Introduction to Program Management Tutorial

2.1 Introduction to Program Management

Hello and welcome to the second lesson of the PgMP Certification Course offered by Simplilearn! In this lesson, you will be introduced to program management as a discipline. This will provide a basis for understanding the concept. Let us begin with the objectives of this lesson in the next slide.

2.2 Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to: •Define program. •Explain program management. •Relate portfolio management, program management, and project management. •Discuss strategy and business value. •Identify the role of a program manager. •List the skills of project and program managers. Let us begin with understanding a project in the next slide.

2.3 What is a Project

Prior to discussing programs, let us recall what a project is. This is important because the project is the building block for a program as well as a portfolio, and indeed any organizational task that results in a change in the status quo. Well, those of you who have studied the PMBOK would recall that PMI defines a project as a “temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result”. Based on this definition, we can clearly make out that a project has two key characteristics. Firstly, it’s temporary in nature. Please note that temporary does not mean short in duration. A project can go on for several years. For example, creating a new “Indigenous Missile Defense System” for a country can be a project that can span several years. However, there is always a definite planned start and end date for a project. It cannot go on indefinitely. Secondly, the project is supposed to produce a unique output. The output could be a product, service, or a result. There can be many common activities between two projects, but the outcome of each project should be unique in some way or the other. Let us look at the definition of a program in the next slide.

2.4 What is a Program

A program is a group of related projects, subprograms, and program activities that are managed in a coordinated way, to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually. There are several important things to remember about this definition. First of all, the projects in a program are related to each other. Secondly, the program manager must manage them in a coordinated way, not in their individual silos. Last, but not least, there must be benefits that the program manager must try to achieve, which would not have been possible by managing the projects individually. Remember – every large project with sub-projects does NOT automatically become a program. It becomes a program only if there is a conscious effort to coordinate the management and deliver additional benefits. In the subsequent slides, we are going to look at how these additional benefits result. Let us continue to discuss the components of a program in the next slide.

2.5 What is a Program (contd.)

A large program may be potentially broken into smaller sub-programs. A sub-program is a program that is managed within a larger program. Now, the “components” within a program may include: work elements of the program, the projects within a program, and also the “other work” that is managed within the program. The other work could be activities outside the projects, within a program. For example, operation elements, training, management activities, etc. It is important to differentiate project work from regular operational work. For example, your office receptionist does the same work every day of picking any incoming call and directing the call to the right person in the office. This is an ongoing repetitive work and can be classified as “Operation”. Operations – unlike projects, are neither temporary, nor unique. Although projects and operations are distinct and do not overlap, programs may contain operations as part of the “other work”. We will find out what program management is in the following slide.

2.6 Definition of Program Management

The standard for program management defines program management as “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a program to meet the program requirements and to obtain benefits and control not available by managing projects individually”. In simpler terms, program management is a process of managing multiple associated projects to enhance the performance and accomplish the goals of an organization. These related projects, along with the sub tasks and linked activities, are grouped and aligned as a program, to gain maximum benefits and profits for the organization. Any program will have projects, but it is not mandatory for a project to be an integral part of a program. It is essential to obtain and apply the required skill sets, knowledge, toolsets and the strategies to be adopted to meet the requirements of a program and this is achieved by applying the program management techniques. Let us continue to discuss program management in the next slide.

2.7 Key Focus of Program Management

The common outcome and potential aspects are the key elements which define the link between associated projects in a program. On the other hand, effort management is deemed to be the function of the project rather than the program, if the projects of a program are linked based on common resource sharing techniques, technology or shared client. The key focus of program management is to identify the interdependencies of the linked projects and ascertain an optimal approach to manage them. The key factors that influence the interdependencies between projects of a program include: •Conflict management and extensive resource sharing techniques among the related projects •Settling any consequences of changed management in a shared and structured organization •Aligning the strategic directions that affect the objectives of the program’s projects and avoiding any future conflicts Let us discuss an example of program management in the next slide.

2.8 Example of Program Management

Let’s consider an example of program management. The Quality Management department of an organization which ensures quality products are delivered to the customers can be considered a typical example of program management as it involves various integrated functions (projects) such as planning, scrutinizing, implementation and evaluation. Acquiring a company and integrating it with an existing organization is also an example of program management as it involves personnel management, many training sessions, implementing marketing strategies, dealing with different clients and so on. Let us identify the ground rules of program management in the next slide.

