February 13, 2015

Programme and Project Management

The program manager has oversight of the purpose and status of the projects in a program and can use this oversight to support project-level activity to ensure the program goals are met by providing a decision-making capacity that cannot be achieved at project level or by providing the project manager with a program perspective when required, or as a sounding board for ideas and approaches to solving project issues that have program impacts. In a program there is a need to identify and manage cross-project dependencies and often the PMO (Program or Project Management Office) may not have sufficient insight of the risk, issues, requirements, design or solution to be able to usefully manage these. The Program manager may be well placed to provide this insight by actively seeking out such information from the Project Managers although in large and/or complex projects, a specific role may be required. However this insight arises, the Program Manager needs this in order to be comfortable that the overall program goals are achievable.

There are two different views of how programs differ from projects.

On one view, projects deliver outputs, discrete parcels or “chunks” of change;[1] programs create outcomes.[2] On this view, a project might deliver a new factory, hospital or IT system. By combining these projects with other deliverables and changes, their programs might deliver increased income from a new product, shorter waiting lists at the hospital or reduced operating costs due to improved technology.

The other view[3] is that a program is nothing more than either a large project or a set (or portfolio) of projects. On this second view, the point of having a program is to exploit economies of scale and to reduce coordination costs and risks. The project manager’s job is to ensure that their project succeeds. The program manager, on the other hand, may not care about individual projects, but is concerned with the aggregate result or end-state. For example, in a financial institution a program may include one project that is designed to take advantage of a rising market, and another to protect against the downside of a falling market. These projects are opposites with respect to their success conditions, but they fit together in the same program.

 

 

A project manager is the person responsible for accomplishing the stated project objectives. Key project management responsibilities include creating clear and attainable project objectives, building the project requirements, and managing the constraints of the project management triangle, which are cost, time, scope, and quality.

A project manager is often a client representative and has to determine and implement the exact needs of the client, based on knowledge of the firm they are representing. A project manager is the bridging gap between the production team and client. So he/she must have a fair knowledge of the industry they are in so that they are capable of understanding and discussing the problems with either party. The ability to adapt to the various internal procedures of the contracting party, and to form close links with the nominated representatives, is essential in ensuring that the key issues of cost, time, quality and above all, client satisfaction, can be realized.

The term and title ‘project manager’ has come to be used generically to describe anyone given responsibility to complete a project. However, it is more properly used to describe a person with full responsibility and the same level of authority required to complete a project. If a person does not have high levels of both responsibility and authority then they are better described as a project administrator, coordinator, facilitator or expeditor.