A program management plan is used to group multiple independent projects in order to achieve a strategic business outcome. Often in program management a lot of focus is placed on writing the plan document and less focus is placed on implementation. An equal amount of effort needs to be placed on implementing the plan to ensure it is successfully carried out, and that any deviations are recognized and managed accordingly. Generally, it is the responsibility of the program manager or the program management team to take full ownership of the program plan and ensure it is implemented effectively.
Establish chain-of-command. Set a clear chain-of-command with a formalized decision-making process. Make sure the process is simple and can support rapid turn-around times so that implementation does not become stalled. Ensure defined processes are not being circumvented by continually monitoring the situation.
Develop program standards and success indicators. Identify the standards that will be used to measure integration of the various program components. Document standards related to processes, communication, data, reports, templates, and distribution methods to ensure that various projects and tasks that are part of the program are integrated.
Identify an Implementation schedule and status reporting. Document details of key project phases, schedules and milestones. Identify plan participants and project contributors and provide them written documentation of their responsibilities and reporting mechanisms. This will keep the team focused and on task.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. All parties involved in the program management plan need constant communication. The communications should include ongoing initiatives and activities, performance reports, successes and accomplishments, and outlets for feedback, input, and comments.
Evaluate process and then re-evaluate the plan. Regularly collect feedback from participants and assess if the goal is being achieved. As each key project concludes, hold a formal meeting to discuss the process. In the process, celebrate success, identify areas of improvement, and modify resources as needed to optimize performance. If goals are not being achieved, evaluate if they should change.
Develop a training plan. If the outcome of the program management plan results in a new system or process, a formal program should be developed to provide training and resources for all the users and system owners. The plan should outline training, communications and change-management programs.
• Identify parameters that trigger formal in-depth review in terms of time, cost, people or quality from the approved project plan. • The plan is a guideline, not a set of rules. It’s important to make deviations if they are warranted. • Foster open communication. Listen to feedback from all parties involved in the process; they may have more effective solutions to implement part of the plan.
• It becomes challenging to remember who is supposed to be doing what according to each version of the plan. Documentation and continuous written communication will make this easier to manage. • Build in accountability to ensure that the implementation process does not become stalled. • Be flexible. Unplanned changes may occur. If they do, assess their impact and make adjustments accordingly. Remain cognizant of allocated resources.
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