2.9 Ground Rules

As the name implies, Ground Rules are the set of rules that determine the behavioral pattern that the team members must adhere to, in a project. Ground rules enable the team members to realize their responsibilities and perform their duties in a perfect manner. Some ground rules are given below. •The team members report to the Project Manager and he is the prime contact person for all project related issues. •All members of the team should be conversant with the project plan and scope and they should perform all tasks within the scope of the project plan. Deviations will not be accepted unless it is approved by the Project Manager. •Members should attend all meetings or conference calls and in the event of being absent, they should inform the project manager. •The Project Manager must approve any planned vacations of the members to determine that there is no deviation in the work pattern. •The team members should be aware of target dates for scheduled delivery and on event of encountering any alterations; it should be informed to the other members and Project Manager. •When meetings are conducted, it is essential to document all the key decisions, minutes of meeting, and client suggestions. •The Project Manager is responsible for final delivery of the product or the hand-off to the customer. The next slide deals with project management.

2.10 Key Features of Project

Now that we have learnt about programs and projects, let us now understand the key features of a project. Some of the features of projects are: •Uniqueness; •Impermanence; and •Product Delivery. Click each feature to know more. Uniqueness: All projects are unique even though they share the same client environment, tool sets, or techniques. Impermanence: Projects are always subject to commence and end on particular dates, and so they are considered to be a temporary feature. Product Delivery: Any project is commenced with the objective of delivering a product, a service or an outcome on a scheduled date to the client. A tool that aids in coordinating the various aspects of the project to accomplish the goals of designing that project is called a project management tool. The Project Management model is designed to commence, design, implement and deliver the project in a successful manner. The next slide deals with portfolios.

2.11 What is a Portfolio

Now, we are going to introduce a new term – portfolios. A portfolio is a collection of projects, programs, sub-portfolios and operations, grouped together to achieve strategic business objectives. The components within a portfolio may or may not be “related.” Let us look further into this definition. Obviously even a project, operation, or program is able to deliver strategic benefits. However, projects deliver a specific product, service, or results that flow into a program or a portfolio. A program aligns with portfolios, and hence, strategy by harmonizing components to realize benefits. For example, a portfolio may be based on geography, such as “North American business” or “Asia Pacific business”. Or, it may be based on business lines, such as “passenger car business” or “commercial vehicles business”. A portfolio aligns with the organizational strategies by: selecting the right components, and providing the necessary organizational resources. This is because the organization determines the investments in various components, based on where it sees maximum benefit going forward. A portfolio then commits the organization’s resources to the components to realize those benefits. We will understand the hierarchical view of portfolios, programs, and projects in the next slide.

2.12 Hierarchical View: Portfolios, Programs, and Projects

In the image on the slide, the organizational strategy is represented by a top level portfolio. This may be broken down (or, realized through) several components. These components may be sub portfolios, programs, or projects. Within the sub portfolios or programs, there may be other components too. Remember, the “other work” in a program may refer to operational elements. As long as it contributes to the strategic benefit, and is aligned with the overall strategy of the organization – any piece of work can be eligible to be included in a program or a portfolio. Let us discuss the relationship between portfolios, programs, and projects in the next slide.

2.13 Relationship between Project, Program and Portfolio Management

Let us look in detail the relationship that exists between project management, program management, and portfolio management. Project management, program management, and portfolio management share in common a number of features such as: •Design; •Alterations or Deviations; •Scope; •Supervision; •Check Points; and •Success Rate. Click each feature to know more. In projects, an extensive plan that incorporates all the detailed information about the project is designed by the Project Manager and adhered to. In programs, the overall design is laid down by the Program Manager. Additionally, he creates sub design plans to accomplish the desired output. Meanwhile, the process planning and communication relevant for aggregating the portfolio is designed by the Portfolio Manager. In projects, it is always expected that some change might occur during the development phase and the Manager should be able to manage and control such changes so as to minimize major deviations from the original plan. The task of a Program Manager, in comparison, is more complicated as he needs to be vigilant about changes from inside and outside the program and should be able to manage it. Finally, it is the primary duty of the Portfolio Manager to continuously check for any deviations in internal and external portfolios. Let us move on to scope. All projects are characterized by a set of objectives and the scope is ascertained in a detailed manner throughout the lifecycle of the project. Programs are designed to produce large scope and provide substantial benefits. And the scope of portfolios is subject to change with the strategic objectives of the organization. Moving on to supervision, the Project Manager deals with the team members to assure the project objectives are accomplished. In programs, the Program Manager manages the Project Managers and staff of the programs to provide a larger vision and overall leadership. Finally, the project managers, program managers, and sub portfolio staffs report to the Portfolio manager. Checkpoints: The Project Manager supervises and controls the production of products, results, or service that the project was initiated for. The Program manager checks and controls the components of the programs to assure that the objectives, budget, time frames for deadlines are met in the desired manner. For portfolios, it is the duty of the Portfolio Manager to monitor the results of performance, aggregate resource allocation, apply any strategic changes, and perform risk management of the portfolio. Finally, let us compare success rate. The success of the project relies on the customer satisfaction, budget compliance, the quality of output, and timeliness. The success of a program relies on attaining the demands and benefits for which it was designed. And Benefit realization of the portfolio, and aggregate investment performances are the key factors constituting the success of a Portfolio. We will look into strategy and business value in the next slide.

