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Managing the Tranches Tutorial

Welcome to the Managing the Tranches tutorial offered by Simplilearn. The tutorial is a part of MSP® Foundation and Practitioner course.

In the previous lessons, we have learned the transformational flows and defined the program along with the governance arrangements. In this tutorial, we will focus on the process, ‘managing the tranches’.

Let us begin with the objectives of this lesson in the next section.

Objectives

By the end of this managing the tranches tutorial, you will be able to:

  • Describe the inputs, principle controls, key roles and outputs of the process ‘managing the tranches’

  • Explain the first seven steps involved in ‘managing the tranches’

  • Explain steps 8 to 13 of ‘managing the tranches’

  • Describe the responsibilities of various roles in ‘managing the tranches’

In the next section, we will focus on the eighth step, which is ‘manage people and other resources’.

MSP Framework

The picture of the MSP® framework is shown below.

The MSP® framework here shows that ‘managing the tranches’ is placed in the innermost circle. The main purpose of ‘managing the tranches’ is to implement the defined program management governance strategies and to ensure that ‘delivering the capability’ is aligned with the strategic direction of the organization.

In the next section, we will discuss the introduction to ‘managing the tranches’.

Managing the Tranches Introduction

A key principle of the process, ‘managing the tranches’, is to maintain a balance between the rate of change offered by the ‘delivering the capability’ process and the rate of change that the operational areas can cope with.

This is managed through the ‘realizing the benefits’ process, which aligns the program with the changing strategic needs of the organization.

One difference from other processes is that in ‘managing the tranches’, the activities may either occur simultaneously or may recur. For example, issue and risk management is a day-to-day activity throughout the program lifecycle.

In the next section, we will continue our discussion on the introduction to managing tranches.

Managing the Tranches Introduction (contd.)

The inputs, principle controls, roles, steps and outputs of the process, ‘managing the tranches’, are discussed here. The inputs, principle controls, roles, steps and outputs of ‘managing the tranches’ process are as follows:

Let us first focus on the inputs.

Inputs of the Process, Managing the Tranches

The major inputs include:

  • The approval to proceed

  • Governance, management

  • Boundary baseline documentation.

  • It will also have outputs from ‘delivering the capability’ and ‘realizing the benefits’ as both processes are managed by ‘managing the tranches’.

In addition, the second and subsequent tranches must have the details about:

  • External changes such as strategy and legislation,

  • Lessons from the previous tranche,

  • End of tranche review reports and program structure.

Principle Controls of the Process, Managing the Tranches

The principal controls of ‘managing the tranches’ are with:

  • The Sponsoring Group, who authorize initiation of a tranche and

  • The Program Board that controls the program and the governance baseline controls.

  • Apart from these controls, there are end-of-tranche reviews to review the success of the tranche and update the information baselines

  • Benefits reviews

  • Assurance and audits and

  • The business case.

Roles of the Process, Managing the Tranches

The key roles identified in this process are:

  • The Sponsoring Group,

  • Senior Responsible Owner,

  • Program Manager,

  • Business Change Manager,

  • Program Office and

  • Business change teams.

Steps in Managing the Tranches

The steps involved in ‘managing the tranches’ are:

  • Establish the tranche,

  • Direct work,

  • Manage risks and issues,

  • Control and delivery of communications,

  • Undertake audits and assurance reviews,

  • Maintain alignment between program blueprint and business strategic objectives,

  • Maintain information and asset integrity,

  • Manage people and resources,

  • Perform procurement and contracts,

  • Monitor, report, and control,

  • Transition and stable operations,

  • Prepare for next tranche and

  • End-of-tranche review and close.

Outputs of the Process in Managing the Tranches

Moving on to the outputs, they include:

  • Updated boundary, governance and management baselines at the end of the tranche.

  • The outputs also include the actions taken as a result of the lessons learned and the new lessons learned that can be passed to the next tranches or programs.

  • Also, the program management infrastructure is implemented during this process, the planned capability is delivered and the outcomes are accepted.

  • Benefits measures are defined and the action plan for the next tranche is prepared.

  • The outputs also include assurance review reports and approval to close the tranche and start the next tranche.

  • The other options for the program can be to realign itself with the strategic objectives of the organization or to stop.

In the next section, we will focus on the first step of ‘managing the tranches’, that is, ‘establish the tranche’.

