• Rhonda Coombes

Is Program Management Plugged Into Your Strategy?


The world no longer looks the same as it did a year ago. With the changes brought on by Covid-19, businesses are having to rethink their strategy and swiftly move in new directions. I am often asked what role Program Management should play when it comes to a living and changing strategy.

In most companies I’ve worked with, program managers don’t seem to get involved ... strategy is something that happens at a higher pay grade, seen as an event that happens behind closed doors! Strategy is conveyed to the organization once a quarter, when an aspirational message is delivered using big, broad-stroked explanations. People listen, feel a little bit better about themselves and where they work, and then go back to working on their daily tasks. Afterwards, program managers are left not clearly understanding what this means to them. In other words, there’s often no direct connection.

But is this the right answer?

What is Strategy anyway?

Well, first let’s talk about strategy. What is it anyway?

Strategy: a method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem

http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/strategy.html

To fully harness the power of your strategy, it must include everything needed to reach the business goals, from your Mission and Vision to actions and tasks. These goals are your strategic outcomes; they are the guide and sole determinant of success of an enterprise. You assess your success by measuring progress towards the desired outcomes. You need a relentless focus on outcomes by every person in your organization. As changes in your strategy are needed to deliver those outcomes, your organization must adapt and align.

Sounds great, but how do you make this happen?

Delivering strategic outcomes

Instead of simply translating a high level strategy into actions, tasks and outputs for lower levels of the organization, it’s the outcomes that should be decomposed into smaller pieces that can be delivered within Programs and Projects.

The key to strategic alignment

Program Management is responsible for ensuring programs maintain laser focus on delivering the right outcomes, rather than tasks and outputs:

  • Program outcomes are a breakdown of higher level strategic outcomes

  • Each element of the Program is directly tied to achieving the program outcomes

  • All Project outputs, actions and tasks are expected to deliver the desired program outcomes

  • Metrics, targets and a forecasting method are in place to enable prediction of future outcomes

  • Program results are compared to target metrics. If the program is not tracking to the target milestone, then outputs, activities and tasks are changed in order to optimize for the needed program outcome

How well are your programs doing?

In a study by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), 59% of survey respondents admit that their organizations “often struggle to bridge the gap between strategy development and its practical, day-to-day implementation”. On average, organizations fail to meet 20% of their strategic objectives because of poor implementation.

https://www.brightline.org/resources/eiu-report/

I’d love to help you solve this problem in your organization! Contact me to learn more:

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhonda-coombes-4a57b514/

Email: rhcoombes@yahoo.com

Training courses: https://www.bridgeportdigital.com/training

#strategy #programmanagement #outcomes

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