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Introduce Program Management to Your Organization

Use programs to align projects to your strategic goals.

  • Organizations are faced with managing multiple simultaneous projects.
  • Project Managers are struggling to deliver on highly integrated projects and stakeholders are confused about the status of these projects.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Organizations underestimate the value that a unifying process/framework will have across numerous related projects
  • Business needs and goals are always changing and organizations need to be able to adapt.
  • You may not realize that there are overlaps or gaps between your projects. You can use program management to fill these gaps and start to maximize the benefits of your projects and improve delivery.
  • Projects are investments to further goals and programs, and program managers can mitigate risks to protect those investments
  • Although programs can really optimize a portfolio, it is important to remember that they require additional overhead and starting too many at one time could impede desired results. It is best to build programs one at a time, and only if it makes sense to do so.

Impact and Result

  • Optimize your portfolio with programs. If you have a collection of heavily dependent and integrated projects that all relate to a single and unified objective you can group them as a program.
  • Get control of interdependent projects with programs. If leadership is concerned about the overhead of programs, that’s okay. Just group and run your projects together in programs to improve delivery.Once they see the value of coordinating related projects, they are more likely to buy into the concept and you can focus more the programs strategic goal alignment.

Introduce Program Management to Your Organization Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should consider program management to improve delivery and maximize benefits from related projects, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the two ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Assess current projects and determine your next program

Look at how you currently deliver projects and realize benefits. With a list of projects and initiatives created you will be ready to create your next program.

2. Initiate program

Initiate the program you established. Make sure you have the right people so that your program starts off on the right foot.


Member Testimonials

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real-time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve. See our top member experiences for this blueprint and what our clients have to say.

8.7/10


Overall Impact

$12,063


Average $ Saved

11


Average Days Saved

Client

Experience

Impact

$ Saved

Days Saved

Connecticut Water Company

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

20

Traeger Pellet Grills LLC

Guided Implementation

9/10

$12,063

1

Swagelok Company

Guided Implementation

7/10

N/A

N/A

Thermo Fisher

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

2


Workshop: Introduce Program Management to Your Organization

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Start With Program Fundamentals

The Purpose

Understand what program management is, and assess your current benefits delivery practices in order to use projects to create programs that align with your strategic goals.

Key Benefits Achieved

Stakeholder alignment on project management next steps.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

SWOT Analysis

  • Cultivating alignment around opportunities and challenges
1.2

Benefits Realization Assessment Survey

  • An analysis of the organization’s current benefits delivery practices
1.3

List current organizational initiatives and IT goals

  • Groups of related projects aligning to goals with identified benefits
1.4

Project Program Organizer

  • Groups of related projects aligning to goals with identified benefits
1.5

Program Charter

  • Completed sections of the program charter that can also be used as a business case

Module 2: Program Wireframe

The Purpose

Establish the right people that need to manage or be part of your program so you can get it off the ground.

Key Benefits Achieved

A tactical plan to help implement program management next steps.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Determine potential program sponsor

  • Program Sponsor
2.2

Stakeholder Register

  • List of program stakeholders to analyze
2.3

Document project benefits

  • Benefits to verify program

Introduce Program Management to Your Organization

Use programs to align projects to your strategic goals.

ANALYST PERSPECTIVE

Without program management your benefits are at risk.

"We’re always trying to understand how to optimize spending on projects, programs, products, and portfolios. The easiest answer might be, “Don’t spend anything on program or portfolio.” After all, both are cost drivers without direct benefits. But if you have too many projects, you likely need better portfolio management. And if you have poor inter-project coordination and consistently unattained benefits, you likely need program management. Projects are investments to further the goals of your organization. If the benefits delivered by your projects are always at risk, you won’t reach your goals. While program management may seem like an unnecessary extra layer, like many things in life, you will find that you need to invest enough to be sure you’re getting the desired outcomes."

Ugbad Farah, PMP,

Research Analyst, PPM Practice

Info-Tech Research Group

Our understanding of the problem

This Research Is Designed For:

  • CIOs who want to improve organizational performance.
  • Portfolio managers and PMO directors who want to develop a program methodology option to optimize their portfolio strategy or who are facing complex delivery scenarios that require increasing amounts of governance and escalation response.
  • Program managers who are looking to strengthen existing and future programs.

This Research Will Help You:

  • Align stakeholders, projects, and programs within your portfolio.
  • Find out if the delivery of related projects could be optimized to align to higher organizational goals, and analyze your current processes and determine whether your projects align with strategic or operational goals.
  • Ensure that that anticipated strategic benefits are not lost through changes within individual project delivery.

This Research Will Also Assist:

  • Organizations group projects into programs to increase stakeholder engagement.
  • Project sponsors and stakeholders who seek clarity into the status of several interrelated projects.
  • Functional managers and project managers that are in charge of multiple projects and need a way to detect interdependencies and improve project delivery.

This Research Will Help Them:

  • With reporting: A unified reporting and escalation approach benefits executives and stakeholders more than reading numerous individual project status reports that lack analysis and trends across all the projects.
  • Group projects into programs to maintain overall coordination, improve delivery, and enhance benefits.

Executive summary

Situation

  • Organizations are faced with managing multiple, simultaneous projects and there is a disconnect between what is happening at the project level and what is going on at a larger organizational level.
  • Project managers are struggling to deliver on highly integrated projects and stakeholders are confused about the status of these projects.

Complication

  • Organizations tend to under invest in people and processes.
  • They underestimate the value that a unifying process/framework will have across numerous related projects.
  • They may not realize that there are overlaps or gaps between projects.
  • Business cases are usually missing and benefits are not adequately defined within each project.

Resolution

  • Optimize your portfolio with programs. If you have a collection of heavily dependent and integrated projects that all relate to a single and unified objective you can group them as a program.
    • Creating a program will help you provide additional governance and make it easier for executives and stakeholders to understand the collective status across all projects.
  • Get control of interdependent projects with programs. Sometimes IT leadership doesn’t want the overhead of programs, that's okay, just group your projects together without calling them “programs.” Once they see the benefits they are more likely to buy into the concept.
    • Just having a bunch of projects doesn’t mean you need a program, but if the benefits of the individual projects combined create a larger organizational benefit or all work together towards one benefit then they may be suited for one.

Info-Tech Insight

  1. Build programs one at a time and only if they make sense. Assess your current projects and see if you can incorporate programs to be more successful.
  2. It doesn’t matter whether strategy comes before projects or projects before strategy as long as the intended benefits are realized.
  3. Use programs to gain efficiency and help you focus on benefits. If project goals are not prioritized, a program may not be necessary.

Most organizations divide strategy work and execution work

Because of the division, misalignment occurs and IT projects continue to miss the mark.

