Streamlining an organisation’s approach to business activities offers many benefits, including cost reductions, increased efficiency, and better resource management. When a business is looking to introduce better management methods, they need to tackle concerns at both a granular and bird’s eye level. This can be enabled by introducing program management plans and methods.
Program management and project management are two different but interrelated processes. Project management handles the individual undertakings of a business to generate revenue and meet other objectives. However, program management is broader in terms and covers multiple project undertakings by an organization.
The goal of program management is to ensure the organization can handle multiple projects with maximum returns and minimal wastage. Program management explains how projects need to be prioritized based on benefits to the organization and stakeholders, interdependencies between projects, and resource needs. With 9.9% of every dollar made by an organization lost to poor project management, introducing a program management system could be the start of better business practices.
What Is A Program Management Plan?
A program management plan works as the blueprint for all information regarding the changes introduced by the new management practice. The document offers an in-depth explanation regarding processes, rules for execution, and general policies. It is a culmination of multiple documents. All stakeholders are encouraged to contribute to this plan actively.
Purpose Of The Program Management Plan
This dynamic document manages all processes and activities. This formal, detailed manual introduces management, control, and execution guidelines to ensure organizations stay on track. The plan contains various components that contribute to the overall success of all business activities. It also includes the implementation of budgets, timelines, resources, and strategies. A program management plan’s dynamic nature comes from its ability to be edited and adapted to new decisions. As new information is gathered by executing the plan’s various aspects, alterations to the plan are made. This ensures business objectives are the number one priority of the plan’s decisions no matter what internal or external circumstances arise.
Components Of A Program Management Plan
A number of documents and collaterals form the base for a program management plan. This includes but is not limited to information from senior leadership, case studies, internal analysis and auditing reports, governing bodies, project/program scopes, sponsors, and other stakeholders.
A framework or preliminary plan is made to act as a mockup and to get a clear understanding of key factors like costs and benefits. The document is then submitted to review for further improvement. As the feedback and the new information surfaces, the plan evolves to fit the same. Before concluding the program, final changes to implement are decided upon with a detailed report. The final stage is to create a repository of important business documentation for later reference by the organization.
The format of a program management plan must include:
- A comprehensive program definition that explains the scope of the project, strategies implemented, and a detailed overview of the plan
- A deep dive into the resources needed to ensure the program’s success
- Information regarding how business objectives will be met and managed
- A detailed roadmap of the flow within the program
- Rules and regulations to maintain program governance
- Maps detailing the organization’s hierarchical structures
- Frameworks for planning elements within the program, including contingency plans
- Frameworks for the management of control elements within the program flow
- Execution pathways and details, including managing project components, introducing timelines and schedules, communication flow, and how activities need to be carried out
- Instructions and suggestions to ensure a smooth transition into the program management plan
- Regulations on how projects must be concluded
- Information regarding all critical deliverables in both short and long-term capacities
- Comprehensive information regarding variable factors that could be risks or assumptions to be considered
A Sample Program Management Plan
The program management plan begins with a program overview. This streamlines the vision for the plan, the value in terms of reaching business goals, and often a program scope. It then moves into schedule management. This covers all aspects of implementing and managing time frames, along with organization roles and their responsibilities. The change management section offers crystalline detailing on how the new systems and regulations introduced in the plan can be implemented. It covers the actions to be implemented and how to monitor decision making components.
The communications management section contains all information regarding chains of command along with the scope and required frequency of interactions. To define resource requirements, cost management, and staffing management define detailed budgets, staff allocation, timeframes, and monitoring guidelines. A procurement management heading explains how external stakeholders, such as vendors, are to be maintained and managed. The plan’s final three headings cover how to manage internal stakeholders, how risks should be approached, and how overall maintenance of goals and activities will be covered.
Risk management specifies how any perceivable threats are to be handled by an organization. It details who handles these issues and offers assessment mechanisms. Stakeholder management identifies all individuals and entities that are affected by meeting business goals and objectives. A system is implemented to ensure all their feedback is carefully considered when making any changes or new additions to the plan. Finally, Program Governance outlines the ethical aspect of the plan. This closing section offers clear cut reporting flows along with mandatory rules and regulations that must be followed.
Program management plans also include management tools like Gantt charts, Risk logs, Work Breakdown structures, Milestone charts, and Change control forms.
A program management plan is a slightly complicated but increasingly beneficial endeavor taken on by organizations looking to “do better.” It is a comprehensive document that requires careful planning and research to put together. The detailed structures within the plan allow companies to understand their costs and benefits on a granular level. It also allows a blanket of governing ideas to be implemented to ensure that business activities positively contribute to overall missions, visions, and objectives. The plan also offers the benefits of lean management principles focusing on organization, efficiency, and effectiveness. Various contributors/stakeholders offer many perspectives that can be used to improve activities and execution from different angles. This improves the overall quality of business activities and offers increased long term benefits to the organization.
That’s it, folks! I hope this step-by-step guide to creating a program management plan could help a business gain a competitive advantage and inch closer to its mission and visions. Certifications in program management and project management are available for qualified professionals to upskill themselves and improve their knowledge and expertise. Some of the popular project management certification courses that individuals and enterprise team members can take up are: