Explain 5 key benefits of using a programme management approach
1. Strategic benefits
Focusing on the strategic benefits is a key benefit of programme management. Programmes can review the of the projects that make up the programme works and define which projects should be initiated, withdrawn, accelerated or batched together to enable cost savings. Eg. Building a number of housing estates within the same geographical could be grouped to save on supplier costs and better use of resources. This also allows them to work towards the vision of the organisation.
Programmes have the ability and experience to liaise, influence and negotiate with stakeholders at a higher level than a Project Manager. This would be more likely at Board level and with Government officials, as an example. There will also be more stakeholders involved with a programme than with a single project and although Project Managers will be involved with some of the stakeholders with the sponsor, the Programme Manager and Sponsor will have the ultimate responsibility of the more influential stakeholders.
Programmes are able to balance and prioritise the use of resources. By overseeing a number of projects within the programme they can identify which resources are being under and over utilised and move them around. For example, one of the houses on the estate being built might have a delay so instead of the resource not being able to work they could be moved onto another project where maybe the project is lagging behind and with the extra resource could mitigate the delay.
Programmes are better at managing risk that applies to several project in the programme. Dealing with a programme of works will increase the number of risks and issues identified and the PM needs to be aware of how to manage them. Again, referring back to the housing estates there could be risks involving traffic due to cranes and wagons causing danger to residents, transport links and pedestrians in the area.
5. Managing Multiple Projects
Programmes are able to juggle multiple projects. Using the example of the housing estate once again, if 10 of the 12 houses are within their schedule but two are lagging behind due to poor contractor workmanship, the PM has to review the nature and reasons for the delay and try and alleviate them. This could involve moving resources around or replacing them, withdrawing projects if they are no longer viable, moving projects into batches if this allows for further cost savings, however some of these changes I am suggesting would need approval through change control.