Five benefits of managing projects as part of a programme are:
1) The programme manager can co-ordinate the project to deliver strategic benefit for the organisation. This can be difficult for individual projects because they do not have a communication route to the senior management team or a way in which the projects can be co-ordinated. An example of this would be the London 2012 Olympic Games in which programme management played a critical part in the success of the project.
2) The programme can balance the resources across the programme. If the organisation (or industry sector) has limited resources then the programme can prioritise the use of these resources to maximise the benefit for the programme. As example of this would be the use of a large crane on the railways. Only a few are available in the country so the use has to be prioritised to maximise the return. To some extent this element of programme management overlaps with portfolio management.
3) Effective configuration management between projects that form part of the programme is another key benefit of programme management. When the specification on one project changes then the impact of this change has to be understood for the other project in the programme. For example changing the number of seats in the Olympic Stadium with have an impact on the design of the transport system and entry facilities.
4) Risk is another benefit of managing projects as part of a programme. Often common risks exist across projects that are better managed at a programme level rather than a project level. For example changes in the housing market had a significant effect on the whole Olympic programme.
5) Programmes are often in a better position to manage senior politicians and other senior stakeholders. This is important because it helps the project focus on delivery while the programme manager focuses on the politics associated with the project. Again in the Olympics the spilt between the client facing ODA role and the delivery authority which focused on deliver was seen a critical to the success of the programme.