Programme management an introduction


Published on

Documento di approfondimento al seminario del 27 Gennaio 2011 "La Figura del Programme Manager"

Programme management provides a structured process and environment to co-ordinate,
communicate, align, manage and control activities and a starting point for exploring
novel ways of thinking and developing appropriate skills and expertise. The focus for
programmes is the desired outcome or goals of the change, rather than specific
deliverables emanating from individual projects, and encompasses the changes to be
made to organisational processes, behaviours, attitudes, or ways of working that are
required to initiate and sustain lasting and beneficial change. Table 1 outlines some
contexts where programme management may be useful.

Published in: Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Programme management an introduction

  1. 1. PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT: AN INTRODUCTION Sergio PellegrinelliThe Role and Nature of Programme ManagementRapid, and sometimes fundamental, change appears to be a prerequisite fororganisational, or societal, success and vitality. Whether this change entails thedevelopment of new, or improvement of existing, products and services, the introductionof new processes or the merger of organisations, multiple relates streams of change haveto occur in a coherent and controlled fashion. Major change is characterised bycomplexity and risk, interdependencies and conflicting priorities and demands.Programme management is a structured framework that can help organisations deliverchange effectively and realise the desired benefits.Programme management provides a structured process and environment to co-ordinate,communicate, align, manage and control activities and a starting point for exploringnovel ways of thinking and developing appropriate skills and expertise. The focus forprogrammes is the desired outcome or goals of the change, rather than specificdeliverables emanating from individual projects, and encompasses the changes to bemade to organisational processes, behaviours, attitudes, or ways of working that arerequired to initiate and sustain lasting and beneficial change. Table 1 outlines somecontexts where programme management may be useful.Contexts for Programme ManagementProgramme management principles may be applied to any programme or changeinitiative, whatever the level of its focus or the nature of its outcomes, providing structureand process. Using programme management as a formal discipline, though, requiresresources and demands skilled and experienced individuals, and so a programmemanagement ‘overlay’ on existing project and/or operational processes may not bewarranted. Programme management has particular advantages where the context isshifting, ambiguous and complex: the programme management framework enables thegoals to be achieved through the scoping and definition of projects and delivery oftangible outcomes. The total scope of the programme or initiative can emerge gradually,through incremental scope and directional adjustments as ambiguities are clarified whileretaining strategic fit. Programme can also cope better with multiple stakeholders withincongruent demands, and the consequent need to mediate between various parties andreconcile tensions and divergent interests. Programme management also seeks tointegrate project deliverables and operational change within the on-going routines of thebusiness. The aim is to embed the change without unnecessarily disrupting the rhythm ofthe organisation or alienating those within the organisation or community whose co-operation or active participation is essential for the effective delivery of the benefits.Programme Management: An IntroductionSergio Pellegrinelli Page 1
  2. 2. TABLE 1: CONTEXTS FOR PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT Situation How Programme Management helps Where strategic objectives are To specify intermediate outcomes and to break shifting, evolving or difficult to down activity into manageable chunks or translate into clear operational projects changes Where there is complexity or To co-ordinate activities across many functions, large-scale change business units or organisations and ensure effective communications and coherent design interfaces between projects Where resources are scarce and To set priorities and resolve conflicts. To focus are used by multiple projects on those projects and activities that will deliver the strategic objectives Where project utilise common To identify and exploit synergies and resources or technologies opportunities for sharing and learning Where there is uncertainty and To facilitate informed decision-making and probability of change during the appropriate adjustments course of the programme Where the strategic objectives are To sequence projects so benefits are realised realised through multiple project early and a solid platform for future deliverables deliverables is put in place Where there is a requirement for To prioritise, evaluate, align and co-ordinate a enhancements to existing range of up-grades and/or continuous infrastructure or process improvements to business operations and improvements services Where there is a high degree of To identify, monitor and reduce the risk, and risk from the business where unavoidable reduce the impact of failure environmental on the organisationProgrammatic ChangeMajor change is rarely straightforward and grasping the full scope and the ramificationsof the change is often difficult at the outset. Defining ultimate and intermediate outcomesand the route to their achievement requires consideration of numerous factors andjudgement. The programme management team usually need to spend time and effort in: Understanding the strategic context and drivers of the businessProgramme Management: An IntroductionSergio Pellegrinelli Page 2
