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20th Sep 2022
Geoff de Jongh MAIPM CPPE, Executive General Manager at RPS
Grouping similar projects by their type or geography has many benefits and RPS has recently successfully delivered several large programs of works, such as our work with Defence on PFAS investigation and remediation, the Navy Capability Infrastructure Sub Program or the Advancing Clean Energy Schools (ACES) program in Queensland.
Treating individual projects as a collective can deliver benefits across all three of the value levers; to save, create, and ensure.
While combining projects into a program can generate a lot of value, this approach should only be applied under the right circumstances. If done incorrectly, or for the wrong reasons, elevating to a program level can erode our ability to achieve some of the very benefits it is intended to generate.
The Standard for Program Management – Second Edition defines a program as a ‘a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually’. The likelihood that benefits will be realised is dependent on the strength of the relationship between the individual projects.
Here are some of the questions and considerations that should be used to evaluate whether to tackle projects individually or collectively in a program management structure.
If the answer to more than one of these questions is ‘yes’, then consideration should be given to combining the projects into a program. If the answers are mostly ‘no’ then combining into a program may create additional work for no real benefit.
Once the decision is made to elevate individual projects to be delivered as a program, another series of questions need to be asked. What structures and mechanisms can be placed around the program to ensure all our levers are working throughout the program lifecycle?
Here are four of the key areas we consider when tackling this question for our clients.
While there is certainly no ‘one size fits all’ solution to program delivery and management, when we evaluate and ask the right questions at the beginning, combining individual initiatives in a program can offer real benefits for those looking to save money and time, create opportunities, and ensure quality.
Combining projects and programs even further into a portfolio can offer further benefits. However, this needs to be considered against the organisation’s strategic objectives, ensuring that the right projects and programs are prioritised over others.
If you liked this article, you can see more by reading the latest edition of the Australian Institute of Project Management’s digital magazine. Please note that past editions are member exclusive.
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