Program management is the centralized coordinated management of a program to achieve the program’s strategic benefits and objectives. One of the best things about programs is the benefits they deliver to an organization. When you think about program benefits think about them as an outcome of the program’s actions and behaviors that provide utility to stakeholders. Program benefits are gained by initiating projects and programs that invest in an organization’s future. Many program focus on achieving organizational goals and objectives by enhancing current organizational capabilities or developing new ones.
Benefits management activities take place across the program life cycle, as shown in this graphic adapted from the Standard for Program Management:
Program benefits can come about in a number of ways. These benefits should be documented and agreed upon as part of the program’s business case at the beginning of the program life cycle. It is important to recognize that these benefits can be tangible or intangible. Programs target managing outcomes and accruing incremental benefits.
In general, projects generate discrete deliverables at the completion of their life cycle and the resulting benefits from these deliverables and their capabilities flow into the program. Consider that some of a program’s projects may produce benefits that can be realized immediately by the program when they are completed. On the flip side, you may find that several or perhaps all of a program’s projects and their resulting capabilities may need to be integrated in order to provide some or all of a program’s benefits.
There is another aspect of benefits management that takes place after the program has ended: benefits sustainment. After the program is done and its components are “live” and in production, there is still a responsibility to provide post-production support, such as:
Benefits management is the responsibility of the program manager during the program life cycle. These activities should always stay in the program manager’s line of sight! Effective program managers apply activities and techniques to define, create, maximize and sustain the business benefits from their program. At a high-level, the program manager also assesses the value and organizational impact of their program on the organization. If the program changes over time, the program manager must analyze the potential impact of any planned program changes on the expected benefits.
Well, there’s a quick look at anaging your program benefits. Program managers, spend some serious time with the Standard for Program Management and learn more about the subject while preparing for your PgMP certification exam with Learning Tree’s course: Preparing for the Program Management Professional (PgMP)® Exam.