If you’re already a Program Manager then this is a question you no doubt get asked frequently by your friends and family. I for one certainly get asked this all the time. However, if you are new to program management then you may well be wondering exactly what a Program is, and this is what I hope this article will explain.
According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), a Program is defined as “A group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually”.
This definition will probably make perfect sense if you’re a seasoned Program Manager; however, if you’re new to program management it might not be too clear, so let’s look at a factitious example program to see the benefits of programs. This example is one I use all the time when explaining to friends and family exactly what a program is and what a program manager does.
Imagine a bank which wishes to launch a new credit card, which for this example we will call The Purple Card…
Think of all the things which might need to happen to make this a success?
As you can see, there are a lot of things which need to happen to successfully introduce our Purple Card to the marketplace, and I probably haven’t included them all. Imagine the chaos if all these teams we’re not coordinated! In our example, a program would coordinate all the above teams to successfully launch the card in the marketplace.
The Program Manager is the person who would manage this coordination between the above teams to ensure a successful product, along with managing any ancillary information needed, such as the business case. I hope this article has helped you understand exactly what a program is, and will help you explain to your firends and family exactly what a program is. In the next article we will dive into exactly what tasks the Program Manager role performs.
* Image by Luc Galoppin
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