program Charter setting your vision, objectives, roadmap, and deliverable. At this point, a Program Management Office and appoint key members of your administration and technology team.

Now that key member are assigned, define your projects and other related work. Scope out each project carefully. Selecting the right projects for the program to deliver the right benefits is critical. Make sure you categorize, evaluate, select and prioritize your projects carefully.

Execution…Execution…Execution…

Now plan your program resources evenly so you don’t have resource constraints.  Schedule smaller projects then larger projects next, once you have momentum. A good rule of thumb is to never schedule critical projects to take place at the end. To continue gaining support of your “support crew” ensure that you ROI is seen earlier in the project deliverable.

Challenge Management

Once your projects kick off, changes in the business requirements of the program often cause a level of chaos. When your projects change in scope, the budgets get constrained and resource shortages start occurring. How you control & adopt to these change will determine your level of success as a Program Manager.  When this happens, you must step back and re-assess your program. Many times, it is the outside influences that cause these are things.

We are RIA Mobile Solutions,  hope these tips help you in improving your program management skill success! Have fun managing your projects and feel free to ask any further questions.