Although programmes often comprise multiple related projects this definition, for me, misses the real point. As I see it programme management involves three things: building capability, rolling it out and, most importantly, delivering business benefit.
Ever since I read "Made to Stick" by the Heath Brothers I’ve been a keen collector of success stories about my programme.
As the programme manager I have to report on the progress of my team. Risks, Issues, Budget, Milestones, Financial Benefits, Reach, etc, etc. Lots of numbers and facts. Terribly significant and rather dull.
A fundamental military axiom is to reinforce success.
Reinforcing success is a strategic concept used in many areas of decision making and management. Originally a military doctrine, the term is also used in theories related to parenting, business and other fields. It is essentially a selection criterion, or a prioritizing principle. A course of action is selected from various options on the basis of previous results of similar actions. The basic idea is: if it works, keep doing it; if it doesn’t, don’t invest more in something that’s failing.
I believe businesses should apply this principle to projects, products and product features. So not surprisingly I apply this as a guiding principle in my own work as an agile programme manager. Continue reading →
P3M stands for "programme, portfolio and project management". Product management is a closely related discipline and as most software organisations do product development I’ll include it in the discussion.
P3M Levels: programme, project, portfolio and product management
That bit is simple. The tricky bit is agreeing what a project, product, portfolio or programme is. Projects and products are pretty straight forward but definitions vary quite a lot for programme and portfolio. A portfolio for some people is a set of products where for others it is a group of projects. I have, for example, met a portfolio manager who was responsible for some projects and within the same division met a another portfolio manager who was responsible for the product portfolio of the entire division. Programmes are sometimes seen as simply as a complex project or set of projects, or, more interestingly, as an initiative to deliver business benefit. Continue reading →