Programme Management in the Agile World

Publised On: Aug 21, 2020

One of the most common misconception amongst the project managers is to believe that programme is simply a collection of projects and collectively governing all the projects, being executed within an organisation or an organisational unit, will result in “programme management” framework being applied. 

It takes some training and a lot of experience to understand the fact that a programme is much more than merely a collection of project. Following key points are important reminder of what a programme is:

  1. There are often requirements for organizations to transform from a current operational state to a new operational state.
  2. Whilst the reasons and type of change vary, the characteristics are similar; a series of initiatives undertaken to move from the old state to new state.
  3. The initiatives may be projects, business change activities or other activities.
  4. A programme is formed to manage this series of initiatives and to ensure the new operational state is successfully reached.
  5. Programmes are all about achieving a single specific vision.
  6. Programmes vary in terms of size and duration.
  7. Given the significant nature of change, many programmes span multiple years.
  8. Programme management is concerned with ensuring a programme successfully delivers its outcomes and expected benefits, realized through delivery of new or changed capabilities.

The concept of agile programme management gets more complicated for project managers confused with the concept of programme management in first place. Ideally, application of core agile principles to programme management is all what is needed to create an agile programme management environment. However, a framework that helps in making a programme agile is still needed.

Some points to clarify this:

  • In many ways, programmes are already Agile by nature, in creating fairly autonomous teams to deliver outputs that contribute to the programme outcomes and taking an incremental approach in delivery.
  • Agile Programme Management places more emphasis on incremental delivery.
  • It recognizes that a programme will evolve over time and cannot be fully defined up front.
  • Whilst a roadmap to the future can be created, only the relatively immediate future state can be defined in any detail.
  • Agile Programme Management also embraces an iterative approach, where the best solutions emerge based on frequent review and feedback, ensuring changing circumstances are routinely incorporated into the programme.
  • There is also a culture of empowerment; teams at all levels are free to make decisions within the scope of what they’re asked to deliver.
  • Management becomes facilitative rather than command and control.
  • In summary, the emphasis is on the Agile concepts of empowerment, active stakeholder involvement, iterative development and incremental delivery of benefits whilst maintaining control.

Agile Programme Management (AgilePM®) has been developed by APMG in participation with Agile Business Consortium which provides comprehensive best practice guidance on how to manage organisational change using Agile practices.

Please visit section on our website containing the Agile Programme Management (AgilePM®) training details to understand what Agile Programme Management (AgilePM®)  has to offer.