When you have multiple projects connected to each other, you group them together and manage them as a whole “program”. Program management is the management of different but related projects. Thus, Program Management is : 1) Grouping together related projects as a program and 2) Using specific management techniques, knowledge and skills to manage the program.
When it comes to Program Management lifecycle it is important to note that it goes through 5 stages:
- Initiation: In this stage, senior stakeholders and sponsors identify opportunities for change. Once identified, the stakeholders decide whether the opportunity requires mandating a new program, or whether it can be folded into an existing program/project. In most cases, the opportunity must be substantial enough to warrant a separate program.
- Definition: Post initiation, the program is defined and documented. This is where the stakeholders make a business case for the program and document everything required to make it a success. At the end of this stage, you will have a Program Definition Document (PDD). This will guide the rest of the program from start-up to completion.
- Establishment: Once the program is defined, it’s time to identify and implement all the resources, infrastructure and processes required to achieve the program’s goals. At this point, all the people in the program management team are identified and handed their responsibilities.
- Management: The longest stage covering the actual execution of the program and all its constituent projects.
- Closure: Once the program’s deliverables are completed and business benefits realized, the program is said to be ‘completed’ and is terminated. The program team disbands and moves on to other programs.