A program is a collection of projects that work together to achieve an organizational goal. They can be part of a portfolio or standalone and are managed in a coordinated way to achieve benefits not possible by managing them separately.
There are four main types of programs: vision-led, mandated, business and transformational programmes.
Vision-led programmes are those that have a defined vision of how the company should look after the work is done, and have a strong commitment from senior leaders to that end goal. They tend to be transformative and deliver organisational or cultural change, such as a restructure or a major overhaul of operating principles.
They are often complex and difficult to manage, because they involve so many teams and projects. They can also be expensive to run and require a lot of resource allocation to implement.
Programmes are typically large scale and long term in nature, so they require strategic planning. They also rely on cross-functional teams and multiple projects, which can be time consuming and costly to execute.
The first step in getting a vision-led program up and running is to get the business on board with it, but this can be difficult for some companies because they don’t necessarily like to change or may have an internal culture that doesn’t welcome the idea of change at all.
In order to be successful, the program needs to have a clear and concise vision and a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be monitored and evaluated against over time. This allows the program to understand what’s working and what isn’t, so it can make adjustments if required.
These goals can be based on business or financial objectives, and are usually a high priority for the company. They can include improving customer experience, driving productivity or reducing costs.
Businesses can choose to use a program or project management approach for their initiatives, depending on the size and complexity of the programme. They can also choose to use a mix of both approaches, depending on their organization’s circumstances and culture.
There are many differences between the two, with a program being more general and chasing higher-level objectives, while a project is more specific. They both have a scope, but projects have to be delivered within a specified period of time and to budget.
A program is an umbrella for a range of similar initiatives, which can be coordinated and implemented under a single structure to benefit from more efficient resource utilization, lessened conflict and more effective control. This type of management is called program management and it can be a powerful tool to help organizations improve their outcomes.
Whether they are large or small, companies need to take advantage of this practice in order to be more effective. They can do this by improving the alignment of their goals with strategic objectives, managing their project interdependencies and more effectively utilizing resources to achieve desired outcomes.
There are several ways to implement a program, which include using the program management frameworks that have been developed by industry organizations such as the Program Management Institute. These practices include developing a program’s operating model, decision-making and monitoring, risk management, and more. The key is to find the right combination of these practices that best fit the objectives and context of a particular program.