Posted by: kerrywills | June 5, 2015

A simple approach for managing programs

I find that on many large programs, a tremendous amount of time is spent on compiling status reports. The “activity” on the program is about creating the status. I adamantly believe that the primary “activity” should be managing the program and then the output of that activity is the status.  The flow below represents what I believe to be the approach for properly managing a program.


The approach starts with determining the sources of program content (milestones, scope, financials) and then ensuring that the owners of that content knows where it is and is updating it regularly. For example, if milestones and progress should be managed in a standard plan tool then that is what should be expected of the PMs. Sounds basic but I am consistently underwhelmed by the ability to do this (see prior post).

Then the program office should be aggregating this content from the authoritative sources and proving several views. To continue with the plan example, this could be sorting the plan by release date, business function, milestones, etc.

Next the program office should generate insight into progress and early indicators based on the aggregation. This could include generating status reports, milestone updates or RAID logs. This is why step 1 and maintaining content is so important in that this structure will be useless unless the information is relevant and current.

Lastly, now that the program information is aggregated and transparent it can be used to identify and manage any risks or issues. The more diligent this process is, the earlier risks are identified and therefore the higher the chances of being to take course-correcting action.



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