Definition of Program Management

Definition of Program Management

The Project Management Institute defines program management as “a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually. ...Programs are a means of achieving organizational objectives and realizing benefits, often in the context of a strategic plan.”

Program Manager's Role

A program manager should be given the responsibility and authority to manage the projects that come under the program.  A program manger’s role is to:

    • Ensure that project execution is aligned to the goals and objectives of the organization
    • Improve the effectiveness, efficiency,  and decision making within the program
    • Improve communications among projects and customers associated with the program

Programs Should Align with Strategy

Programs should be organized around desired business outcomes.    Programs are typically cross-functional.   In other words, programs bring together key players from various organizations to focus on critical organizational goals and objectives – through projects.

Terry Schmidt, one of the world’s top experts in strategy and strategic planning states:

Your organization may have a great strategy on paper, but can’t make it work in the real world.  If so,  you are not alone.  In fact, Fortune magazine notes that 70% of all strategies fail, largely because of the inability to execute.   To achieve results, strategic intent must be turned into implementable projects that are understood and owned by capable teams. 

Terry shares a tool, known as  “The Logical Framework Matrix,” that helps organizations to define projects that are align carefully with the strategy of the organization.

Competitive Strategy and Projects

Definition of Program Management

By David Willden