A program is a collection of coordinated projects all working toward the same grand result for the business. But beyond that definition, programs can still come in different shapes and sizes. In a post for the Association for Project Management, Chris Beach discusses different “breeds” of programs.
To clarify, all programs have universal elements of governance, planning, controls, and change management in common. Yet programs require different approaches to be successful, depending on if they are meant to be lean and agile or thick and resilient (or something in-between). The two types of program Beach addresses are multi-project programs and repeat project programs. About approaching the multi-project programs, he says this:
Leaders of multi-project programmes will need to develop approaches that keep the focus on the benefits and outcomes and embed this at the heart of all programme management activities. This will compel those involved in the programme to undertake the projects that will have the greatest likelihood of delivering the organisation’s strategy and to then closely manage the interdependencies between projects to generate high levels of confidence in delivery of the intended capabilities, outcomes and benefits.
In repeat project programs meanwhile, Beach says optimizing commercial arrangements across the program will be critical. Fine-tuning timing of elements so that resource availability aligns with work demands will also prove invaluable. In other words, program managers will need to develop a rhythm for asset deployment.
The ultimate goal of program managers should be to find ways to make programs more than the sum of their parts. Intuitively, this might be easier to achieve in multi-project programs than repeat project programs, but this just increases the need for thoughtful planning. For further detail, you can view the original post here: https://www.apm.org.uk/blog/chihuahua-or-great-dane-what-breed-your-programme