Is your programme exhibiting any of these characteristics
- Project issues dominate the programme board
- Unidentified risks start to materialise a bit too quickly
- Benefits are rarely discussed
- The BCM lacks authority or purpose
- Many uncontrolled or unclear dependencies between projects and other initiatives start to manifest themselves
- Decision making is ad-hoc, reactionary or just slow
- Stakeholder resistance begins to increase and programme loses support
- Programmes either lack momentum or feel like a roller coaster
If that is the case, your programme probably does not have a blueprint, and is probably out of control.
In this article, we liken a programme a yacht and explain how it is not what you see on the surface that is providing the control, it is what happens below the waterline that is important.
If your programme is exhibiting any of these characteristics then this article is for you.
Let’s face it, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t make mistakes, and we have seen many in our time.
In the early stages of maturity, there are many common errors that people make when delivering programmes, so we thought we would jot a few down for you.
- Thinking like a project: if you fill a programme with project people, guess what happens, they behave like project people and it gets run like a project. Programme management professionals have a different skill set, don’t mistake qualifications for skills.
- Forgetting the vision: at the start it is all about the vision. Once it starts rolling and people get busy it is easy to forget why the programme exists, it loses direction, scope drifts and before you know it, all people are talking about is what the projects are doing and not what the programme is doing.
- Forgetting there is a lifecycle: programmes have a start and an end, if your programme doesn’t have an end then it is probably a portfolio. They go through very distinct stages of evolution. In the programmes that fail or lose direction, it is because these stages (tranches) are indistinct and the whole delivery becomes a blur.
- Not having a blueprint: this one is simple, if you don’t have a blueprint to describe the end game for the programme, you will not know where you are going. This is a fatal error for most programmes, not thinking enough about the outcomes which means there will be no benefits.
- Leaving change till later: programmes deliver change, whether it’s major infrastructure build or internal business transformation, failing to plan and cost the change from the outset will lead to failure in the future. Benefits come from change, so without change there will be no benefits.
- Looking in the wrong places for risks: programme risks are not pumped up project risks. The risks that kill programmes rarely come from projects, they are normally linked to strategic changes of direction, underestimation of the cost and impact of change to the environment they are impacting, business or social.
- Getting the governance wrong: you may not be in a position to affect this, but the people on a programme board should have very clear terms of reference and authority. Programme boards are full of important people with big egos not making the important decisions.
Now you can do a quick health check on your own programme and judge whether it is likely to succeed.
If you need any more help, our services may be able to help. Why not check out our brochure to see the services we offer, or visit our website at www.aspireeurope.com
In this video, Rod Sowden the Aspire Europe Managing Director talks about Programme Lifecycles.
Hope you enjoy!
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We had hoped to produce another programme highlight report in September “Brexit – the biggest MSP programme ever” but despite careful monitoring of events, there isn’t any sign of progress towards any of the components of the Programme Brief that we have been waiting for, namely:
- Vision Statement other than Brexit means Brexit, bit of debate around hard v soft Brexit
- Estimates of costs and timetable, except for article 50 will be triggered before March 2017
- Risks, although the mitigation for the plan currency value doesn’t seem to have worked
- Benefits – a totally blank space
In fact, the latest Stakeholder Engagement Strategy appears to be “no running commentary” and “no discussion in Parliament”.
So to help the government we thought it might be useful to have a go at helping with the benefits void by producing a benefits map of one of the outcomes, namely, lower immigration, which you can find here brexit-the-immigration-benefits-map
We have tried to be objective in this map and hopefully helps to illustrate the implications of one of the major pillars of the decision to leave, as neither economists or sociologists much of this is open to debate depending on your perception.
Welcome to the August highlight report for “Brexit – the biggest MSP programme ever”
In the aftermath of the Leave vote in June we thought it would be interesting to illustrate how the MSP® (Managing Successful Programmes) framework would cope with such a massive challenge, so we released the paper explaining this at the end of June, see this here, with our set of recommendations which proved very popular.
The events of July, whilst appearing random, fitted in almost perfectly with the steps in the MSP® programme process, so rather than produce another paper, we produced a highlight report which again proved really popular. August proved a little light on information due to everyone being on holiday, so we have included events at G20 within the report, some might say the stakeholders are revolting.
This is reflecting the reality of programme management, where there are commitments to major change without clarity of vision for stakeholders to buy into, if they aren’t going to be advocates then the only option is at best ambivalence or more likely adversary, neither of which will enable the guiding coalition needed to deliver such a massive programme.
Here is the video of the presentation Rod Sowden (Aspire Europe Ltd. Managing Director and lead author of the current versions of MSP® and P3M3®) recently gave at the PMIQLD April Chapter Event. The presentation was on – Expert insights into the European market for project, program and portfolio management.
MSP® and P3M3® are [registered] trade marks of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.