Step 1: Establish the Tranche

To establish a tranche, the requirements are as follows:

Program Organization

In the program organization, It must be ensured that:

  • The program organization comprising the Senior Responsible Owner, the Program Manager, and the Business Change Manager is identified and appointed.

  • They should have clearly defined roles and responsibilities. They need to accept and understand their roles and responsibilities to ensure their commitment to the program.

  • As the program progresses, plans need to be made for ability, capability and performance development of the team.

Business change team

The business change team:

  • Represents the interests of the parts of the organization that will be changed, and

  • Ensures that they are appropriately involved and thoroughly prepared for the transition.

  • This team will be active especially during the transition and will support the operational staff.

Program Office

The Program Office:

  • Acts as an information hub for the program.

  • It may also have skilled resources who are able to offer special assistance to the program management team and to the projects.

  • The Program Office’s functions are to be established and operated throughout the program.

Support for Governance

It is important to establish support for governance.

  • Various governance strategies define the required arrangements and procedures.

  • The Program Office will support the governance of the program by collecting and analyzing the data.

  • This will enable the program team to get feedback on governance arrangements.

Physical Environment

In the Physical environment the requirement is that:

  • The physical environment like buildings, office facilities, services, tools and others need to be established.

  • Technology and tools required to support the program must also be acquired and

  • The staff must be trained before they start using them. Some examples of such tools are planning, estimating, risk estimating and configuration management tools and so on.

Program Communications Plan

Now that the program is moving into delivery, it is necessary to raise awareness of the program and its impact on the organization. The program communications plan defines how stakeholders will be informed about the program and seek feedback from them.

In the next section, we will discuss the second step of ‘managing the tranches’, that is, ‘direct work’.

Step 2: Direct Work

Direct work’ is an activity that covers much of the day-to-day work schedule of the Program Manager. Projects and other activities begin according to the schedules and plans prepared in the ‘defining a program’ process.

The tasks included in this step are as follows:

They are:

  • Appointing project delivery organizations to ensure that there are capable teams to deliver and manage projects.

  • Program risk workshops ensure that projects and the program as a whole can manage the risks effectively.

  • Program reporting is required to share the progress updates with all the stakeholders, especially the Program Manager and the SRO. It also helps to identify the impending risks.

  • Dealing with project exceptions is another task for the Program Manager. While projects are planned to deliver certainly required outputs, they also require inputs from the program.

  • They need resources and sometimes clear directions from the program team while dealing with a risk or an issue.

  • Starting the project is managed in ‘delivering the capability’ process and triggered in ‘managing the tranches’. It is this process that aligns the projects to the respective tranches.

  • Managing program and project teams is one of the basic roles defined for the Program Manager as a part of day-to-day work. This is to ensure the successful outcome of the program.

In the next section, we will focus on the third step, that is, ‘manage risks and issues’.

Step 3: Manage Risks and Issues

Risks need to be actively managed in the program. This means that risks are added, assessed, reviewed, updated and closed throughout the program and the overall issues and risk profiles are continually monitored.

Managing risks and issues in a program have three perspectives.

Internal Risks

The first perspective is the program’s internal risks and issues. These risks are due to factors such as:

  • Delay in scheduled activities or

  • Unavailability of required resources.

External Risk

The second perspective is the external risks. Its occurrence is when:

  • External risks that arise outside the program. For example, risk in the form of a strategy change.

  • They can also arise outside the organization, like a change in legislation that impacts the program.

Escalated Risks

The third perspective is of the risks that are escalated from projects and operational areas. For example, the risks that are beyond the tolerance level of a project are escalated to the program. These risks also need to be monitored by the program if they are outside the tolerance limits defined by the program.

In the next section, we will continue our discussion on ‘manage risks and issues’.

Step 3: Manage Risks and Issues (contd.)

External risks can be monitored and it is a good idea to get expert help to monitor external risks. For the team involved in the program, the focus tends to be on what is happening within the program.

This can result in misses in identifying risks, which may prove to be expensive. The day-to-day role of the experts to monitor the external environment can be defined. The staff from the legal and marketing team can be involved as experts if the risk or issue is related to legal compliance.

For any given tranche, after an initial risk assessment, the aggregated risk should gradually decline. As transition approaches, the number of open issues should also decrease.

