Program management is managing a program which consists of several related projects, and often where the completion of the projects achieves an overall program aim.
Programs may spread across several disciplines for example when developing a new product, which may involve engineering, logistics, marketing, supply chain, manufacturing and others.
It is advised to group projects into a program when some of the following conditions are met:
- together a group of projects are part of an overall strategy
- there are advantages to grouping the projects together
- direction by senior management would be advantageous
- where the nature of the projects is that there is advantage to managing them as a program
Programs can be diven by strategy, vision, compliance or the need for rationalisation of project management.
Soome methodologies for program management state that there are seven principles of programs as follows:
The program should be aligned with the strategy of the organisation
The program should have a staregic purpose which requires high level management
Programs are well suited to supporting major change guided by a vision. This may involve activities such as preparation, planning, reorganisation, communication and alteration of the thinking of employees
The program enables an overall focus on the various activities within it and their benefits to the organisation
The program may feature a number of projects where cros project consistency is required
Staff working within the program may have complimentry skills which can assist in overall delivery
The program may be able to reduce overall costs by grouping together projects which have similarities and where there might be overlap, or or where one set of staff expertise could serve several programs.
Here is a YouTube video which explains the differences between program and project management.