A PROJECT IS..
A series of people, processes, technology and other resources organised to deliver outputs, outcomes and benefits which align with the strategy. The aim is to complete on-time, on-budget, to-specification, with low-risk and high-communication. The outputs / outcomes are clear and ideally SMART so that everyone knows exactly what will be delivered, why, and how and when this will complete and flipped into business-as-usual (and the project team disbanded)
A PROGRAMME IS…
Lots of projects all joined together in a sequence that delivered more than just one thing, but a whole sequence of things which may be separate, dependant or interdependent.
Separate projects might be a change in HR and a change in IT that have no relation to each-other but together achieve aa programme (strategic) aim.
Dependant projects more obviously are those where one must complete before the other starts. Arguably this could be one project with Phase1, Phase2, Phase3 but you may choose to split it into a programme of Project1, Project2, Project3 if they have different suppliers budgets, teams, aims, focus, timescales.
Interdependent are a mix of the above. Not exactly one after the other, but a more complex integration which inevitably happens where people and process change runs parallel to a business or technology change.
THE KEY DIFFERENCES AND CONSEQUENCES
So one issue is do you want 1 x mega-project or 10 x projects as part of a programme. As noted above a key factor may be if they have different suppliers budgets, teams, aims, focus, timescales, but also the competence, capacity of people (Sponsors, Project Managers, Participants) to mentally keep track of everything.
In organisations without a formal Project/Programme Office to support the business with tools, training, tips, templates etc., you end-up with disjointed efforts and often projects that compete or even compromise each-other. I like to think of a Project/Programme Office a bit like Air Traffic Control at an airport.
The role of Air Traffic Control [ATC] is not to fly the plane (that is the airline and the pilot) but to provide the structure that ensures a safe journey: pre-flight checks (governance), enough fuel (budget), all passengers (stakeholders), an agreed destination (deliverables and benefits), a clear route (tasks and plan) and an available runway (approval). ATC schedules take-off and landing and provides information and support to pilots. In some cases ATC may be linked to a flight school that provides pilot training.
Without ATC you may have project crashes which are harmful to the business, stressful for your people, and compromise the strategy which is about quality, products, services and profits. It seems to me your role might expand beyond ‘project management’ (the pilot flying the plane) to ‘programme management’ (the Air Traffic Control role of planning and co-ordination)
We are expert in projects, programmes and change. We can deliver projects, but also provide the tools, templates, training and support for businesses to develop their own in-house capability
Tim HJ Rogers
MBA Management Consultant + Change Practitioner
ICF Trained Coach IoD Business Mentor
Mob 447797762051 Tim@AdaptConsultingCompany.com
Source: Adapt Consulting Blog