When you gain responsibilities,
you give up some control.
“To have greater influence over the program, you give up direct control over
each project task. The program manager is not a firefighter, but instead looks
for changes or delays in activities, identifies possible risks and prepares the team
for things that could go wrong.
Don’t wait for stakeholders to read their report and react. As you get to know
their habits, you will learn that some need a phone call or targeted email to draw
their attention. If a stakeholder flags an issue, then, as the program manager,
you need to determine a corrective course of action. When the stakeholders are
engaged, they can support with resources and monitoring. That will encourage
team members to address the issues.
Look for problems and facilitate prompt resolution, and be available for your
teams when they need you.”
—Philip Doty, PMI-RMP, PMP, PgMP, is program manager, citizen & defense services, for
Serco North America in Reston, Virginia, USA.
Bring high-level executives on board,
and think like one.
“While effective project management is an essential foundation for any change
initiative, it is rarely enough on its own. What is almost always required is
an extra layer—program management—to bring together a project and its
supporting change activities, focused on delivering the organization’s strategic priorities. The three big pillars of successful change programs are senior
management sponsorship, stakeholder engagement and communication, and
Recently, I was asked to lead a business transformation initiative to boost
sales and change a company’s culture. As a first step, we made sure that we got
the senior management team aligned around the strategic objectives. As a second step, instead of thinking only of one single project with deliverables on time
and budget, we conducted a workshop to draw the map for the change journey
ahead. The map provided an excellent framework, and using it throughout the
program for progress reporting proved invaluable to helping the stakeholders
visualize how far we had come with benefits realization.”
—Christian de Loës, PMP, is managing director and interim change program manager for
Prosensit Management Consulting AB in Stockholm, Sweden.
You need a strategic perspective, but your project
managers do, too.
“As a young project manager, I was lucky to work for an organization that
clearly expressed its strategy and encouraged managers to show their employees how their daily tasks helped the company reach its goals. This approach has
been an integral part of my program management practice. Working in the IT
world, I have to lead highly technical teams, which I’ve found have a hard time
thinking in terms of business value instead of product features.
“The program manager is not a
firefighter, but instead looks for
changes or delays in activities,
identifies possible risks and
prepares the team for things
that could go wrong.”
—Philip Doty, PMI-RMP, PMP, PgMP, Serco North America,
Reston, Virginia, USA