A4 Program Lifecycle Model


The program does not exist to execute program management processes. The program exists to build products/deliverables that create business benefit for the organization. The process used to build the deliverables of the program is referred to as the lifecycle. There are many ways to look at the lifecycle of a program. A simple three-part model is described below.

Program Setup

This includes the work to initiate and plan the program (sections 1-3). The setup work results in defining the program, establishing the program management processes and setting up the program infrastructure to allow the projects to execute as efficiently as possible.

Most of the setup work is done at the start of the program, however, the iterative nature of program management means that these processes can be reviewed and updated throughout the program. For instance, the Program Office may develop an initial Communications Plan. As the project progresses the Program Office may determine that the Communication Plan is no longer sufficient and needs to be updated. In this case, the Setup (planning) work is entered again. The Communications Plan would be updated and re-issued to the Program Office and the project teams.

Program Delivery

This is by far the longest part of the program. If a program had a duration of three years it is likely that two and a half years (or more) would be spent in program delivery. This is the part of the program where all of the projects are executed and all of the program deliverables are built. The definition, processes and infrastructure that was prepared earlier is used by projects to build the deliverables of the program. The projects all use common processes and infrastructure, which allows the projects to start and complete in as short a timeframe as possible.

The Program Office is managing the program during Program Delivery (sections 4-12).   

Program Close

Projects start and end throughout the program. However, ultimately when the last project closes the entire program itself is closed as well. The program closeout may require a lot of work to transition deliverables to operations, reassign remaining team members, close contracts, archive key documents, etc.

This work is reflected in the ProgramStep section 90.0.

[Previous - A3 ProgramStep Process Model]  [Next - A5 Comparing Projects, Programs and Portfolios]

Product info: program management, project management, portfolio management, project office, PMO, program management training, project lifecycle management, program consulting, methodology development, project management training