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Improvements achieved by understanding and effective application of program management

Project Management outcomes have continued to improve significantly since our initial survey in the 1980s. More recently in another PSA survey (2017) Project Management’s measure of success rated at 80%, considerably greater than that of its successor, Program Management, where greater understanding and application is needed, at 55%.

The need for organisations to deliver change through programs and projects has only increased in this time and the most recent world-wide study from the PMI has highlighted the correlation between top performing organisations and those that “ensure their Project and Program Managers have the right skills to drive and navigate change in this dynamic environment”.

So, how can this be achieved? This is a key challenge that organisations face when developing a business case based only on the traditional project outputs of time, cost, scope, rather than focusing on the measure of value (and its realisation).

This requires deeper understanding of the business outcomes to be delivered by program and project managers. Being able to clearly define and measure outcomes for any project demands greater stakeholder engagement to be able to walk in their shoes and see it from their point of view. These are new soft skill-sets not typically associated with the hard skills of project management and they need to be recognised by organisations as an important part of the project and programme manager’s role.

Business outcomes are complicated and multi-layered, so these so called soft skills could be dismissed as too hard by those traditional project managers who have deadlines to meet and budgets to be maintained. That is where strong leadership and governance is needed to support an organisation’s program and project managers to improve in this area.

So, the understanding and effective application of Program Management will enable an organisation to prosper in turbulent times, minimising risk, controlling costs and preparing them for positive opportunities into the future – what step will you take to improve your organisation’s future?