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This is an overview of OGC's standard reference on how to manage programmes called Managing Successful Programmes. The following text provides an overview of the concepts and approached used in MSP.
Programmes may be (in increasing levels of complexity) either : Specification-led and output driven; or Vision-led and benefits driven; or Vision-led and outcome driven. The latter situation is typical of a policy implementation. MSP can be adopted for all these types of programmes, but the full approach is primarily aimed at vision-led programmes.
Programmes are different from projects in that it is their outcomes that matter, not their outputs.
Programmes are initiated to realise benefits through change, whether to do things differently, to do different things, or to do things that will influence others to change. MSP distinguishes between Outcomes and Benefits.
An MSP programme will have a Vision Statement and a Blueprint describing the future changed business operations or other outcome.
An MSP programme is defined by the :
The above set of information forms the Programme Definition
Project Portfolio - the list of all the projects and activities that together will deliver the required capability described in the Blueprint.
Business Case - describes what the value is to the sponsoring organisation from the outcomes of the programme. The programme-level Business Case provides a summation of the project level business cases to present the overall balance of benefits and costs against strategic objectives. The Business Case is developed in iterations, and in particular alignment with the development of the Blueprint.
Benefit Profile - a complete description of each benefit expected from the programme
Stakeholder Map - a matrix showing all stakeholders and their particular interests in the programme
The MSP programme governance arrangements are defined by strategies covering :
Issue - a problem, query, concern or change that affects the programme and requires management intervention and action to resolve. Issues (as distinct from risks) are generally unexpected and can arise at any time.
Risk - a negative threat or positive opportunity that might affect the course of the programme. Risks are identified and contingent actions planned, but should they occur, become issues.
Risks and issues should be managed and monitored through distinct but linked registers/logs.
The programme should be concerned with risks and issues that cannot be contained at the project level.
The MSP approach for planning a programme is covered by :
The programme schedule and Benefits Realisation Plan help to identify points during the programme at which early benefits reviews can be carried out. The schedule should be divided into "tranches" (groups of projects) reflecting these step changes in capability and benefit realisation.
The following principles of managing programmes cover the co-ordination, communication, alignment, and control for the activities involved.
Benefits management - Benefits are the quantification of the outcomes and are used to direct the programme and inform decision-making along the way. Benefits management is the activity of identifying, optimising and tracking the expected benefits through to their realisation. It is a core activity and a continuous management process running throughout the programme
Stakeholder management - Programme success relies on co-operative contributions and support from all involved. Some will support and others oppose, some will benefit and see opportunity, others will see threat, and some will be indifferent. The key to success is to understand and address all views. A continuing and two-way approach to communications is essential between the programme and its stakeholders to secure commitment and maintain momentum.
Risk management and issue resolution - The programme environment is uncertain, complex and dynamic. At any point there will be events or situations that may adversely affect the direction of the programme, the delivery of outputs, the realisation of benefits or the achievement of desired outcomes. The programme must have a clear strategy covering how issues will be handled, and in particular, how risks will be identified, monitored and managed throughout the programme.
Programme planning and control - Programme planning is not simply project planning on a larger scale, it involves planning the overall co-ordination of project delivery, quality, risk, communications and benefits whilst reconciling project objectives with overall programme goals. A good Programme Plan ensures that priorities are established and control can be maintained. Major decision points and regular review points must be built into the programme plans to ensure that the continued viability of the programme can be assessed and benefits delivery can be tracked.
Business case management - The programme-level Business Case embraces the wider horizons of strategic outcomes from the programme"s projects. The Business Case effectively describes what the value is to the sponsoring organisation from the outcomes of the programme. Managing the Business Case is about value management of the benefits, costs, timescales and risks.
Quality management - Quality management is a continuous process throughout the life of a programme. Achieving quality should be an integral part of the day-to-day activities. Quality management on programmes covers many different aspects : The quality of the programme" leadership and management processes; The quality of information provided to support decisions; The quality of its deliverables, meaning "fitness for purpose"; The quality of its assessment and measurement activities.
Identifying a Programme
The Programme Mandate provides the high-level strategic objectives for the programme. These are developed into the Programme Brief, which is formally approved by the SRO and Sponsoring Group.
Defining a Programme
The Programme Brief provides the basis for developing the Programme Definition, and the strategies and plans for programme governance. The Programme Definition requires approval by the SRO and Sponsoring Group before the programme is formally established.
Governing a Programme
This process describes how the defined governance arrangements are established and implemented. The programmes constituent projects and activities are grouped into tranches, each tranche will deliver a step change in capability after which benefits realisation can be assessed. The end of each tranche provides a major review point at which the programme can be formally assessed in terms of its progress towards target.
Managing the Portfolio
Once the programme is established, this process provides the management regime for the project portfolio such that the required outputs from the projects are delivered. This process covers the prime areas of interaction with project management and requires active coordination with Managing Benefits, the relationship with other projects and programmes, and the interface to corporate strategy.
The programme activities, work streams and projects will deliver new capabilities, services or business operations. The purpose of this process is to track the benefits from their initial identification to their successful realisation. This process also involves planning and managing the transition between old and new ways of working while ensuring that "business as usual" is maintained.
Closing a Programme
In order to establish and maintain a clear focus on achieving the end-goal, a programme should have a pre-determined end-point and a formal process of close down. This includes confirmation that the changes have been achieved. Programme closure may be scheduled at any point after completion of the last project. The timing of the end-point is largely dependent on the amount of support required from the programme before the changed environment delivered by the programme is sufficiently embedded.
Managing Successful Programmes book.