The image contains a bar graph on Info-Tech's CEO/CIO Alignment Diagnostic. The average gap for CXO is 3.3 and the average gap for CIO is 3.5.

Info-Tech’s CIO Business Vision Survey has identified the gaps in communication between strategy and execution personnel.

IT projects should deliver organizational change, but they rarely deliver their expected value to the sponsoring organization

Research on project failure has been going on for decades, and the biggest failure is that IT projects are not delivering on their intended goals regardless of schedule and cost overruns.

Only 21% of organizations deliver projects that are likely to achieve stakeholder satisfaction (KPMG, 2017).

Only 33% of organizations are likely to meet original goals or business objectives (KPMG, 2017).

Only 34% of projects are consistently delivering on their benefits (KPMG, 2017).

! On average, large IT projects run 45% over budget and 7% over time while delivering 56% less value than predicted (McKinsey, 2012).

How organizations use IT has grown in complexity

New strategies are needed to cope with these changes and ensure project success.

Since IT is more connected to other areas of the business like HR, Finance, Sales, and Travel, there is pressure to deliver on not only technical (hardware, software, and networks), but also non-technical (procedures, training, and support) tasks. This increases the risk of project failure. Today IT projects are characterized by a number of internal and external dependencies working with different organizational functions with lots of interfaces and information exchange requirements. Processes and functions that were connected through paper in the 80s and 90s now rely on interlinked applications, common data. and workflows. Traditional project management alone isn’t sufficient to maximize project benefits and deliver value.

"The days when projects were simply projects and project success was defined by the ‘iron triangle’ are long gone." – Dr. Lynda Bourne DPM, FACS, FAIM, PMP

1960s and 1970s: Few information systems were networked.

1980s: Networking standards were mostly proprietary to a company and there were few interfaces and interdependencies.

1990s: The rise of the internet and web standards resulted in a huge increase in the number of interconnections and information exchanges between systems.

2000s-Present: Information exchanges continue to grow with the addition of mobile devices.

Most organizations hope their IT projects will deliver value and drive strategic goals

Unfortunately, project management alone cannot guarantee this. Organizations should consider program management to maximize benefits from related projects.

  • Although many project and program management tools are similar on the surface, attempting to manage a program as a project can lead to failure or mediocre results.
  • Without program management, organizations are unable to analyze their processes to pinpoint where they are failing. This leads to inefficiencies that are usually avoidable.
  • Program management can be a complement to project management and reinforce it. Program management can focus on strategic outcomes so that projects have the freedom to focus on the delivery of outputs.

88% … of CEOs and CIOs on average experience frustration with IT’s failure to deliver value

(Info-Tech CEO/CIO alignment survey)

An individual project cannot act as an anchor between strategy and business as usual. It’s simply not strong enough to withstand external forces. When it is carried out as part of a program, however, the program acts as a buffer by distributing the weight of these forces and controlling the flow of change.

A program management approach offers a holistic solution

Grouping projects in programs is the key to bridging the gap between strategy and execution.

According to research done by the Project Management Institute, organizations with mature program management are far more successful than those without it. Program management leverages the advantages of a project management approach while maintaining alignment with organizational interests.

Info-Tech Insight

Think of programs as a tool in your tool belt. You may not need them very often, but it’s a good technique to have when you do.

"Program management has emerged as a distinct discipline in the late 20th Century. It progressively developed as project management was applied to more and more complex projects, to the management of strategic objectives or the management of multiple interrelated endeavors to produce strategic benefits." – Michel Thiry

Use Info-Tech’s program management framework to help maximize your project benefits and improve delivery

There are two paths to program management: the optimal (top-down) and the reactive (bottom-up) approach. Most organizations need to take the reactive path and that’s okay. This blueprint will help you organize your projects and start getting to strategic outcomes faster.

The image contains a screenshot of the path of programs of both optimal and reactive paths as described in the text beside the image.

The Optimal Path Less Traveled

Start with a strategy and assess the different projects that would be required to reach your goals. The intent is to bring about significant changes with your organization.

The Reactive but Common Path

Assess your current standalone projects and determine which ones are interrelated and dependent on each other and then group them under one program. These projects will work along similar lines following the same strategy.

Info-Tech’s approach to program management is informed by industry best practices and rooted in practical insider research

Info-Tech uses PMI and ISACA frameworks for areas of this research.

The image contains a screenshot of PMI's logo.

PMI’s Standard for Portfolio Management, 3rd ed. is the leading industry framework, proving project portfolio management best practices and process guidelines.

The image contains a screenshot of COBIT 5's logo.

COBIT 5 is the leading framework for the governance and management of enterprise IT.

In addition to industry-leading frameworks, our best-practice approach is enhanced by the insights and guidance from our analysts, industry experts, and our clients.

The image contains a screenshot of Info-Tech Research Group logo.

33,000+ Our peer network of over 33,000 happy clients proves the effectiveness of our research.

1,000+ Our team conducts 1,000+ hours of primary and secondary research to ensure that our approach is enhanced by best practices.

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

“Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful.”

Guided Implementation

“Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track.”

Workshop

“We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place.”

Consulting

“Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project.”

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Introduce Program Management to Your Organization

1. Assess current projects and determine program

2. Initiate program

Best-Practice Toolkit

1.1 Understand program management

1.2 Discuss goals and strategic outcomes

1.3 Use Info-Tech’s Program Organizer tool to determine your next program

2.1 Get the right people on board

2.2 Develop and finalize your program charter

Guided Implementations

Perform a scoping call.

Determine your current level of project coordination and benefits realization.

Discuss what value looks like and identify goals.

Identify related projects.

Discuss roles and responsibilities and determine program stakeholders.

Discuss stakeholder management.

Identify the intended benefits of the program and develop a benefits realization plan that will be managed through the program to ensure that planned benefits always have owners and are achieved, sustained, and optimized.

Create program charter in preparation to initiate the program.