Any patterns contrary to these are causes for concern and need to be investigated.

In the next section, we will discuss the fourth step, that is, ‘control and delivery of communications’.

Step 4: Control and Delivery of Communications

The program communications plan contains instructions to notify stakeholders about the individuals appointed to specific roles in the program. This helps build stakeholders’ awareness of the hierarchy; ongoing communication activities ensure that stakeholders are kept informed of the progress.

Whenever stakeholders receive a new communication, the following checks need to be performed:

  • It is important to ensure they are understood as intended by the program team. Misunderstandings will result in significant problems like the difference in the expectations from the program.

  • It is important to assess stakeholders’ attitudes frequently to ensure that the program enjoys their continuous support. Any change in attitude will require attention.

  • It is essential to ensure that the feedback channels between the program and stakeholders are working effectively. The feedback from stakeholders also helps improve the communication strategy.

  • Stakeholders will often change during the lifecycle of the program. The stakeholder engagement strategy will provide guidance on planning how to detect stakeholder changes and how to assess new stakeholders.

In the next section, we will focus on the fifth step, which is, ‘undertake audits and assurance reviews’.

Step 5: Undertake Audits and Assurance Reviews

The program must ensure that mechanisms have been implemented to assess the performance of its projects and processes. These must be used regularly to ensure that the performance is at acceptable levels. The other tasks performed during this step are as follows:

  • Stakeholders require reassurance over and above the assurance reviews and may initiate an audit to verify and validate the progress and performance.

  • These reviews can be extended to business operations to certify that they are preparing for the transition.

  • Once the transition is complete, new systems and practices must be embedded in the system.

‘Managing the tranches’ is the transformational flow activity that triggers activities in the quality and assurance plan.

In the next section, we will focus on maintaining alignment between program blueprint and business strategic objectives, which is the sixth step.

Step 6: Alignment between Program Blueprint and Strategy Objectives

Whenever the organizational strategy changes, the impact of strategy change on the program must be assessed. These results must be provided as feedback to the strategy makers.

When strategic changes are approved, the program may have to change to ensure alignment.

  • This is necessary as the program at any point during its lifecycle should be aligned with the organizational strategy.

  • Regular assurance of strategy against the blueprint is required to maintain the alignment of the program with the corporate strategy.

If the program becomes significantly unaligned with strategy, the program business case can become unviable.

In the next section, we will discuss the seventh step, that is, ‘maintain the information and asset integrity’.

Step 7: Maintain Information and Asset Integrity

As projects progress, the volume of information significantly increases. It is vital that configuration management is functional to track new items and changes in existing items.

Following are the facts related to configuration management:

  • Configuration management plays an important role in supporting issue management by assessing the impact of change requests. This activity is linked closely with quality and information management activities.

  • Configuration baselines must be updated at the end of each tranche.

In the next section, we will discuss the eighth step, that is, ‘manage people and other resources’.

Step 8: Manage People and Other Resources

Resource management strategy defines rules for acquiring and using resources.

Important features of this step are as follows:

  • Resources are often shared across programs, projects, and operational work.

  • The Corporate Portfolio Office or the Program Office provides a complete picture of resource utilization and project completion to ensure there are no conflicts. There are some scenarios where it is very critical to manage resources.

  • There is concern among the staff when a tranche nears completion, as they expect changes. In such scenarios, it is helpful to provide extra support to the staff in preparing for transition and new roles.

In the next section, we will focus on the ninth step, that is, ‘procurement and contracts’.

Step 9: Procurements and Contracts

The resource management strategy identifies requirements for procurement and contract management within the program, which are then accordingly defined in the resource management plan.

  • Specific management attention is required for managing suppliers and maintaining the alignment of their activities to prevent them from going off-track.

  • Procurement and contract management activities must be aligned with corporate policies and standards. It may require tailoring to suit the particular needs of programs.

  • As a part of this step, regular reviews of suppliers and their performance against the expectations and contract must be scheduled.

In the next section, we will focus on the tenth step, which is ‘monitor, report, and control’.

Step 10: Monitor, Report, and Control

Arrangements defined in the monitor, report and control strategy are implemented and used to control progress. These arrangements need the attention of the Senior Responsible Owner or SRO and the Program Board for frequent interventions and implementations.

