My features of a Programme
(1) Programmes involve the control and management of a number of projects that have a collective aim and have interdependencies with each other, this management will provide consistency and alignment to coincide with the programme life cycle and an interaction with business as usual and the programme objective.
(2) Programmes have an overall vision and strategic objectives where projects are concerned with specific deliverable s. I.e. if a programme vision and objective is to upgrade and refurbish all the booking halls of all the London underground stations on the Victoria line then the projects would be individual stations concerned with completing the refurbishment of each booking hall on time and within budget to an agreed standard but the programme vision and objective maybe to raise the profile of London Underground and provide a more efficient and modern ticket buying experience
(3) Programmes are concerned with delivering the benefits of the combined completion of the projects involved where projects are only concerned with specific deliverables. I.e. using the example above if a Project finishes a station booking hall on time and too a good standard the programme as a whole may not be a success if the new booking halls do not have enough ticket machines or entrances and exits for the passenger demands.
(4) Programmes have the overview and control to dictate the initiation, acceleration or termination of individual projects to enable the earliest realisation of benefits. As programmes can adapt and evolve over time it maybe required to change or terminate projects within the programme to keep aligned with the programme vision and strategic objective. For example if a new terminal is being built at a major Airport with several projects being part of the overall programme with new check in desks, shops, restaurants, and Airline Art decoration and the project maybe over budget, then the project concerned with Airline Art decoration could be delayed or terminated until the terminal is completed and functioning so the benefits can be realised.
(5) Programme management has the overall insight to monitor and control resources and direct them in order to keep the programmes on track by balancing the priority and hierarchy of the programme.
I.e. if the building of houses on a project is falling behind due to lack of bricklayers and roofers then the same type of labour resources currently being used to complete communal gardens could be moved, relocated and utilised to help and accelerate the works on the building of houses to bring it back in line with the programme objective.