Onsite Workshop

Module 1:

Start With Program Fundamentals

Module 2:

Program Wireframe

Phase 1 Outcome:

  • Groups of related projects aligning to goals with identified benefits

Phase 2 Outcome:

  • Program charter that can also be used as business case

Workshop overview

Contact your account representative or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

Workshop Day 1

Workshop Day 2

Workshop Day 3

Activities

Start With Program Fundamentals

1.1 SWOT Analysis

1.2 Understand Programs

1.3 Current State Analysis on Benefits Realization

1.4 Value Discussion

Group Projects and Identify Goals

2.1 List Current Projects and Initiatives

2.2 Identify IT Strategic Goals

Create the Program Wireframe

3.1 Confirm Roles and Responsibilities, and Secure Stakeholders

3.2 Develop Program Charter

3.3 Identify Benefits

3.4 Finalize Program Charter

Deliverables

  1. SWOT Analysis
  2. Benefits Realization Assessment
  1. Project Program Organizer
  1. Stakeholder Register
  2. Program Manager Job Description
  3. Program Charter

PHASE 1

Assess Current Projects and Determine Your Next Program

Phase 1 outline

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation 1: Assess Current Project and Determine Your Next Program

Proposed Time to Completion: 1-3 weeks

Step 1.1: Understand Program Management

Start with an analyst kick-off call:

  • Scoping call to review program management
  • Discuss the current state of project and/or program delivery and strategic alignment

Then complete these activities…

  • SWOT Analysis

With these tools & templates:

Activity 1.1.1: SWOT Analysis

Benefits Realization Assessment

Step 1.2: Discuss Goals and Strategic Outcomes

Work with an analyst to:

  • Review current projects and programs
  • Identify goals and desired strategic outcomes

Then complete these activities…

  • Identify and list strategic and IT goals

With these tools & templates:

Project Program Organizer Tool

Step 1.3: Determine Program

Work with an analyst to:

  • Analyze current projects against your strategic IT goals
  • Group projects into programs to maximize benefits

Then complete these activities…

With these tools & templates:

Project Program Organizer Tool

Step 1.1: Assess the value of program management for your organization

PHASE 1

PHASE 2

1.1 Understand Program Management

1.2 Discuss Goals and Strategic Outcomes

1.3 Use Info-Tech’s Project Program Organizer tool to Determine Your Next Program

2.1 Get the Right People on Board

2.2 Develop and Finalize Your Program Charter

This step will walk you through the following activities:

  • Understand what a program is and what it isn’t
  • How programs fit into the portfolio structure and complement project management
  • How products fit into programs
  • SWOT analysis

This step involves the following participants:

  • PMO Director, Portfolio Manager, or equivalent
  • Program managers
  • Program sponsors
  • CIO

Outcomes of this step

  • Current state SWOT analysis

The industry has trouble clearly stating what a program is or what it should consist of

Programs can be ambiguous, large, and complex. To execute programs correctly, organizations first have to understand what they are and definitely what they are not.

  • Programs are misunderstood as a dumping ground for projects that sort of connect.
  • Programs are thought of as a group of individual projects or as a portfolio when they are neither.
  • Programs are thought of as governing bodies when they are more operational in nature.
  • Programs are not just big projects. Programs are designed to consist of related smaller projects, but the fact that a project is big does not mean it is a program.
  • Changes are required and benefits are cumulative and not the result of any one project.

"Programs are about delivering common value. If a project is unique and not associated with any other project, then there is no need for it to be part of a program." – Program Manager, IT Department

Info-Tech Insight

Programs Do Three Key Things:

  1. Allow you to group projects strategically for desired outcomes.
  2. Give you the ability to proactively manage interdependencies and improve project delivery.
  3. Connect stakeholders to strategic benefits/outcomes through incidental relationships to projects.

Products fit into programs well – it doesn't have to be one or the other

When executed properly, these two functions can provide real synergy and a strategic advantage to a company initiative.

Product management and program management have many similarities and are sometimes spoken of interchangeably. However, while similar, both disciplines drive unique outcomes. Product management should strategically drive the development, market launch, and continual support and development of a company’s product. These products could be part of a program’s organizational-wide view of any strategic initiative. It isn’t really a question of which to use: product vs. program. Rather, organizations can and should leverage both for strategic purposes.

Product Managers Ask Why?

Program Managers Ask How? and When?

  • Why build this product this way?
  • Why target this user persona?
  • Why prioritize this functionality over that feature?
  • Why set our prices at this level?
  • How can we carve out time and personnel for product training?
  • When does the marketing department need to start their work?
  • How much of the budget can we allot?

"As a program manager, I’m involved in the strategic planning with the customer. Without program management and seeing how projects can be tied together to actually fulfil all the objectives in the strategic plan, we would not succeed." – Mohamed Kotb, Program Manager at Diebold Nixdorf

Programs complement project and portfolio management

Projects

Whether they are managed independently or as part of a program, are temporary endeavors that are undertaken to create unique products, services, or results.

The projects within programs have complementary goals; components (projects or operational work) that do not advance common or complementary goals; or that do not jointly contribute to the delivery of common benefits; or that are related by common sources of support, technology, or stakeholders are often better managed as portfolios rather than as programs.

The Standard for Program Management, Fourth Edition (2017)

Programs

Consist of related projects, subsidiary programs, and program activities managed in a coordinated manner to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually.

Programs are similar to projects in many ways. The program is defined, benefits are delivered, and the program is closed. The key is, unlike projects, programs involve the coordination and sequencing of multiple components (projects or operational work) above what is required at an individual project level.

The Standard for Program Management, Fourth Edition (2017)

Portfolio

Is a collection of projects, programs, subsidiary portfolios, and operations managed as a group to achieve strategic objectives.

Programs are common elements of portfolios, conducted to deliver benefits important to an organization’s strategic objectives.

The Standard for Program Management, Fourth Edition (2017)

It is a group of projects, but the key is whether the value is unattainable by managing them another way (PMI).

While there’s confusion in the industry, program management experts are all aligned on what a program should achieve

The frameworks and experts agree that the point of programs is to create value or deliver benefits that are important to an organization’s strategic objectives.

Source

Definition

The Standard for Program Management, PMI

A group of “related projects, subsidiary programs, and program activities managed in a coordinated manner to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually. Programs are common elements of portfolios, conducted to deliver benefits important to an organization's strategic objectives.”

COBIT

“[…] a structured grouping of interdependent projects that are both necessary and sufficient to achieve a desired business outcome and create value.”

Thiry’s definition of a program (2004)

“[…] a collection of change actions (project and operational activities) purposefully grouped together to realize strategic and/or tactical benefits.”

Managing Successful Programmes (MSP)

“A temporary, flexible organisation created to coordinate, direct and oversee the implementation of a set of related projects and activities in order to deliver outcomes and benefits related to the organisation’s strategic objectives.”

Info-Tech Best Practice

The program is a container for a strategic outcome. Use it to measure or at the very least detect your goals and the benefits that should be realized from your projects. Remember that some of your overall business processes or operations can be classified as a program as well.

Processes within the program should ensure that the benefits are developed and ultimately realized

Program Managers will likely not be creating vision and mission statements, but they will need to be familiar with them in order to work on strategic objectives. When determining what is valuable to your company, think about the questions below and the people that would be responsible and accountable for them.

Vision

Why does your company exist?

What drives the organization?

What provides purpose?

Mission

What is the company trying to achieve?

What are the goals for the next three-to-five years? (subject to change)

Strategy

How will the company meet its goals?

Objectives

When and where?

How will the company measure that the objectives are met?

Info-Tech Insight

If the goal changes and the strategy doesn’t, you likely won’t reach the new goal.

