First let’s define what a programme is in relation to project management. It’s a cluster of related projects that are managed in a coordinated manner, so they can be executed simultaneously and share resources, activities and stakeholders.
It’s important to remember that the balance of skills required of a programme manager often changes as the programme develops. Therefore the person with the skills to identify or define the programme may not necessarily be the right person to drive through its implementation.
So it’s important that whoever is appointed has sufficient seniority and credibility to advise project teams on their projects, and the ability to find ways of solving or pre-empting problems.
Now one if the first acts of the programme manager should be to have an appropriate work breakdown structure for each project. This is important as it allows the programme manager to depict the interdependencies between projects with regard to content and time frame.
This is also a vital stage in defining the important milestones for each project, which are later used to then monitor the programme.
In addition it would be useful to use a strong multi-project program management tool, especially if your programme involves remote resources.
On large and complex programmes it may be appropriate to appoint other individuals to support the programme manager for some of the particular responsibilities, for example a risk manager, or a communications manager.
In closing, it’s important to remember that success in managing a programme greatly depends on how well each related project is performed and whether all possible conflicts with other related projects are resolved early.
It all starts with the programme manager clearly defining and communicating a clear and compelling purpose of the programme to all involved in the beginning.
So what are the skills and attributes needed to be a Programme Manager?
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