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Program management - managing multiple projects in parallel

Redaktion Can Do
06.11.2020 | 4 min reading time

Rarely does a company engage in a single, simple and straightforward project over a long period of time. In the vast majority of companies it is part of everyday life to take care of complex tasks. These can often only lead safely to success if the overall project is divided into different sub-areas and then implemented in several parallel running sub-projects.

Program management is the key word for the organization of such projects.

What is program management

Program management deals with the organization of a program, i.e. a main project that is divided into various sub-projects in order to achieve the project objective more reliably and quickly.
 
The program management includes in particular
  • The definition of interfaces between the individual sub-projects
  • The coordination of respective schedules and deadlines
  • The coordination of resources in and between the sub-projects
  • Overarching risk management
  • The common, coordinated change management

The focus of program management in project management is therefore always on the overriding project objective.


Programme management objectives - What are the reasons for program management?

One of the most important objectives of program management is


Optimal use of resources

A defined program can ensure that the available budget is used in those areas where it makes most sense for the overall success of the project.

Resolution of conflicts 

Taking into account project priorities and deciding accordingly can lead to conflicts. Conflict resolution is one of the core tasks of the program manager. 

Good risk assessment

A complete picture of the overall project makes it possible to better assess, evaluate and minimize the risks to the program. 

High efficiency through consideration of dependencies

A clear overview of dependencies makes it easier to set up schedules. The important tasks that are important for the side project can then be given high priority. This increases efficiency and leads the main project safely to its goal.

 

How does the program management work?

Programme management is a complex process for extensive tasks. It is therefore advisable to follow the following procedure for program management:

The establishment of a central management - the program office

A comprehensive project consisting of several interdependent sub-projects requires continuous and efficient management. A program office is usually set up for this purpose.

The tasks of the Programme Office include:
  • Definition of the respective program
  • Recruitment or training of a program manager
  • Support of the individual project managers in project management
  • Monitoring the status dates
  • Quality control of sub-projects 
  • Preparation of the overview reports for the customer or
               different bodies 
  • Risk management for individual projects and the entire program
  • Implementation of management meetings 

The Programme Office fulfills a variety of tasks. Therefore, in most cases it consists of several qualified persons who divide the activities among themselves.

The definition of the individual control processes 

The overall management of a program can only work if the management of the sub-projects runs smoothly. 

This includes above all that:
  • all status reports at the precisely specified time and in full
               The program office will be informed of the scope of the program; 
  • all decisions of the program office are immediately communicated to
               the individual be communicated to project managers; 
  • ensuring overall communication between the sub-projects
               will be.

It is helpful to provide the sub-project leaders with a precise timetable for the submission of reports and to ensure that the timetable is actually adhered to. The intervals at which the required information should be submitted depend on the size and complexity of the project.

Taking into account the specificities of each program

Each project is different from the other. 

Different challenges accumulate in a program. It means that each program has to define and take into account its own particularities and special rules. It is essential that these special rules are communicated to all sub-project managers and - especially - to the external staff to ensure that the program works well.

Definition of the appropriate project structure

The project structure has an important task. You
  • shows the interfaces between the individual projects,
  • determines the dependencies among the subprojects,
  • defines important milestones for the progress of the project.

The project structure is thus the documented outline for the interaction between the individual projects as well as for their impact on the program objective.

Procurement of the powerful program management solutions

A program is complex.

In order to control this, professional program management software is essential. Only with good, mature project management tools that are up to the task can a program actually be controlled. 

Such a solution is important, for example, for the automatic synchronization of the interfaces. A change in the schedules of a project can then automatically affect the schedules of the dependent projects, and the schedules are always kept up-to-date with the help of software. Automatic synchronization saves a great deal of time in program management, which can then be used for other tasks.

Establishing a reliable early warning system 

A modern software solution not only offers automatic interface synchronization. It also provides a clear milestone trend analysis (MTA). This enables the program management to see at a glance which deliveries are about to be made at which interfaces. 

An early warning system provides information about critical deliveries or milestones that pose a high risk of delays and should therefore be monitored. Equipped with this knowledge, program management can fulfill its tasks even more efficiently, accurately and unerringly.

How can the solutions offered by Can Do help you with program management?

With Can Do, you have a professional partner at your side who is well versed in program management and multi-project management. Can Do's project management software provides you with comprehensive support in the project planning of complex projects in both classic and agile environments.
 

Conclusion

Large projects require suitable solutions that simplify and accelerate the work of management. This is particularly true for demanding, complex program management. If you want to be well prepared for your next project, contact us! We will be happy to advise you in Germany and Switzerland on all questions relating to program management.
Redaktion Can Do
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Redaktion Can Do

Unser Team veröffentlicht an dieser Stelle Best Practices aus dem Projekt- und Ressourcenmanagement.