Info-Tech Best Practice

The Standard for Program Management says that the vison and goals of the organization provide the basis for strategic mandates that drive the definition of most programs.

Activity: Identify key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats around project coordination and value delivery

1.1.1 30-45 minutes

Perform a SWOT analysis activity to help assess your cultural readiness for program management.

The purpose of the SWOT analysis is to begin to define the goals of this project or workshop by cultivating alignment around the most critical opportunities and challenges.

Follow these steps to complete the SWOT analysis:

  1. Have workshop participants discuss and identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  2. Spend roughly 30-60 minutes. Use a whiteboard, flip chart, or PowerPoint slide to document results of the discussion as points are made.
  3. Make sure results are recorded and saved, either using the template provided in the next slide or by taking a picture of the whiteboard or flip chart.
The image contains a screenshot of the SWOT analysis table.

Screenshot of the SWOT analysis table in the next slide. Use this table to help document the results of this activity. Use the examples provided in the SWOT analysis to kick-start the discussion.

INPUT

OUTPUT

  • Brainstorming on current organizational strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats.
  • Perspective on organizational readiness for program management

Materials

Participants

  • Large sticky notes or whiteboard
  • PMO Director
  • Portfolio Manager
  • Program Manager
  • CIO

1.1.1 continued Sample SWOT Analysis

The image contains a screenshot of a sample SWOT Analysis.

Determine your current state of project value delivery to baseline your program management improvement

Use Info-Tech’s Benefits Realization Assessment Tool to document your current benefits delivery on projects and set targets.

Programs are about realizing benefits and creating value. Without benefits, projects are just being completed for the sake of it. To maximize your project benefits you will need to track them.

The Benefits Commitment Realization Assessment Tool helps assess your current state and determine if you are getting the intended benefits or any benefits at all out of your current projects.

  • Before using this tool, you will need to interview project sponsors about projects completed in the last year using Info-Tech's Benefits Realization Assessment Survey. Input the results for each project surveyed using the drop-down menu on tab 1, Survey Data Input.
  • The Results Report on tab 2 will display the results of the survey and can be used to set targets for improvement and gaps in your benefits realization process.

Download Info-Tech’s Benefits Realization Assessment Tool.

The image contains a screenshot of the Benefits Realization Assessment Tool.

Info-Tech Insight

Current attitudes toward benefits commitment trend toward a process that is heavy on upfront requirements, but lacking on the follow-through, e.g., tracking benefits during execution and post-project.

Activity: Use the Assessment Tool to assess current project value delivery

1.1.2

Connect with project sponsors to perform an analysis of the organization’s current benefits delivery practices.

  1. Select a minimum of ten business cases from closed projects. Ideally, these projects should have been closed between three and six months ago. If a project was closed too recently, it may be difficult to accurately assess benefits realization.
  2. Download the Info-Tech Benefits Realization Assessment Survey. Contact the sponsors of each business case and send each sponsor one survey per project (you may be speaking to one sponsor about several projects). Ask the sponsor to refer to project scorecards, post-mortems, etc., when completing the survey.
  3. Schedule a meeting to review the results. Expect that the sponsor may not do the work prior to the meeting. If this is the case, complete the survey together. Schedule a longer meeting if multiple projects will be discussed.
  4. During the meeting, use the business case and other project documentation to validate answers.
  5. Compile results and document them on tab 1 of the Benefits Realization Assessment Tool.
  6. The results are summarized in tab 2. See the next slide for more detail.

INPUT

OUTPUT

  • Brainstorming on current organizational strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats.
  • Perspective on organizational readiness for program management

Materials

Participants

  • Large sticky notes or whiteboard
  • PMO Director
  • Portfolio Manager
  • Program Manager
  • CIO

1.1.1 continued Use survey and tool results to baseline program goals

  • After you have completed surveying sponsors for at least ten projects and have input this data into the Assessment Tool, you will be able to assess your current process and project success for benefits realization.
  • These metrics indicate how well people are following a process for realizing benefits and how often projects are actually realizing expected benefits.
  • The results of your survey are a baseline. As a group, set targets for the projects in your program.
  • After your program has been up and running for a period of ~12 months, complete this assessment again to measure progress to goals.

Screenshots from tab 2 of the Assessment Survey

The image contains a screenshot of tab 2 from the Assessment Survey.

Formalize your program management approach in a program charter

Throughout this blueprint we’ll be helping you to customize Info-Tech’s Initial Program Charter Template to help you structure, and make the case for, your program.

The purpose of the program charter is to clearly outline what is to be done and authorize the Program Manager to proceed.

Throughout this research, we’ll be helping you to customize the Program Charter Template for project management at your organization.

At this stage you should be ready to insert the output of activity 1.1.2 into section 3 of the Charter Template, which helps to communicate the background and business need for program management.

In the next step of this blueprint, we’ll help you establish project groupings around strategic goals in order to inform, what could be, your next program.

Document your benefit baselines and targets in section 4.1 of the Program Charter Template.

Download Info-Tech’s Initial Program Charter Template.

The image contains a screenshot of the Initial Program Charter Template.

Step 1.2: Determine goals to organize program around

PHASE 1

PHASE 2

1.1 Understand Program Management

1.2 Discuss Goals and Strategic Outcomes

1.3 Use Info-Tech’s Project Program Organizer tool to Determine Your Next Program

2.1 Get the Right People on Board

2.2 Develop and Finalize Your Program Charter

This step will walk you through the following activities:

  • Gather a list of all projects
  • Understanding value and how programs help create value for an organization
  • Identify strategic goals
  • Current state of project value delivery

This step involves the following participants:

  • PMO Director, Portfolio Manager, or equivalent
  • Program managers

Outcomes of this step

  • Identify goals and strategic outcomes
  • Current state analysis of benefits realization with Info-Tech’s Benefits Assessment Tool

Get clear on strategic outcomes

Projects don’t drive strategy. Programs do. But program managers are often in the dark, either because the organization’s strategy isn’t clear or it hasn’t been communicated down.

Organizations are always looking to increase value. If an organization is losing value, it will try and change its strategy. The problem occurs when what constitutes strategic value for an organization is not clear to those executing projects and programs.

Four Reasons Why An Organizations Strategy Is Unknown to the People Executing It:

  1. Program managers don't have access to the corporate strategy.
  2. Program managers don’t have access to the IT strategy.
  3. Organizations can't map their IT strategy to their corporate strategy.
  4. The organization is in the process of figuring out what their strategies are, but it still wants to deliver.

In this step you will identify IT strategic goals and align project benefits to those goals. This will allow you detect what is valuable to your organization.

