The program management discipline is required when multiple projects are necessary to deliver the required business outcomes. The program needs to identify the strategy for addressing the business needs and define the scope and timing of projects required to deliver the business outcomes.
The program defines what the projects need to deliver and the projects are about defining how they will deliver it. What tasks are required, what resources will be needed, what the timing and funding requirements are.
The program will use these as input into defining the overall program plan and timeframes, including program wide activities such as integration testing, cutover, go-live and so on.
The program may also adjust the scope of projects as things progress and as the business environment changes.
We use a structured business case framework to establish and manage large programs of work. The business case framework establishes and maintains linkages between the program goals and individual project objectives and deliverables. It also establishes the overall business and systems framework, assumptions and program approach that will be used.
Because of the sometimes highly complex nature of large programs it can be useful to use a tool to capture and track the key deliverables at the program level. A tool can reduce the overhead of maintaining a program wide view of requirements and deliverables. Over the years we have developed out own tool, iProject, for assisting with the following:
- Documenting the Product Breakdown Structure (PBS), including the organisation structure, processes, functions and IT systems
- Document the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), including program tasks such as planning, architecture and change management as well as projects and project tasks
- Identifying IT systems and interfaces
- Documenting issues and risks
- Planning and capturing capital and operational expenses
- Capturing time sheets.