Advantages of Project Management and Programme Management

All organizations have business strategies that set out plans to deliver changes that will drive the business objectives e.g. growth and performance.

Program and Project Management provides an effective way of delivering a strategic business plan through an established set of methods, tools, and techniques to lead change.
Project Management and Program Management is also a recognised career path - Program and project managers, project planners, project leaders, PMO etc. are qualified people with recognised certifications, and training paths - managed and supported by official associations like the project management institute.

Programs & projects provide the mechanism to deliver change

Programs and projects are designed to deliver the changes needed to meet business
By breaking a business plan into programs and projects, senior management ensure a rigorous approach through a standard methodology and a set of techniques that ensure visibility through reporting, control mechanisms, management of risk, cost, quality and change. The diagram below illustrates the relationship between business strategy and delivery.
relationship between business strategy, projects and programs
Adapted from Williams and Parr, 2004.

A strategy is broken into a portfolio of programs which deliver outcomes, the programs are further broken down into projects which deliver outputs. The outputs from projects enable benefits or outcomes to be realised by program management.

Why are Programs and projects so effective?

OGC states that the successful management of change involves a number of activities which include:
  • The establishment of a formal program to deliver the business change
  • Ensuring that key individuals have explicit roles and responsibilities within the program
  • The adoption of a structured project management approach
  • Assurance that there are clear communication channels
  • Assurance that projects are continually driven by the business case
Each of these activities are assured by project and program management, because in using projects and programs to deliver change organizations get access to widely recognised tools, methods, and techniques delivered by recognised and certified experts. For example:

Establishment of roles and responsibilities is built into project management lifecycles and supported by tools like the RACI Chart.

Project managers work to a structured approach be that a waterfall method like Prince2 or an agile method like Scrum. These approaches are supported by guidance a body of knowledge, tools and templates.

Alignment with the Business Case or strategic goals is built into project and program methodologies. Business case alignment is a prerequisite to prevent white elephant and pet projects.

OGC identify a number of factors for successful business change including:
  • leadership,
  • clear accountability,
  • robust risk management,
  • effective measurement and management of benefits,
  • effective interaction with stakeholders,
  • realistic timescales and
  • sharing of lessons learned.
All of these form the founding principles of effective programme and project management and it is not surprising that OGC also list "excellence in programme and project management skills" as a key factor in successfully delivering change.

References for advantages of a project management approach

David Williams and Tim Parr, 2004, Enterprise Programme Management: Delivering Value, Palgrave Macmillan.

Further reading