Strategic Value: “the degree to which a particular action or planned action is important or useful in relation to something that it wants to achieve.” – The Cambridge Dictionary

"Without great program management, no business can readily adapt to changing business conditions." – James T. Brown, The Handbook of Program Management

Info-Tech Insight

Your leadership should not only articulate an IT strategy, but also validate proposals and funding decisions related to projects and programs in context to it. If they are not doing this, it’s still your job as a program manager to deliver on benefits and make sure they align to the organization’s goals.

Step 1.3: Use Project Program Organizer tool to determine the program

PHASE 1

PHASE 2

1.1 Understand Program Management

1.2 Discuss Goals and Strategic Outcomes

1.3 Use Info-Tech’s Project Program Organizer tool to Determine Your Next Program

2.1 Get the Right People on Board

2.2 Develop and Finalize Your Program Charter

This step will walk you through the following activities:

  • Enter and rate the importance of your IT strategic goals
  • Enter projects and initiatives
  • Group projects and initiatives into programs based on the analysis tab in the tool

This step involves the following participants:

  • PMO Director, Portfolio Manager, or equivalent
  • Program managers

Outcomes of this step

  • Info-Tech’s Project Program Organizer tool

Activity: List your current organizational initiatives and IT goals

1.2.1 30 minutes

Now that you understand what makes up a program and you are aware of your current benefits realization state you are ready to make a list of your projects and component projects. Spend some time thinking about the initiatives that you currently have; they don’t have to be in any sort of order or grouping right now.

Also consider any IT goals your organization might have. These will be help you group projects later. If you don’t have any IT goals or aren’t aware of them consider COBIT 5’s Enterprise and IT-related Strategic Goals.

Download Info-Tech’s Project Program Organizer tool and view these goals on tab 2.

INPUT

OUTPUT

  • Organizational mission and value statement
  • IT strategic goals
  • List of current projects and operational work

Materials

Participants

  • Large sticky notes or whiteboard
  • Pens and whiteboard markers
  • PMO Director
  • Portfolio Manager
  • Program Manager
  • CIO

Info-Tech Insight

Remember, a program is a group of related projects and operational initiatives. Don’t forget to include any operational work that you feel may be important to achieving your organizational goals.

Info-Tech’s Project Program Organizer tool can help you assess your program management needs

1.2 Project Program Organizer

With so many projects on the go it can be difficult to determine which ones are connected.

Even more challenging is determining a basis on which to group them into programs to make your life easier and maximize your benefits.

  • Info-Tech’s Project Program Organizer tool will not only help you organize your projects, but also give you a chance to align them to your strategic goals and group them into programs based on risks and level of investments.
  • The slides ahead will help you navigate the tool; you will need this data for the slides ahead: your project list, strategic goals (optional), project t-shirt sizes, and capital and labor budgets.

Download Info-Tech’s Project Program Organizer tool.

The image contains a screenshot of the Project Program Organizer tool.

Info-Tech Best Practice

Remember, you know your organization best. Use the tool as a guide, but consider adding other projects or initiatives that may fit well into your program or removing any that don’t make sense.

Activity: Use the Organizer to input the goals you documented in the first activity

1.1.2 1 hour

Screenshots from tab 2 of the Organizer.

The image contains a screenshot of the Organizer, tab 2.

INPUT

OUTPUT

  • IT strategic goals
  • Strategic goals put into categories and ranked by relative importance

Materials

Participants

  • Tab 2 of the of the Project Program Organizer
  • PMO Director
  • Portfolio Manager
  • Program Manager
  • CIO

Activity: Add the project list from the same activity to tab 2 and see how well they align to your goals

1.1.3 2 hours

The image contains screenshots of adding a project list from the same activity to tab 2.

INPUT

OUTPUT

  • List of projects
  • Project information (budget, size, etc.)
  • List of current projects and operational work

Materials

Participants

  • Tab 3 of the Project Program Organizer
  • PMO Director
  • Portfolio Manager
  • Program Manager

Activity: Review your ranked top goals and projects in tab 3 so you can start grouping related projects in a program

The image contains screenshots of tab 3 to demonstrate how the tool works.

INPUT

OUTPUT

  • IT strategic goals
  • List of projects and project information
  • Relative benefits-to-risk ratio by goal
  • Top five strategic goals
  • Projects with the highest importance rating to top five strategic goals

Materials

Participants

  • Tab 3 of the Project Program Organizer
  • PMO Director
  • Portfolio Manager
  • Program Manager
  • CIO

Activity: Pick your program and start filling out the Charter

1.1.4 1 hour

Once you’ve analyzed the project rankings against the strategic goals generated by the tool, you should have one or more groups of related projects that are aligned to your goals. One of these is your next program. Start with the most important grouping and fill out the first four sections of the program details in the Initial Program Charter Template.

The image contains a screenshot of section 4 of the Initial Program Charter Template.

Document the program details in sections 4.1-4.4 of the Initial Program Charter Template.

Info-Tech Insight

Build programs one at a time and only if they make sense.

INPUT

OUTPUT

  • Date from tab 3 of the Project Program Organizer
  • Various sections of the initial program charter

Materials

Participants

  • Project Program Organizer
  • Initial Program Charter Template
  • PMO Director
  • Portfolio Manager
  • Program Manager

If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

The image contains a picture of an analyst.
  • To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.
  • Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team onsite at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.
  • Contact your account manager (www.infotech.com/account), or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

The image contains a screenshot of Activity 1.1.2 on the Assessment Tool.

Use Assessment Tool to Assess Current Project Delivery Value

Assess how your current projects are being delivered in regards to benefits realization.

The image contains a screenshot of the activity to list organizational initiatives and IT Goals.

List Organizational Initiatives and IT Goals

Make a list of all goals, operational work, and organizational activities.

If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

The image contains a screenshot of the activity Choose or Input Goals in Project Program Organizer

Choose or Input Goals in Project Program Organizer

Establish IT goals in order to align projects to them and group them into programs.

The image contains a screenshot of the activity Add Project List to Project Program Organizer.

Add Project List to Project Program Organizer

Add your project list to the tool and see how they align to your goals.

The image contains a screenshot of the activity Pick Your Program and Start Filling out Your Charter.

Pick Your Program and Start Filling out Your Charter

Decide on a program based on the analysis from the tool and start filling out the charter for your new program.

