How to transition from Project to Program Management

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How to transition from Project to Program Management

The world of project management is becoming all too familiar. Yes, there are still challenges and learning to be had but when project management is discussed it is known on how to develop and mature. As a project manager, the biggest driver is being able to deliver under the pressures of time, cost and scope constraints and can be considered to be a balance of project management skills, leadership skills and process management skills.

One of the items that gains continual attention now … is how to transition from project to program. If you are in a PMO, you may have heard the following question, which of the project managers is ready to take on the program of work? This is now the easiest question to answer because first we ask ourselves, what is exactly Program Management and what do we mean by it.
In projects, we talk about planning, team development and process management. Whereas in programs we talk about business delivery, team dependencies and strategic management. They are two different sets of skills and to assume that a project manager can develop these without guidance / structure is a lot to ask. The first step in transitioning from project to program manager is to develop the mind-set for program management. For example, moving from the world of project / timeline delivery to program strategic execution.
My 10-steps or factors that are essential is developing professionals from a project manager’s role into a program management role are: –
  1. Think Business instead of Delivery
  2. Think Dependencies instead of Schedule
  3. Think Escalation instead of Reporting
  4. Think Strategy instead of Scope
  5.  Think conflict instead of Crisis
  6.  Think Governance instead of Teams
  7. Think Transition instead of Transfer
  8. Think Challenge instead of Salary
  9. Think Relaxation instead of Stress
  10. Think Program Triple Constraints (Benefit, Customer, cost)
Why are these different from project management? To answer this question, they are all business related and not one of them are focused on the task mindset that is often evident in project management. This is the subject matter of the paper I will be presenting at PMI® Global Congress 2014—North America on the 27th October in Phoenix, AZ
Liam DillonSubmitted by Liam Dillon, Turlon, SQT Project Management tutor

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