  3. 3.  Understanding past change initiatives, as well as the interdependencies between this change and other change initiatives underway or planned Shaping the change process to enable ‘business as usual’ and allow the organisation, or community, to absorb the deliverables or changes emanating from the programme Promoting and establishing the objectives and benefits of the change Consulting and involving those involved in or affected by the change so they understand the implications of the desired outcomes and their contribution Recognising and mitigating those factors that could affect, constrain, block or influence the outcome(s).A programme is a major undertaking for most organisations, entailing significant fundingand substantial change, which is influenced, and influences, wider internal drivers and theexternal business environment.Programmes and Programme Management: Comparison and SynthesisProgrammes are frameworks (of various configurations) to co-ordinate, communicate,align, manage and control (primarily ‘project’) activities to achieve a desired synergy,benefits, outcome or vision. A (goal-oriented) programme’s vision and hence its successcriteria are usually more strategic, such as the creation of competitive advantage, nationalsecurity or enhanced social welfare, and so programme outcomes are less tangible thenmight be found in or desired of projects. Compared to projects, programmes areemergent in terms of their content, scope and final outcome, have a far less definite timehorizon (and so less temporary in nature) and are far more embedded (so less insular andgeneric/standardised) within the political, cultural and governance norms of theorganisation or community they seek to serve. They have porous, malleable boundaries,and are often embedded within on-going routines, operations and decision-makingprocesses. They draw upon the contribution and participation of diverse stakeholders.Programmes and their managers cope with business and societal environments that areinherently complex, ambiguous, fluid and unstable. Consequently, managers ofprogrammes strive to accommodate shifting agendas, flex to changing circumstances,reconcile divergent interests and aspirations, engage stakeholders and contributors, andenable change. Programme (managers) operate in ‘grey’ environments and deal withpowerful political forces and greater pluralism.Beyond the tangible deliverables, a programme’s content encompasses the changes to bemade to processes, behaviours, attitudes, or ways of working that are required to initiateand sustain beneficial change. Programme management incorporates concepts andtechniques for linking enabling outputs to the desired (strategic) benefits, determining thesequence of the work (projects), the size and pace of the tranches (related set of projectsand activities) intended to create a step change in capability. Preparing the organisationor members of society to receive and use the capability, managing the transition processand facilitating benefits realisation are core parts of the work. Developing novelapproaches and knowledge, skills and competence can be an intrinsic part of aprogramme’s work. Scope is left open as far as possible, and decisions taken as late asProgramme Management: An IntroductionSergio Pellegrinelli Page 3
  4. 4. possible to create (real) options, flexibility, and the ability to respond to changingcircumstances. The structure and content (hypothesis) of the programme are intended tofacilitate staged, incremental benefits realisations concurrent with capabilitydevelopment. Quality (fit for purpose) and performance levels are subject to review andchange, typically at, but not restricted to, end of tranches, in the light of internal andexternal factors (e.g. competition, consumer attitudes and/or new technology).Experience of benefits realisation feeds into the next tranche of capability development,thus creating in-built learning processes. The business case (particularly the investmentappraisal) is a key tool for decision making as well as securing or authorising funding.In some instances, the content and context of the change lend themselves to either aproject or a programme management approach. In others instances, in choosing to defineand manage a change as a project rather than a programme, a trade-off is implicitly orexplicitly made between focus, control, efficiency and effectiveness of delivery (projectcharacteristics) and flexibility, accommodation and staged benefits realisation(programme characteristics). Importantly, the management approach for the programme– the coordinating framework – need not, and indeed should not, be the same as theapproach for managing the constituent or component projects. In this context, project andprogramme management approaches, concepts and techniques are complements notsubstitutes. *********ReferencesOffice of Government Commerce (2003, 2007), Managing Successful Programmes. The Stationery Office,London.Pellegrinelli, S. (2008). Thinking and Acting as a Great Programme Manager. Palgrave Macmillan,BasingstokePellegrinelli, Partington & Geraldi (2011). Programme management: An emerging opportunity for researchand scholarship. In Morris, Pinto & Söderlund (Eds) OUP Handbook on Project Management, OxfordUniversity Press, UKProgramme Management: An IntroductionSergio Pellegrinelli Page 4