PHASE 3

Initiate the Program

Phase 2 outline

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation 2: Assess Current Project and Determine Your Next Program

Proposed Time to Completion: 1-3 weeks

Step 2.1: Get the Right People on Board

Start with an analyst kick-off call:

  • Identify stakeholders
  • Appoint a program board/committee
  • Appoint a dedicated program manager

With these tools & templates:

Activity 2.1.1: Stakeholder Analysis

Activity 2.1.2: Program Manager Job Description

Step 2.2: Develop and Finalize Your Charter

Work with an analyst to:

  • Develop a program charter
  • Develop a benefits realization plan
  • Finalize program charter and confirm or communicate the program’s mandate to proceed

With these tools & templates:

Program Charter Template

Step 2.1: Get the Right People on Board

PHASE 1

PHASE 2

1.1 Understand Program Management

1.2 Discuss Goals and Strategic Outcomes

1.3 Use Info-Tech’s Project Program Organizer tool to Determine Your Next Program

2.1 Get the Right People on Board

2.2 Develop and Finalize Your Program Charter

This step will walk you through the following activities:

  • Secure a sponsor
  • Appoint a program board/committee
  • Stakeholder management
  • Appoint a dedicated Program Manager

This step involves the following participants:

  • PMO Director, Portfolio Manager, or equivalent
  • Program managers
  • Program sponsors
  • CIO

Outcomes of this step

  • Info-Tech’s Stakeholder Analysis Tool
  • Info-Tech’s Program Manager Job Description Template

Successful program management requires collaboration from a myriad of stakeholders

In this step we’ll review the key stakeholders required for program management and equip you with the tools to secure their participation in your program.

A typical structure for program management has a bottom layer where projects a managed, a middle layer where project outcomes and dependencies are managed, and an upper layer that oversees the execution of the programs underlying business and/or IT goals.

At each of these layers, various stakeholders are involved:

  1. Leadership Level: program sponsor and steering committee
  2. Management Level: program manager and potentially PMO leadership and staff
  3. Project Level: project sponsors, project managers, and project teams

In this step we’ll review tactics for engaging these stakeholders in the program and formalize their roles within a program charter.

The image contains an image to demonstrate the layers related to program management. Program management has various stakeholders that include: Project managers, Project teams, Program sponsor(s), Program steering committee, Program manager, Project sponsors.

A program sponsor is necessary to facilitate program management buy-in from the wider organization

If you’re following the “reactive path” to program management, you’ll need to engage an individual to function as sponsor and be the face of the program to the organization.

Evidence suggests the success or failure of projects and programs falls on the shoulders of the project and program sponsors.

Now that you know the scope of your program and its overarching goals, you can target a program sponsor.

  • A program sponsor is important because you will need someone not only to fund the program, but also to be accountable and transparent with the ability to implement strategy.
  • A strong sponsor will be key to overcoming resistance and ensuring the program is thought to deliver value as quickly as possible. Get them bought into the idea of the program and its objectives, and get them to spread the word that a PMO is going to be created.
  • The sponsor will also facilitate the coming together of a program steering committee on a regular basis to review program progress to ensure results and strategy alignment.

#1 driver of project success

Having actively engaged sponsors is the number one driver of project success. – PMI, 2014

"Sponsors must play a role at the project, program, and portfolio levels that furnish leaders and teams with the resources, opportunities, tools, and training they need to accomplish the goals they've been tasked with. To do anything short of this would be setting teams up for inevitable failure to a great extent." – Moira Alexander

Activity: Determine your program sponsor

2.1.1 5 to 10 minutes

Those on the reactive path to program management, who do not already have an obvious choice for program sponsor, should lean on the output of activity 1.1.3 to determine the best candidates for program sponsorship.

  • Using the outputs from tab 4 of the Organizer, create a list of the project sponsors who are most represented as sponsors on the projects on that list.
  • Based upon that those sponsors, determine who would make the best candidates and make plans to engage those individuals using the advice in the slides ahead. Your sponsor can be determined based upon the results of those conversations.

The image contains a screenshot of the program sponsor management activity.

INPUT

OUTPUT

  • Existing project lists
  • Project Program Organizer, tab 4
  • An identified project sponsor

Materials

Participants

  • Project Program Organizer
  • Initial Program Charter Template
  • PMO Director
  • Portfolio Manager
  • Program Manager

Document the program sponsor in section 6.1 of the Initial Program Charter Template.

Appoint a program board/steering committee

With a sponsor on board, leverage their influence in the organization to assemble an effective program steering committee.

The program sponsor will be a member or chair of the program steering committee and ensure program goals and objectives are aligned with the strategic vision. The sponsor should also do their best to remove barriers and obstacles to program success.

The program steering committee should:

  • Provide governance support for the program to include oversight, control, integration, and decision-making functions.
  • Ensure program goals and planned benefits align with organizational strategic and operational goals.
  • Conduct planning sessions to confirm, prioritize, and fund the program.
  • Review expected benefits delivery and approve program closure.
  • In small organizations, this role may be a single senior executive.

Once identified and on board, document committee membership in section 6.2 of the Initial Program Charter Template.

Info-Tech Insight

Provide a process for program management committee meetings and decisions. Without a documented process your committee can’t execute on its responsibilities. Clearly define the flow of information to make your committee actionable.

Stakeholder management is crucial at the program level

With the leadership layer on board, you’re ready to engage the wider pool of program stakeholders. Get ready.

Communication breakdown among stakeholders is one of the reasons projects fail. Any significant project has multiple stakeholders and requires the ongoing management of various tasks and resources. This is amplified at the program level. Some red flags to look out for are:

  • The project teams are engaging the program manager directly. There should be a clear chain of command: Project Teams > Project Managers > Program Managers.
  • Proliferation of program levels, tasks, and actions.
  • Lack of alignment between project escalations and program responses. This means the program is off doing its own thing and not supporting the projects.
  • Lack of alignment between Project Status Reports and Program Status Reports.
  • Lack of collaboration between PMO management, portfolio management, and program management
  • Lack of program sponsor. You will need a unifying executive voice to chair or be a member of the steering committee.

Info-Tech Insight

It’s important for the program manager to manage stakeholders at the program level and make sure they are being managed at the project level as well. Stakeholders that are interested in the overall program and not in any specific project have a tendency to be missed at the program level.

Activity: Use Info-Tech’s Stakeholder Register to list and analyze your stakeholders

2.1 Stakeholder Register

Download Info-Tech’s Program Stakeholder Register Template.

The image contains screenshots of the Program Stakeholder Register template to demonstrate how to complete activity 2.1.

Appoint a dedicated program manager

Not only do they need to understand the status of all the projects within the program, but they also need to see the big picture.

The role of a program manager is strategic as much as it is tactical. They are the ones who will integrate projects to reach a common goal. Each project manager will have their own milestones, but as a program manager you have to see the big picture, have a bird’s eye view, and see the how the different projects and milestones are interrelated on a program level.

The program manager is directly responsible for delivering benefits and getting the benefits to last after the program is done. As mentioned in The Standard for Program Management, the program manager should work within the five program performance domains throughout the duration of the program:

  • Program Strategy Alignment
  • Program Benefits Measurement
  • Program Stakeholder Engagement
  • Program Governance
  • Program Lifecycle Management

"[It’s about getting] buy in. People tend to just care about what they’re doing and the work they’re being evaluated on. It takes a lot of negotiation and a lot of promotion of the value and the end objective." – Mohamed Kotb, Program Manager, Deibold Nixdrof

Program managers need to keep one thing in mind when it comes to strategic goals

Choosing the strategic goals for a company and being asked to deliver on them are separate things. Don’t get caught up in things that are out of your control.

