Introduction to programmes

A programme is a temporary structure designed to lead multiple interrelated projects and other work to progressively achieve beneficial outcomes for one or more organisations. Programme management provides a structured framework to co-ordinate, communicate, align, manage, and control the activities involved.

Programme Management

Programmes are designed to deliver outcomes of benefit to stakeholders throughout their lifecycle using an incremental approach. Programme management is designed to guide the organisation through this dynamic environment, refining and re-focussing as necessary along the way.

Organisations use programme management to deliver a variety of outcomes such as:

  • Innovation and growth
  • Organisational restructuring
  • Improving service delivery for stakeholders
  • Achieving efficient delivery and benefit from economies of scale to gain outcomes for the least cost across multiple projects

Typically, programmes consist of several projects. Programme management provides the means of managing and co-ordinating project outputs and capabilities to deliver business benefits. The principles of programme management are outlined below:

  • Leading with purpose – The programme envisions and communicates the desired outcome.
  • Collaborating across boundaries – There is effective cross-organisational governance and cooperation.
  • Dealing with ambiguity – Understanding and managing risk.
  • Aligning priorities – Adapting to a change in a dynamic environment an realigning programme plans with new emerging priorities.
  • Deploying diverse skills – The programme team should have the knowledge and skills to delivery the desired outcome.
  • Realising measurable benefits
  • Bringing pace and value – Stakeholders should see that investment in the programme should be justified

Further information

Programme management methods have been developed to help apply a structured framework to managing programmes and to aid successful delivery. In government, the Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) method is the recommended standard, and covers Programme Management in depth.

What is the difference between a Programme and a Project?

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