The other activities performed in this step are as follows:

  • Regular progress reports from the projects help in monitoring the formal progress, which will keep the program on track.

  • Monitoring progress may also identify problem areas that require management intervention.

  • It recognizes the issues that are to be escalated and the issues on which immediate action should be taken to ensure the program is on track.

  • Benefits realization, tracking business performance, benefits achievements and stakeholder issues need to be monitored.

A key function of control is as follows:

  • It is to ensure that blueprint and delivery of new capabilities remain internally consistent and coherent.

  • Ensure all information provided to the Program Board must be complete, timely, accurate and relevant. Any significant gap in information or providing outdated information means that the program is out of control.

  • As significant information comes from projects, reporting mechanisms from projects must be checked regularly.

  • Major exceptions in projects may be approved and escalated to the Program Manager for timely interventions. All these decisions along with their definitions and instructions need to be present in the monitoring and control strategy.

  • Outcome and benefits achievements with acceptable deviations can be approved. But the tolerance for these deviations must be pre-defined.

  • Benefits realization exceptions can be dealt with, and appropriate actions must be taken to keep the process in control.

  • Capability delivery escalations need to be managed and additional activities that are required as part of ‘delivering the capability’ need to be initiated.

In the next section, we will discuss the eleventh step, that is, ‘transitions and stable operations’

Step 11: Transition and Stable Operations

This step is focused on activities involved in ‘realizing the benefits’.

The important roles involved in this step are as follows:

  • A key role of the Program Board is to maintain focus on transition and organizational stability. The transition can be very disruptive and these plans may need to be detailed to minimize the impact on ongoing business operations.

  • Start of transition is authorized by the SRO and is focused towards moving to a stable state while achieving benefits.

Once the outputs have been delivered by projects, use the transition plan prepared earlier in the tranche to initiate the transition. These outputs need to be combined and tested to ensure capability is ready for the transition.

Important activities to be performed during ‘transition and stable operations’ are as follows:

  • Measurement of performance of the current state of operations must be completed before the transition starts. Transition ends when new outputs are implemented and capabilities are established.

  • Performance measures during the process need to be tracked and the progress of operations to a stable state needs to be ensured. This step needs to continue even after the transition, to ensure that the process does not drift back to the older state.

  • If the transition is not performed after thorough preparation, it can lead to severe disruptions in operational capabilities, and improvements may not be pronounced.

  • Fallback and contingency plans need to be identified if the transition takes business performance outside the forecasted acceptable deviation.

In the next section, we will focus on the twelfth step, that is, ‘prepare for next tranche’.

Step 12: Prepare for Next Tranche

As the program progresses, the future state of the program becomes clearer. Preparation for the next tranche occurs at the end of each tranche. Changes must be made to the program’s approach based on the lessons learned during the current tranche.

This means that the achievement of the current tranche must be shared.

The inputs for the next step, are as follows:

Provide Information

Other information that can be provided to the next tranche includes:

  • Governance rules and

  • Organization structure.

  • The skills and experiences, and

  • Specifications for physical environment and

  • Infrastructure that might be required for managing the next tranche, also need to be shared.

Making Refinements

Making Refinements to:

  • Blueprints,

  • Benefits maps,

  • Benefits profiles and

  • Project dossiers are important inputs for the next tranche.

  • All the information baselines are reviewed and refined at the end of each tranche.

  • The business case is also refined if needed.

The SRO authorizes the beginning of the next tranche with the consent of the Sponsoring Group. Ideally, the business case must be improved after the end of each tranche.

In the next section, we will focus on the last step in ‘managing the tranches’, that is, ‘end-of-tranche review and close’.

Step 13: End of Tranche Review and Close

‘End-of-tranche’ is reached when all the capabilities planned have been delivered and transitioned into operational use.

The activities performed during this step are as follows:

  • The ‘end-of-tranche’ review needs to be planned to assess the ongoing viability of the program. This review provides a ‘go’ or ‘no-go’ decision point for the program. This will indicate that the program is allowed to proceed to the next tranche, only if it remains viable.

  • Review business case, blueprint, benefits realization plan and projects dossier and refine them for the next tranche.

  • ‘End-of-tranche’ reviews must include a formal assessment of the effectiveness of the program management activities, including any program lessons that have been documented during the tranche.

