Program management serves as an overall vehicle for the transformation effort. It aims to support the implementation of the decided strategy in order to achieve the expected benefits in business transformations. A program is defined as a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control unrealized when they are managed individually.
A project, on the other hand, is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result. Projects tend to have definite start and finish points, with the aim of delivering a predetermined output, giving them relatively clear development paths from initiation to delivery. Programs, on the contrary, exist to create value by enriching the management of projects in isolation. Programs typically have a more strategic vision of the desired end goal, but no clearly defined path to get there. Therefore, program management is expected to deal with the uncertainty surrounding the achievement of the vision, whereas projects work best where the outputs can be well defined. As project management is embedded within program management, this chapter will predominantly focus on program management, with project management being discussed as a tangential topic.
Program and project management mainly address the engage phase, with some also playing a role in the transform phase for business transformation success:
- Engage: During this phase, programs are set up and executed to deliver the specific benefits identified by value management. Furthermore, programs are coordinated and its components and projects are integrated. Last, quality requirements are identified and the need for additional capacity and skills is evaluated
- Transform: This phase monitors the allocated budget and time to ensure that they are not exceeded throughout the business transformation. It also considers realistically how much effort it would take to complete a business transformation in terms of duration and cost.
Source: Rosemann, M., Recker, J., Safrudin, N., Marketsmueller, R. (2012). Program and Project Management. In A. Uhl & L. A. Gollenia (Eds.), Handbook of Business Transformation Management Methodology. Farnham, UK: Gower. p. 217