A2 ProgramStep™ Philosophy

The following statements represent a set of guiding principles for ProgramStep and are reflected in all the subsequent content.

Programs are Generally Large (A2.P1)

One of the primary philosophies behind our TenStep® Project Management Process is that project should be managed scalably based on the size of the project. Therefore the TenStep® Project Management Process provides guidance for how to manage small, medium and large projects.

ProgramStep does not have this same methodology organization. It is assumed that all programs are large. Of course, some programs are larger than others. But they are all large. Therefore, the process descriptions and techniques are not divided into small, medium and large.

Programs Can Still be Managed Scalably (A2.P2)

Even though we assume that all programs are large, this does not imply that all programs are managed the same. Each program must utilize the components of ProgramStep that make sense for its own unique situation. For example, if your program does not have much procurement work, you probably are not going to need the Procurement Management Plan.

Review each section within ProgramStep to determine which processes, techniques and templates make sense for your program. These are the ones to apply. You need to be sure that all of the processes provide value to your program. This is referred to as “Value-Add Program Management”.

ProgramStep Applies to All Programs (A2.P3)

ProgramStep is designed to be applicable to all programs, whether you are building a factory, a pipeline or an IT application. Fundamentally, all programs deal with planning and managing schedule, budget, issues, scope, risk, etc.

Programs Must be Managed Proactively (A2.P4)

Programs must be managed proactively regardless of the size. Program managers that wait for things to happen will most often get into trouble.

The Program Manager has Authority and Responsibility (A2.P5)

Project managers have varying amounts of authority depending on the project manager and the organization. Some project managers have very little authority and fill mostly a coordinator role.

Programs by their nature are larger and more complex. It is assumed that the program manager does have a high level of authority. There will still be differences in the level of authority on different programs. But all program managers should have a large degree of authority on the program.

The Program Begins When a Program Manager is Assigned (A2.P6)

There are many events that can signify that a program has officially started. In the ProgramStep Process, the program officially starts when the program manager is assigned. Typically the first job of the program manager is to plan the program. Remember that program manager is a role. Whoever completes the program planning work is in the role of the program manager, even if another person is assigned to the formal role at a later time.

Recognize the Purpose of the Business Case and the Program Charter (A2.P7)

The Business Case document is used to justify the program from a business perspective and it is used to allocate the initial budget for a program. However, just because the Business Case is approved does not mean that program is ready to start. It might be a number of months before the program actually starts.

When the program does start, there are initiation and planning phases. The planning phase results in a Program Charter, Program Management Plan, program schedule and program budget. When the Program Charter is approved, the underlying projects are ready to begin.

The ProgramStep Model is Focused More on Internal Programs (A2.P8)

The overall approach behind the ProgramStep model generally assumes that you have an internal program with internal customers. While most of the process is also applicable to outsourced programs, some of the model will need to be revised. For instance, on a program where you have an external sponsor, you may use a Statement of Work instead of a Program Charter. You might also have much stricter expectations about whether you are allowed to go over schedule and budget. Many of the roles might be different as well.

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