Programme Management: Build capability, Roll it out, and Deliver Business Benefit

Some people view programme management as simply the management of multiple projects (see for example Johanna Rothman: Defining Program Management and How Agile Helps).

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.

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Reporting Success Stories Alongside Formal Benefits

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.

So, to spice things up, I also report on success stories.
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Reinforcing Success in Products and Projects

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.

Wikipedia: Reinforcing Success

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.
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Difference between programme, project, portfolio and product management

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

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.
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