Three Risk Factors to Strategic Goal Delivery

  1. Project importance to said strategic goals (the higher the importance, the lower the risk appetite)
  2. Investments to goals through projects (the higher the investment, the lower the risk appetite)
  3. Project risks (scope, schedule, budget, benefits, and dependency risk)

Who has control over strategic goals?

IT Control

Person Accountable

Capability

Deciding on goals

No

Enterprise

Strategic

Deciding what level of investments goes into each goal

Somewhat

Executives/Directors

Portfolio Manager

Managing risks to the investments of those goals

Yes

Managers

Program Manager

Info-Tech Insight

As a program manager, you may not be able to control the goals, the importance of the goals, or the level of investment to the goals. Focus on what you can control: managing opportunities and mitigating risks.

Use Info-Tech’s Program Manager Job Description Template to help communicate the role

When looking to fill the position of program manager for your organization, keep in mind it’s sometimes difficult for good project managers to be good program managers.

  • In some cases, project managers can be too proactive and task oriented for this strategic role. Program managers can get derailed by managing the work instead of coordinating the benefits.
  • Lean on the Program Manager Job Description Template to help communicate the qualities and skills requirements you’ll need for successful program management.

Download Info-Tech’s Program Manager Job Description Template.

The image contains a screenshot of the Program Manager Job Description Template.

"The program manager can get sucked into the project work."– Pam Fluttert, Manager, PMO IST, and Connie van Oostveen, Manager, Portfolio Strategy

Step 2.2: Close the deal on program value delivery

PHASE 1

PHASE 2

1.1 Understand Program Management

1.2 Discuss Goals and Strategic Outcomes

1.3 Use Info-Tech’s Project Program Organizer tool to Determine Your Next Program

2.1 Get the Right People on Board

2.2 Develop and Finalize Your Program Charter

This step will walk you through the following activities:

  • Develop an initial program charter (could be used as a business case)
  • Develop a benefits realization plan to be managed through the program
  • Finalize the initial program charter
  • Confirm or communicate the program’s mandate to proceed

This step involves the following participants:

  • PMO Director, Portfolio Manager, or equivalent
  • Program managers

Outcomes of this step

  • Info-Tech’s Initial Program Charter Template
  • Info-Tech’s Program Manager Job Description Template

Benefits management is essential to program management success

It’s about outcomes. In the long term, people will forget how you got there.

By now you should have identified a strategic goal to guide the creation of your program, and you should have a list of projects to group into the program. The next step is to zero in on the project benefits that will help fulfill the realization of your program’s strategic direction. To do this, you’ll need to identify the individual project benefits or the collective benefit of all the projects within the program and how they tie back to your program’s strategic goal(s).

  • In this step we will look at the benefits associated with the individual projects in your program to bring clarity and metrics to how your program's strategic goals will be realized.

Info-Tech Insight

Beware of Scope Creep, but Welcome Value Creep. “Value Creep” – an increase beyond what was initially forecasted in benefits projection – should be part of the conversation as project managers manage scope creep and project change. Not all scope increases are necessarily bad!

Project benefits need to be realistic and measurable

All benefits should be measured with the use of a SMART metric, see below.

Of course, not all benefits will be quantifiable, and even if they are, the business may not have the ability to measure them accurately. Remember, you are trying to articulate the estimated value a project will deliver and you need to be able to measure this when the project is complete. Do not waste time trying to document a figure if metrics are not available, and do not set unrealistic expectations about the impact of a project on a particular metric.

S

Specific – The metric should reflect the performance of a specific function of a business unit, not overall firm or business unit success.

M

Measurable – The inputs needed to calculate the metric should be clearly defined and easily accessible, with an emphasis on ease of measurement. If the business unit is challenged to come up with a specific number or if good metrics are not available, provide a reasonable range or estimate future satisfaction with the metric (e.g. if current satisfaction with the number of hours the help desk spends dealing with CRM tickets is 1/5, you may estimate that one year after the new solution is implemented, satisfaction will be 5/5).

A

Assignable – Consider who is accountable for realizing this benefit. If achieving this benefit is going to involve multiple business unit owners, it may not be the best choice. Try to choose metrics that can be measured by one business function and signed off by a single owner.

R

Realistic – The target set for the metric should be realistically achievable and based on the most reasonable projections available. Try and collect baseline data before setting targets. If you are implementing a vendor solution, find out what similar organizations have achieved. Bear in mind that your organization is unique. External data should only be one input to your calculations.

T

Timely – The timeframe across which metric inputs are calculated should be short enough to reflect changes occurring due to seasonality or long-term trends, but also long enough to mitigate the effects of random short-term fluctuation.

Activity: Document project benefits to verify your program

2.1.1 1 hour

To align your program to your strategic goals you will need to identify the benefits of each project or the collective benefit of all the projects within the program. Once these are established you will know the goal of the program and will be able to manage the project benefits at the program level.

This activity will help you clearly see the links between projects, benefits, and strategic goals, and ultimately, provide metrics by which to measure or detect the fulfillment of strategic outcomes and program success.

  1. Take the list of 15 to 20 projects from the Organizer and write each project on a sticky note.
  2. As a group, take a few minutes and think of the intended benefits of the projects and write them on the whiteboard in no particular order (see the next slide for some examples).
  3. Take the project sticky notes and place them next to the benefit that the project is intended to deliver. Some projects may have multiple benefits, in that case duplicate the sticky note. If a project does not have an obvious benefit start a group of these on the other side of the whiteboard.
  4. Now look at your projects and their intended benefits and determine whether they make sense as a program. If they do, establish what strategic goal the program aligns to.

INPUT

OUTPUT

  • List of projects
  • List of strategic goals
  • List of potential benefits
  • Link projects to benefits
  • Link program to strategic goals
  • Identify projects without benefits

Materials

Participants

  • Whiteboard
  • Whiteboard markers
  • PMO Director
  • Portfolio Manager
  • Program Manager
  • CIO

2.1.1 Continued Sample Benefit Metrics Menu

Increase Earnings

Reduce Customer Churn

Revenue Drivers

Increase Revenue

Improve Customer Satisfaction

Expense Reduction

Increase Staff Knowledge

Improve Financial Transparency

Improve Engagement

Improve Profit Margins

Improve Talent Acquisition

New Customer Acquisitions

Improve Staff Retention

Value of Customer Acquisitions

Improve Positioning

Ease Effort to Acquire New Accounts/Customers

Strengthen/Grow Partnerships

Improve Customer Interaction Quality

Cost Drivers

Improve Employee Productivity

Improve Product Quality

Free Up Staff Time

Reduce Costs

Reduce Error Rate

Cost Avoidance

Improve Speed of Decisions

Reduce Competitive Risk

Improve Quality of Decisions

Reduce/Mitigate Liability Risk

Reduce Space Requirements

Avoid Regulatory Warnings

Reduce Staffing Requirements

Avoid Non-Compliance Penalties

Improve Company Image

Plan to track and report on value delivery

Info-Tech’s Delivery Project Value With a Benefits Legitimacy Initiative blueprint can help you define a benefits management process.

