Programme Manager throughout the programme life cycle – Planning
The programme manager is responsible for planning the programme. This will start at the beginning of the programme by identifying a list of contributing projects and then having the project managers produce a plan and schedule for their work.
The programme manager takes the outputs from the projects and, in conjunction with the project managers, identifies the relationships between the project and their interdependencies.
This will result in a programme plan that can be put into action.
Monitoring and controlling the plan
The programme manager is responsible for ensuring that the projects produce their outputs on time, on cost to the appropriate standard. The programme manager will authorise the projects to proceed after each stage of work and will accept the completed products.
Any problems must be addressed and appropriate action taken. The programme manager must manage the inter-dependencies between the projects. This may include starting new projects, stopping projects and accelerating projects.
The programme manager must make sure that communications to the programme stakeholders is completed in a timely manner and that all information required is collated and issued. This not only includes external stakeholders but those within the programme team and the projects themselves.
The communications will most likely be distilled from the information being reported from the projects so it is important that the programme manager specifies his/her requirement for information at the start of each project (and each project phase).
Managing risks and issues
Risks at project level may well have knock on effects at programme level because they cause problems for other projects. As such it is important that the programme manager ensures that the project manager refers upwards all risks within the project that might affect the programme.
This enables the programme manager to assess these project risks along with any specifically programme related risks identified in the normal manner. The risk management process in terms of assessment and action is largely the same at both levels, although the impacts may be greater at programme level.
Benefits management. A key responsibility of the programme manager is to ensure that benefits are realised as a result of the outputs from the projects being implemented within the business.
At the end of each phase of the programme the manager must make sure that the outputs are accepted by the business and a formal benefits realisation plan is in place. The programme manager must make sure that the benefits realisation plan is developed before the outputs are delivered.