Tag Archives: project

Project vs. Program Management: Making the Transition

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: September 18, 2017

Image: https://pixabay.com/en/business-success-winning-chart-163464/

While program management and project management are two different roles, there may come a time when a project starts to transition into a program. When this happens, it’s important to have an action plan in place. To better understand how to prepare, we’re exploring project vs. program management:

The Project
Projects differ from programs in that they typically have a shorter duration and a smaller team of people working on them. Projects are clearly defined and work toward producing a tangible outcome. During the project, a team focuses on planning, creating, and producing deliverables. They follow a tighter schedule and have fewer stakeholders which make the project risk easier to supervise. Project managers deal more often with resource and task management, whereas program managers work more strategically with the deliverables from individual projects.

The Program
Most of the effort in a project focuses on a single goal. On the other hand, programs usually have larger teams working toward business delivery and strategic management for a longer period of time. Programs integrate multiple related projects into one unit. The management style has the goal of achieving an overarching objective. This goal is usually some type of benefit for the organization. Programs are more business focused than projects. They have a greater number of stakeholders, which makes the impacts of any failures much greater.

Making the Transition
If you’re acting as a project manager, but your projects are now turning toward a program, you must be prepared to make some changes. Especially to the way you’ve been leading the team. In one of their papers, the Project Management Institute recommends following 10 steps:

Think:

  1. Business instead of delivery
  2. Dependencies instead of schedule
  3. Escalation instead of reporting
  4. Strategy instead of scope
  5. Conflict instead of crisis
  6. Governance instead of teams
  7. Transition instead of transfer
  8. Challenge instead of salary
  9. Relaxation instead of stress
  10. Program triple constraints (benefit, customer, and cost)

When your project is making the transition from project to program, it’s critical to identify who the leaders will be. Program managers envision the long term goals of the entire program. They set the completion dates of individual projects. Project managers focus on organizing and delegating the resources and budget. Additionally, they assign specific tasks to the team members. After the leadership is organized, make the necessary changes to the new program’s timeline. Clarify how the projects will fit into the program’s bigger picture.

After you’ve determined the leadership and followed the steps listed above, you’re ready to bring the program to life. If you’re looking for more project management advice, read our articles on adaptability in project management and how to manage vendor relationships.

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Discussing Project Failure and Mindsets

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: September 23, 2015

Last week we tuned into #PMchat on Twitter (a weekly Twitter chat on project management with talented professionals joining from all over the world) and found the content to be particularly inspiring. Naomi Caietti, founder and managing editor at The Glass Breakers, author, and project manager hosted the chat, guiding the conversation from project failure to moving forward afterward, to your mindset after mistakes.

Below are some highlights and recommended reading for those of you who find yourselves stressed day in and day out while on the job.

Is it possible to fail your way to success?

Is embracing failures a path to success?

Participants chimed that it isn’t possible to “fail your way to success” repeatedly but learning from project failures is a very good skill to apply, and arguably what builds strong leaders.

Moving Forward after Failures

It’s important to consider what has to happen after the failure of a project. Why did the project fail: was it poor communication? Going over budget? Lack of time management?

We particularly enjoyed viewing responses to this question and learning how others move forward after a rough end to a project. One thing that everyone agreed on was the need to review the project from the big picture, avoid blame, and meet as a team to regroup.

Your Mindset after Mistakes

Carrying mistakes with you can sound like a negative attribute, but for some it is a way to remind themselves of what hasn’t worked in the past. Push yourself to rise above a misstep keeping your lessons learned as ammunition for more successful project planning and execution in the future.

When it comes to a failing project, taking responsibility and acknowledging what went wrong will build trust with your team and clients making you a stronger leader. A clear, thoughtful mindset will only help you grow stronger.

If you’re interested in this topic, be sure to check out our recommended readings: 10 Questions Every Project Manager Should Ask to Define a Project, Project Review, Methods for Managing Project Risks or any of the related posts below.  Tweet us your thoughts on Twitter. We definitely recommend you join in on the chat this week!

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How to Successfully Manage Vendor Relationships

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: February 27, 2015

In the project management world, vendors are an essential third party providing a product or are contracted to perform agreed works on a project. They are key to ensuring that the project manager’s goals are executed and it is important to learn how to manage vendor relationships to ensure project success (completion by deadline and within budget).

  1. Be as clear as possible about your expectations. When working with a vendor, it is important that as the project manager, you are able to express what you want achieved with that vendor. You must be able to ensure that the vendors are aware of how you operate and what the criteria is for a successful project. It is also important to bring up how you and the vendor will handle tricky situations if they arise. Most importantly, you and the vendor should establish clear rules of respect and engagement.
  2. Have a strategy for working with vendors. Keep in mind the following questions when dealing with a vendor:
    1. When do you need them? How will you select them?
    2. Do you have a backup plan when things go wrong?
    3. How will you be assessing their performance?
    4. Is this the first time you are working with this vendor? If not, what can you learn from others who have worked with this vendor?
  1. Ensure updates for progress are clear. As a project manager, you should expect progress updates when dealing with a vendor. How often you want updates and how you want the updates should be made clear with the vendor. Both should discuss progress requirements early on in the project to make sure there is a clear consensus on frequency, content, and style.

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