Although projects are characterized by their uniqueness, there are interdependencies between different projects. As the size of the company increases and the number of different projects running in parallel increases accordingly, it is advisable to group thematically related projects into programs. This creates a further level in the form of program management,
on which the achievement of objectives, resource requirements and scheduling of the individual projects must be coordinated. Program management is often referred to synonymously as multi-project management. Due to its complexity, program management represents a major challenge for companies.
The complexity of project management is best organized in a professional Program Management Office.
For a company, program management is a major challenge, because programs require intensive control due to their complexity and scope. As a rule, this is done by the program and project managers. For successful program management, it is advisable to map this organization in a centrally responsible office: the Program Management Office.
The tasks of a Program Management Office include qualifying the project managers for the respective program and supporting them in project management in the program. In addition, the Program Management Office ensures consistently high data quality from the projects, adherence to status deadlines and the holding of control meetings, as well as problem handling in the event of bottlenecks and risks.
As a first step, you should check whether the processes for controlling individual projects run smoothly in your company. This is a basic prerequisite for the successful control of a program.
Establish regular coordination rounds and steering meetings with all parties involved. Only in this way can you ensure simultaneous processing of all information from the projects in the right quality and at the right time.
In order to be able to detect deviations at an early stage and react quickly, control processes should be timed according to the overall runtime of the program.
Each program is characterized by individual specifics in its handling. This is especially true when many employees from different areas are involved.
Communicate the specifics and desired approach so that all project managers are familiar with it and act accordingly.
The right project structure enables you to show time and content dependencies between the projects in the program. The program can be continuously monitored via important milestones in the individual projects.
A program plan containing all control information and interfaces also simplifies the overview and handling.
Set interfaces between projects at the milestones to synchronize and automate them. Automatic synchronization with the program schedule can save you a lot of time in case of deadline shifts.
Many projects are associated with high risks. These risks can lead to delays in the scheduling of subprojects, which in turn have an impact on the scheduling of the overall project.
Implement the schedule control of the interfaces not only via currently planned dates, but also use a milestone trend analysis. This helps you to monitor the progress of the project and provides an early warning if deadlines are postponed several times.