Posted by: kerrywills | September 5, 2014

How deep to go?

As I have moved up in my PM career I have always struggled with how deep to get into my programs. I am now running portfolios of programs which have dozens of projects and organizations under them. On one hand a Portfolio or Program should be structured in such a way that there is cascading accountability to Project Managers and Team Leads. On the other hand, I think it is important to understand enough of the details to manage effectively.



Take, for example, the picture above. This is a classic Program with multiple Projects and Application Areas under it. In the classic model, the Team Leads are well versed in their areas and the PMs knowledge spans the projects but only goes so deep into the areas (as noted by the brackets only going half way down the App row). Then the Program Manager also knows the Program information and some of the project information.

This model is very hard to scale when you have large programs. My current portfolio/program has five sub-programs and roughly 45 projects under it so it is hard to get to lower levels of detail for all of those projects. I do find, as projects have issues, those are the ones that tend to require going deeper in them.

I am sure that there are other models so I am interested in feedback in “how deep to go?”

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