2.14 Definitions of Strategy and Business Value

We have been using the terms “strategy” and “business value” for a while now. These two words should be topmost in your mind as a program manager. However, let us understand what they actually mean. A strategy is a long-term plan of action to achieve a goal or a desired result. The key thing to remember is that when we discuss strategy, we are looking at the long term – and not immediate concerns. A business value is defined as the sum total of the value of the entire business. It may comprise some tangible elements (such as assets) as well as some intangible elements (such as goodwill, or technical expertise). The whole purpose behind any strategic plan should be to somehow add to the business value. Adding to business value is a critical element of the organizational strategy, which is the mission and vision. Let us continue to discuss the vision and mission statements in the next slide.

2.15 Definitions of Vision and Mission

Strategy is often expressed in terms of the vision and mission statements. What is Vision? It describes the desired end state. It is typically a one liner that tells you what the goal is. “To be the leading company in health care services” could be an example of vision. A mission is more like a narrative which indicates the sense of purpose for an organization and answers the question – why do we exist? Examples of mission could be “We believe in serving our customers, providing rewarding careers for employees, maximizing the returns to our shareholders, contributing to society, innovating at all levels”, etc. Just as an organization has a vision and mission, a program should also articulate a vision and mission. Let us continue to discuss the strategic objectives in the next slide.

2.16 Strategic Objectives

Strategic objectives are defined by the organization to: •Plan the activities of the organization to accomplish the goals in a perfect manner •Efficiently and effectively use the resources •Attain maximum profitability, and •Increase the business value. The term business value denotes the entire value of a business concern, which includes all tangible and intangible assets. With program, project and portfolio management techniques adopted in an effective manner, the organization will possess the ability to clearly define its strategic objectives and the means to increase its business value. Let us discuss strategic conditions in the next slide.

2.17 Strategic Conditions

The projects are commenced with the intention of attaining the strategic objectives of the organization. The projects are formulated based on some strategic conditions. Let us now look at some strategic conditions and business scenarios pertinent to them. Social Demand: A private organization aiming to create a project to provide potable water systems, sanitation, and education to people affected by infectious diseases is an example of catering to social demand. Market Requirement: A project commenced by a Car company to build fuel-efficient cars to overcome the barriers of gasoline shortage shows a case where market requirement is considered important. Business Demand: A new project commenced by a training company to create new courseware to increase its income might consider business demand as a strategic objective. Advancement in Technology: A project authorized by a computer company to manufacture compact, cheaper and faster laptops based on the advancements in the field of electronics is keeping up with technological advancement. Customer Request: A new project launched by an electrical utility to build a new substation to support and serve a new industrial park might be operating under the strategic condition of customer demand. Environmental Conditions: A new project authorized by a public company to reduce pollution by creating electric car sharing service might consider environmental factors as strategic to its functioning. We will move on to the role of a program manager in the next slide.

2.18 Role of Program Manager

A program manager works within the five program management performance domains. Now, let us look at the role of a program manager. Some of the key roles are that a program manager: interacts with all the project managers; ensures each component team completes work, and integrates with the others to deliver program end product, service, result or benefits; ensures projects are organized, executed in a consistent manner, and fulfilled within established standards; and addresses issues systematically and effectively during the program. Let us continue to discuss the responsibilities of a program manager in the next slide.

2.19 Responsibilities of a Program Manager

Program Managers have greater responsibilities in the organization when compared to other personnel because they deal with multiple projects, and are liable for any consequences developing in the entire program. There are multiple projects pertaining to a single program and it is the prime duty of the Program Manager to supervise the activities of all the projects and contribute to the success of the program. The Program Manager works in developing the organization’s standards and aims at effectively and efficiently incorporating these standards in the program. Some of the key factors that highlight the role of Program Managers are as follows: •Span of Control: The Program Manager deals with many projects associated with a program. Hence, he checks the compliance to standard procedures by all the team members of the related projects of an entire program. •People Management: The primary task of a program manager is to deal with clients and people possessing higher leadership degrees in the organization. •Decision Making: The program managers are involved in making strategic decisions which aid in providing benefits to the organization. •Budget and Finance Management Skillsets: The Program Manager should be conversant with finance management as he is involved in estimating the cost for the program as well as the capital budgets involved in executing the program. •Allocation of Resources: The Program Manager is involved in allocation and optimization of resources across all related projects of a program. Let us discuss the role of a program manager in prioritization in the next slide.

