Programme management for project delivery

Programme management for project delivery

What is programme management?

A programme is a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually. Programmes include an element of ongoing work and may include elements or related work outside the scope of discrete projects in the programme (PMBOK, 2009)

Programme management, in the right context, and tailored to it, can deliver better outcomes on risk, quality, speed of delivery, resources, finances, stakeholders, scope and change; communication and team knowledge and learning.

Use programme management where:
  • Benefits can be gained by coordinating multiple projects, which will not be realised if the projects were managed independently
  • Projects are linked to an overall client organisational strategy
  • Projects are of a similar nature and can be linked together to obtain the advantages of repetition
  • Projects can be grouped together because of their similar supporting service deliveries and governance requirements, or common stakeholder, change management and risk profiles
  • Similar planning, procurement or implementation timelines exist (CIDB, 2010)

A programme management approach is being used successfully in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

As programme manager, MWH is managing and expediting the repair and reconstruction of police and fire stations, streets, community centres, recreation facilities, court buildings, museums, libraries, parks, underground utilities, and associated infrastructure as part of the post-Katrina rebuilding effort. This work represents an integral step in the implementation of the Citywide Strategic Recovery and Rebuilding Plan.

The Recovery Programme is currently monitoring the performance of 355 Facilities projects with an approximate value of $758 million and 287 Department of Public Works projects with a value of $626 million.

Source: MWH Project Description Sheet

Further reading

APM Introduction to Programme Management
OGC Introduction for Programme Management

Tailor programme management processes to the local and project needs and context

In the start-up stages, the programme management processes should be tailored to the local and project needs and context, to enable success.

Further Reading and References

  1. PMBOK® Guide (2009) A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, Third Edition
  2. Nguyen, N.M., (2007) The Challenges of Transferring Modern Project Management Principles and Methodologies to Developing Countries, PMI Global Congress
  3. Zeitoun, Dr. A.A. (2008) Managing Projects across Multi-National Cultures, A Unique Experience, 29th Annual Project Management Institute Seminars and Symposium, California
  4. IDMS Practice Guide 2: Construction procurement strategy, 2010

Consider the local context to get the programme detail right

  • Who are the approving bodies/ organisations and what are their expectations of the approval process and timeframes required?
  • How easily is information shared among organisations; what are the timeframes for transfer of project information, or barriers to transfer?
  • What technology and systems, if any, are available to support the programme and scope management functions?
  • How long is the working day and are there any local holiday periods that need to be considered in the programme?
  • Are there any local socioeconomic, political or environmental conditions which are likely to affect scope/programme?
  • Make a realistic assessment of project manager capabilities or shortcomings – training needs for delivery organisations
  • A "top-down" approach in many developing countries may generate a need to overcome institutional problems within client organisations such as: unclear responsibility, lines of approval and accountability (Zeitoun, 2008)