Program Management is the process of managing several related projects, often with the intention of improving an organization's performance. In practice it is often closely related to systems engineering, industrial engineering, change management, and business transformation.
The program manager has oversight of the purpose and status of the projects in a program. The program manager may achieve such oversight by seeking out critical information from the project managers in order to establish a level of confidence and comfort about the sucess of the projects in a program as well as its interdependencies. The program manager can use this oversight to support project-level activity to ensure the program goals are met
- by providing a decision-making capacity that cannot be achieved at project level or
- by providing the project manager with a program perspective when required, or
- as a sounding board for ideas and approaches to solving project issues that have program impacts.
Program Management goes hand in hand with strategic alignment and change management. Rather than establishing measures about technical or functional progress on a project workstream level, it focuses on the impact and needs that the program - together with all its projects - has on corporate or business unit level.
Collecting, managing and interpreting the appropriate information is a key task in program management. Program Management has its greatest strength when it is free of any political bias, influence or individual agenda (which can be present at project level). Because of this, any leadership team will be well advised when choosing an external consultant to run the program management office.