2.20 Prioritization

Project Managers must focus on prioritizing the projects based on the methods of implementation and time management principles. The numerous tasks involved in developing the project should be prioritized at the initial stages itself, so that the team members can focus on executing each task in a sequential manner. Some of the criteria that aid in prioritizing projects are: •Project Complications •Factors of Risk Management •Project Benefits accrued to the Organization The prioritization matrix tool is used by project managers to classify the dense set of details of the project into a simple, performable order of execution. All standards are prioritized and weighed before the actual implementation takes place. Let us look at the advantage of using the prioritization matrix in the next slide.

2.21 Advantages of Using Prioritization Matrix

The following are the advantages of using the prioritization matrix. •It aids in making decisions about the key issues pertinent to the project. •It measures and provides a numerical order for execution of the prioritized tasks. •It helps in understanding unclear or complex issues by evaluating the various options. •It assists in creating a platform for conversing the significant aspects of the project. Let us discuss the skills of project and program managers in the following slide.

2.22 Skills of Project and Program Managers

Let us understand how the roles and desired skills of project managers and program managers differ from each other. It is very important for you to internalize this, because many of the scenario based questions will have a set of actions as options. Some of the actions are appropriate if you are working at a project manager level, whereas others are more suitable at the program manager level. You need to look out for program manager actions. Both project and program managers need to have very good communication skills. A project manager will need to have an eye for detail and an ability to exercise control. A program manager will need to focus more on the big picture. The program manager will need to delegate and influence the details at the project level, and will lead by the philosophy of “trust and verify”. A project manager will have a mix of technology skills, subject matter or domain expertise, and project management skills. A program manager will need to possess strong mixture of analytical skills (to be able to analyze complex scenarios in day-to-day working, and their impact on organizational objectives), project/program management skills (to ensure that the work gets done), and a lot of general management skills. General management skills here refer to skills like finance, sales, marketing, etc. These are the skills that are needed to understand the organizational perspective. The project manager needs to be seen as “reliable,” that is, one who would be able to deliver the project at all costs. The program manager, on the other hand, needs to be seen as “flexible,” that is one who would rapidly adjust to changing circumstances and will have the ability to retain focus on the desired benefits rather than specific deliverables in the face of change. Let us continue to discuss the skills of project managers and program managers in the next slide as well.

2.23 Skills of Project and Program Managers (contd.)

The main responsibility of a Project Manager is to accomplish the demands of the project and the team members. Since multiple related projects form a program, the Project Manager serves as a link between the team and the strategy. Project Managers should possess skillsets such as: •Knowledge: The Project Manager should possess adequate knowledge about project management principles such as analyzing, planning, implementation, vendor management, risk management, effective cost management techniques, team handling capabilities, and project control. •Performance: The Project Manager must apply the project management principles in an apt manner and work for the success of the project in meeting deadlines, promptly delivering products/services, satisfying customers and so on. Project managers should possess interpersonal skills that will help them analyze and interact effectively. Some of the interpersonal skills of the project managers are listed below: Ability to motivate team members: A project manager should motivate his team members to effectively contribute to the success of the project and in turn maximize profits for the organization. Leadership Qualities: He should guide the team in the correct path and avoid any deviations from the project plan. Communication: He should be able to convey his thoughts in a clear and concise manner. Time Management: He should adhere to the project plan, and promptly deliver products/services to clients or customers. Coaching: He should train his team members to make maximum utilization of the tools and techniques and successfully complete the project. Decision Making: Any important decisions affecting the project are all handled by the project manager. The decision taken by him are duly complied by the team members.

2.25 Summary

Let us quickly review what we have learned in this Lesson. A program is a group of related projects, subprograms, and program activities that are managed in a coordinated way, to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually. Program management is the application of the program manager’s knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a program in order to fulfill the program requirements, and to obtain the additional benefits and control that are not available by managing projects individually. A portfolio refers to projects, programs, sub-portfolios, and operations grouped together, to achieve strategic business objectives. Strategy is a long term plan of action to achieve a business goal. The business value refers to the entire value of the business, which is the total sum of tangible and intangible elements. The purpose of all these components is to increase the business value. The program manager plays a crucial role in ensuring program success.

2.26 Thank You

With this, we have come to the end of this lesson. In the next lesson, we will look into the program management performance domains.

  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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