Now that you’ve determined the value drivers within your program, you’re almost ready to formalize your charter and introduce your proposed program to the organization. As you move forward to the next steps of program management, be sure to have a process for benefits management at the level of individual projects to track how the individual pieces within the program are (or are not) driving the program’s overall goals.

  • If you do not already have a benefits management process, use Info-Tech’s Deliver Project Value With a Benefits Legitimacy Initiative.
  • This research equips you with the processes, tools, and templates you’ll need for articulating effective benefits and tracking those benefits through the project management lifecycle and beyond.

The image contains a screenshot of the Deliver Project Value with a Benefits Legitimacy Initiative.

For a deeper dive into benefits definition, tracking, and realization, refer to Info-Tech’s Deliver Project Value With a Benefits Legitimacy Initiative blueprint.

Info-Tech Insight

Don’t let subjective whims and fancies guide your organization’s project activity. Get project sponsors to commit to metrics that are realistic and measurable, and hold those project sponsors accountable for tracking and reporting on benefits realization and program value delivery.

Finalize your program charter and confirm or communicate the program’s mandate to proceed

The program charter shares the vision to achieve consensus between stakeholders and projects and initiatives of the program. Each project should have its own project charter that aligns with the overall program charter. In the charter, articulate:

  • The strategic objectives of the program
  • Potential strategies for delivery
  • Expected improvements and benefits
  • How the program fits with other initiatives

Use the program charter from this blueprint to initiate your program and submit it for approval to proceed. Make sure it has:

  • Purpose
  • Contribution to business objectives
  • Expected value created
  • Time frames

This charter can also be used as a business case should you need one. Don’t forget to get the signatures from your sponsors to confirm accountability.

Info-Tech Insight

Clearly describe your intended benefits in the charter and update it as needed. The program manager should be actively seeking to maximize benefits as the situation unfolds.

If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

The image contains a picture of an analyst.

  • To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.
  • Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team onsite at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.
  • Contact your account manager (www.infotech.com/account), or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

The image contains a screenshot of activity 2.1.1, Determine Your Program Sponsor.

Determine Your Program Sponsor

Decide on who would make the best candidate and make plans to engage them.

The image contains a screenshot of activity 2.1 List and Analyze Program Stakeholders.

List and Analyze Program Stakeholders

Determine the wider pool of program stakeholders and make plans to engage them.

If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

The image contains a screenshot of activity 2.1.1 Document Project Benefits to Verify Your Program.

Document Project Benefits to Verify Your Program.

Establish the links between projects, benefits, and strategic goals.

Summary of accomplishment

Knowledge Gained

  • An understanding of program management and how it fits into an organization.
  • Projects alone cannot deliver value to an organization, value is a program-level construct.
  • Projects are investments to further goals and programs, and program mangers can mitigate risks to protect those investments.

Processes Optimized

  • Benefits realization
  • Documentation of strategic goals
  • Aligning projects and initiatives to strategic goals
  • Grouping project and initiatives into programs to maximize benefits and improve delivery

Deliverables Completed

  • Current State SWOT Analysis
  • Benefits Realization Assessment Survey
  • Project Program Organizer
  • Stakeholder Register
  • Program Manager Job Description
  • Program Charter

Related Info-Tech research

Tailor Project Management Processes to Fit Your Projects

Deliver Project Value With a Benefits Legitimacy Initiative

Manage a Minimum-Viable PMO

Optimize Project Intake, Approval, and Prioritization

Develop a Project Portfolio Management Strategy

Bibliography

Bigelow, B. “Why program management is essential for IT projects.” Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2015 – EMEA, London, England. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute. 11 May 2015. Web.

Bloch, Michael, Sven Blumberg, and Jürgen Laartz. “Delivering large-scale IT projects on time, on budget, and on value.” McKinsey Digital. Oct. 2012. Web.

Bourne, L. Differentiating normal, complex and megaprojects. Mosaicproject's Blog. 2019. Web. 10 Mar. 2019.

Brown, James T. The Handbook Of Program Management. 2nd ed., McGraw Hill Education, 2008.

Great Britain. Office of Government Commerce. “Managing successful programmes.” London: TSO (The Stationary Office), 4th ed., 2011.

Haddad, R. S. The six unspoken habits of highly effective program managers. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2009 – Asia Pacific, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute. 11 Feb 2009. Web.

Institute, Project Management. Standard For Program Management. 4th ed., Project Management Institute, 2017.

Kappelman, Leon A., Robert McKeeman, and Lixuan Zhang. “Early Warning Signs of IT Project Failure: The Dominant Dozen.” Information Systems Management. Fall 2006. Web.

KPMG. “Driving business performance.” Project Management Survey 2017. 2017. Web.

Nguyen, My Hanh. “An Appropriate Approach for Program and Project Management.” COBIT Focus. 25 July 2016. Web.

PMI. “Executive Sponsor Engagement — Top Driver of Project and Program Success.” PMI’s Pulse of the Profession In-Depth Report. Oct. 2014. Web.

PMI®, “Pulse of the Profession: The High Cost of Low Performance.” February 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2018.

Rahschulte, T. Aligning execution and strategy through program management. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2014 – North America, Phoenix, AZ. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute. 25 Oct. 2014. Web.

Thiry, Michel. Program Management. 1st ed., Gower Publishing Limited, 2010.

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A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

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Guided Implementation #1 - Assess current projects and determine your next program
  • Call #1 - Perform a scoping call.
  • Call #2 - Determine your current level of project coordination and benefits realization.
  • Call #3 - Discuss what value looks like and identify goals.
  • Call #4 - Identify related projects.

Guided Implementation #2 - Initiate program
  • Call #1 - Discuss roles and responsibilities and determine program stakeholders.
  • Call #2 - Discuss stakeholder management.
  • Call #3 - Identify the intended benefits of the program and develop a benefits realization plan that will be managed through the program to ensure that planned benefits always have owners and are achieved, sustained, and optimized.
  • Call #4 - Create program charter in preparation to initiate the program.

Author

Ugbad Farah

Contributors

  • Mohamed Kotb, Program Manager, Diebold Nixdorf
  • Pam Fluttert, Manager PMO IST, University of Waterloo
  • Connie van Oostveen Manager, Portfolio Strategy, University of Waterloo
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