  • Plan for an external audit to ensure all possible benefit dependencies have been considered. It is ideal to have both internal and external perspectives for benefits.

  • Internal perspective will involve measuring the reduction in costs, while external perspective will assess whether or not benefits realization is on track.

  • Planned delay can be included between tranches if the tranche end has been designed to prove that the hypothesis embedded in strategy can work satisfactorily.

  • The delay is required to collect and analyze sufficient benefit measures. With that, we have completed the discussion on all the thirteen steps in ‘managing the tranches’.

In the next section, we will focus on the roles involved in ‘managing the tranches’ and their responsibilities.

Roles and Responsibilities

Let us focus on the responsibilities of the Senior Responsible Owner, Program Manager, Business Change Manager or BCM, and the Program Office in ‘managing the tranches’.

The roles and their responsibilities in ‘managing the tranches’ are as follows:

  • Senior Responsible Owner: The SRO is accountable for all the activities in the process, from establishing the tranche till the ‘end-of-tranche review and close’.

  • Program Manager: The Program Manager is solely responsible for establishing the tranche, directing work, maintaining the information, managing people and monitoring processes. However, for activities such as audits and assurance, and alignment between program blueprint and strategic objectives, the responsibilities are shared with the BCM.

  • Business Change Manager: The BCM, other than assisting the Program Manager with all the activities, is also responsible for transition and stable operations.

  • Program Office: The Program Office supports all the activities by providing the capability or the required information.

In the next section, we will focus on an example based on the concepts discussed.

Managing the Tranches Problem Statement

Chao Yin is the Program Manager of the Nutri Snack program at Nutri Worldwide Inc. This program aims to develop a healthy evening snack. The program has outlined multiple projects to ensure its success.

Assuming that Chao Yin will start working on the first tranche of the program, the following questions arise:

  • What documents will Chao Yin need to start the task?

  • How should he interact with the project teams?

  • When the first tranche ends, what inputs are required to start the second tranche?

We will discuss the answers to these questions in the next section.

Managing the Tranches Solution

The Programme Manager needs to ensure the following:

Documents for the first tranche

The most important input for the first tranche is the approval to proceed after the review of documents created in the ‘defining the program’ process. The other inputs are the governance documents, management baselines, and program scope.

Project Interaction

When there are multiple projects outlined in a program, the Program Manager needs to ensure that the project teams for the first tranche are identified and are aware of the project needs.

The Program Manager also needs to ensure that the projects have defined tolerance limits and only the risks and issues beyond the defined tolerance limits are escalated.

If the project is very critical, the Program Manager can act as the Project Executive. Else, the Project Executives will regularly report to the Program Manager with updates.

Inputs for the Second Tranche

When the first tranche ends and the second tranche begins, the Program Manager must ensure that program documents such as plans and strategies are the most recent ones. The Program Manager must also use the inputs from ‘end-of-tranche review’ of the first tranche to understand the scope of improvement in the current tranche.

Summary

Let us summarize what we have learned in this managing the tranches tutorial:

  • The main purpose of ‘managing the tranches’ is to implement the defined program management governance strategies and ensure that ‘delivering the capability’ is aligned to the strategic direction of the organization.

  • The major inputs for this process include the approval to proceed and governance, management and boundary baseline documentation.

  • The principal control of this process is with the Sponsoring Group, who authorize initiation of a tranche.

  • Some of the key roles identified in this process are the Sponsoring Group, SRO, Program Manager, BCM and Program Office.

  • Some of the steps in this process are ‘establish the tranche’, ‘direct work’, ‘manage risks and issues’, ‘control and delivery of communications’ and ‘undertake audits and assurance reviews’.

  • The final six steps of ‘managing the tranches’ are ‘manage people and other resources’, ‘procurements and contracts’, ‘monitor, report and control’, ‘transition and stable operations’, ‘prepare for next tranche’ and ‘end-of tranche review and close’.

  • The SRO is accountable for all the activities in the process, ‘managing the tranches’.

  • The Program Manager is solely responsible for establishing the tranche, directing work, maintaining the information, managing people and monitoring processes.

  • The BCM is solely responsible for transition and stable operations.

Conclusion

With this, we come to an to the tutorial on Managing the tranches. In the next chapter, we will look into Delivering the Capability.

  • 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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