Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Fancy a career move into programme Management?

Project managers wishing to take their careers to the next stage often think about becoming programme managers. Although it can be a successful career move, it’s important to understand the differences between the two disciplines. Some people mistakenly believe that programme management is about running groups of projects, but programmes and projects are quite different by nature and require distinct skill sets.

As programmes are concerned with transformational change, they are ongoing and do not have a definite duration like projects. Project managers wanting to move into programme management must be prepared to be less hands-on.

While projects focus on outputs and have a controlled start through to controlled end, programmes focus on benefits and will be disbanded once these benefits have been realised.

Melanie Franklin, CEO, Maven Training, has helped many public sector organisations improve their project and programme management capability. Some of the organisations she has worked with include Knowsley Borough Council, the Children’s Work force Development Council, the London Pension Funds and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Melanie says: “Projects are about doing things right, whereas programmes are about doing the right things. Projects are expected to deliver outputs, deliverables or products to time, cost and quality. On the other hand Programmes are about leading and embedding change, and they introduce new ways of working.”
She says it’s valuable for project managers and programme managers to understand how their roles complement each other.

"Programme managers who have taken the PRINCE2® qualification are able to communicate with and understand project managers more easily. Projects are usually part of a programme, whether project managers know it or not, so the MSP™ (Managing Successful Programmes) qualification gives project managers a breadth of understanding. It helps them recognise how their hard work on a project fits into context.”

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