Fundamentals of Program Management

Course Details
Tuition (USD): $1,495.00 • Classroom (2 days)

Large projects need more project management rigor and structure to be successful. However, when projects get very, very, large it is very difficult to deliver them successfully - even with good project management discipline. They are just too complex to manage as a single, coherent project. A better approach is to break up the very large projects into multiple smaller projects. It is easier to be successful on each of these multiple smaller projects than the one large project. Some of these smaller projects may still be large, but they are not as large as the entire project. The problem with generating multiple smaller projects is that they may rapidly spin out of control. The projects may make decisions that will result in the sum of the parts not integrating into a holistic solution at the end. Programs are an umbrella structure that allows you to manage a group of projects in a way to gain greater benefit than what could be achieved from managing the projects separately. The program allows us the best of both worlds. The very large initiative is broken down into many smaller projects that are easier to manage. At the same time you provide management and guidance to all of the projects to ensure that the common objectives and common deliverables are completed successfully.

Skills Gained

  • Understand when to apply project, program and portfolio concepts based on the characteristics of the work
  • Recognize different models for programs and which are most common
  • Know the roles of program manager and project manager and the differences between them
  • Validate the alignment of programs with the organization strategic plan
  • Apply the critical concept of benefits management to ensure benefits are realized and sustained
  • Ensure governance is applied in a program at both a project and program level
  • Implement a Program Management Office (PgMO) to support critical programs in your organization
  • Demonstrate your understanding of the comprehensive set of planning activates required on most programs
  • Perform the required work to monitor and control the program including managing risks, issues, scope, schedule, budget and quality
  • Effectively close a program

Who Can Benefit

  • Project Managers
  • Business Analysts
  • Program Managers
  • Technical Leads
  • Systems Architects
  • Developers
  • Quality Assurance

Course Details

1. Introducing Program Management

Let's first ensure we have a high-level understanding of program management – especially as it compares with project management and portfolio management. Programs are a way to structure work that has certain characteristics. These characteristics make them different than projects and portfolios. In this section we will cover:

  • Projects, programs and portfolios
  • The role of a program manager versus a project manager
  • Defining operations and support, and how these two types of work fit into the program management model
  • Class Exercise: Explain the challenges associated with trying to coordinate the work of many related projects
  • Class Exercise: Read a number of statements and decide if they refer to projects, programs or portfolios – or multiple concepts

2. The Four Domains of Program Management

There are a number of themes that need to integrate into programs. These are not just concepts you consider one time. These are to be thought about and managed throughout the program.

  • Aligning programs to strategy
  • Managing program benefits
  • Providing program governance
  • Engaging program stakeholders
  • Class Exercise: A case study is introduced. This first exercise is to read the case study and determine the business benefits to be delivered from the program
  • Class Exercise: Students are asked to review the case study to determine the major stakeholders. For each stakeholder the teams determine the level of importance, level of influence and the type of influence they have on the program

3. Program Definition

The lifecycle of a program can be divided into three distance phases – definition, benefits delivery and closure. Program definition is the planning phase of the program. This is where the work scope is defined, resources are estimated, risks are identified, infrastructure established, etc. This is critical to ensuring the program is structured in the right way to facilitate success. This is the longest section in the class. Some of the concepts covered include:

  • Initiating the program team
  • Developing the Program Management Plan
  • Creating the program infrastructure that allows projects to execute in a common manner
  • Setting up a Program Management Office, if necessary
  • Defining program scope, and using the scope to create a Program Work Breakdown Structure and the Program Schedule
  • Identifying program risks and responding to the risks
  • Using the stakeholder analysis to create a Program Communication Plan
  • Identifying interfaces and transition points between the program and outside entities
  • Class Exercise: The teams review the case study to determine the type of program infrastructure that would be most beneficial
  • Class Exercise: Use the information provided on the case study projects to create a high-level program Gantt Chart
  • Class Exercise: Use the case study to identify four program risks. Create risk plans for at least two of the identified risks
  • Class Exercise: Create a Program Communication Plan using two of the major program stakeholder groups as examples
  • Class Exercise: Identify interfaces and transition points in the case study program. Be sure to understand the outside entity that is related as the interface or transition
  • Class Exercise: Review all of the concepts discussed in the program definition phase. Discuss which processes may not be needed for the case study project

4. Deliver Program Benefit

Although the program definition phase is fundamentally important to the program, the vast majority of the work takes place during program delivery. This is where all of the underlying projects are executed and the benefits of the program are delivered. The key here is to monitor the work of the projects and to understand the relationships between the projects and the program. In this section we will cover:

  • Monitoring and controlling finances
  • Controlling the program schedule
  • Understanding and managing program scope
  • Performing quality assurance and quality control
  • Managing program interdependencies
  • Developing the program team
  • Executing the program Communication Plan
  • Managing common elements of program procurement
  • Class Exercise: Review different scenarios that arise in the case study to determine if they refer to scope changes
  • Class Exercise: Practice applying issues management to a number of problems that arise on the case study program
  • Class Exercise: Discuss high-performing teams and how they can be facilities on a program
  • Class Exercise: Review the case study for elements that could require outside vendors. Determine what factors you will use to determine the best vendor in each area

5. Close Program

The program manager must ensure that a program is not closed haphazardly. Programs are by definition large initiatives. It is important that the work be reviewed, important artifacts are saved, final products are approved, contractors are paid, etc. This section will discuss what is needed for an orderly close.

  • Ensuring program deliverables are transitioned successfully to operations
  • Closing the Financial Framework
  • Understanding the many other aspects of formally closing a program