0.0 Initiate Program

Overview (0.0.P1)

ProgramStep describes how to proactively plan and manage programs. There is some work to do before the program actually starts. Every organization has processes in place to identify and authorize a program. These processes take place at the portfolio level and include the following.

  • A way to identify all of the possible work.

  • A process to convert potential work into proposed programs and projects.

  • A funneling process to narrow down all of the possible programs and projects into the smaller number that appear to have the most value.  

  • A means to estimate the costs and benefits so that the programs and projects can be compared to others. The costs, benefits, risks and other important high-level program information are documented in a Business Case.

  • A management approval process for the Business Cases to determine which ones have the highest value and are best aligned. These will be approved.

The general process described above is used to gain preliminary approval for a program. However, there may be a time lag between the time when a program is initially approved and the time the program actually starts. Therefore, there are a number of items that must be validated to ensure that the program is ready to start.

  • Validate that the Business Case is still valid. It is possible that business conditions have changed since the time the program was given preliminary approval. The program value and Business Case should be validated to ensure nothing has changed. Just because the program was given preliminary approval does not mean the program is automatically authorized and executed.

  • Validate the best structure to manage the work. Sometimes it is obvious that the work is a program. But this should be validated

  • Validate the overall funding approach. Since programs are large there are many options for funding the work. The funding approach needs to be identified and agreed before the program goes into the planning process.

  • Identify the formal Program Sponsor. The initial Program Sponsor was probably the person that helped develop the Business Case and was the person that asked for the money for the program. Now that the program is ready to proceed the Program Sponsor should be validated. It is possible that the management team has changed and that a new Program Sponsor needs to be identified.

  • Assign a program manager. The program manager is the person to lead the program into the more detailed planning process, and then manage the program the rest of the way. The program manager needs to be assigned at this point.

Getting the program through the initiation process does not guarantee that the program will be executed. The approval at this point is simply to get the program into the planning process where the work will be defined in more detail. The Program Charter will still need to be approved so that the actual execution of the program can begin. 

Note - The pages below are available in the ProgramStep ebook for licensed users only.

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  • 0.1.1 Determine if the Work is a Project or a Program

  • 0.1.2 Establish Funding Approach

  • 0.1.3 Determine Relationship of the Program to Operations/Support

  • 0.1.4 Deliver Benefits Early

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