PgMP Office Read #1 – Introduction and Performance Domains

Office Read 1 – Introduction and Program Management Performance Domain
Objective of the office Read – This artifact is a short summary of respective content that will be covered in class. The summary is a great tool to review content however by no means replaces the SPM V4. Standard for Program Management remains the authoritative source of preparation for the PMP Exam
1.    I N T R O D U C T I O N
The Standard for Program provides generally accepted definitions of programs and program management and concepts important to their success—program management performance domains, the program life cycle, and important program management principles, practices, and activities.
The Standard for Program Management provides guidance on principles, practices, and activities of program management that are generally recognized to support good program management practices and that are applicable to most programs, most of the time.
·         Generally recognized means there is general consensus that the described principles, knowledge, and practices are valuable and useful.
·         Good practice means there is general agreement that application of the principles, knowledge, and practices improves the management of programs and enhances the chances of program success, as measured by the extent and effectiveness of benefits delivery and realization. Good practice does not mean it is a MUST.
A program is defined as related projects, subsidiary programs, and program activities managed in a coordinated manner to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually.
Programs deliver their intended benefits primarily through component projects and subsidiary programs that are pursued to produce outputs and outcomes. The components of a program are related and each contribute to the delivery of benefits.
The following is a list of program elements and their definitions:
·         Components are projects, subsidiary programs, or other related activities conducted to support a program.
·         Projects are temporary endeavors undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result, as described fully in – A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)
·         Subsidiary programs, sometimes referred to as subprograms, are programs sponsored and conducted to pursue a subset of goals important to the primary program.
·         Other program-related activities are work processes or activities that are being conducted to support a program, but that are not directly tied to the subsidiary programs or projects sponsored or conducted by a program.
1.3 What is Program Lifecycle?
The program life cycle illustrates the nonsequential nature of a program’s delivery phase. In a program, the iterative pursuit of components is expected to produce a stream of outputs and outcomes that contribute to organizational benefits. Program benefits may be realized in generally two ways:
1.     incrementally throughout the duration of the program
2.     may be realized at or after the end of the program.
Programs are generally initiated or recognized in two ways:
·         Programs initiated to pursue new goals, objectives, or strategies are begun before the start of work on their component projects and programs. These programs are typically initiated to support new strategic goals and objectives; they enable an organization to pursue its vision and mission.
·         Programs may also be formed when an organization recognizes that its ongoing projects, programs, and other work are related by their pursuit of common outcomes, capabilities, objectives, or benefits
The relationship among portfolios, programs, and projects is as follows:
·         A portfolio is a collection of projects, programs, subsidiary portfolios, and operations managed as a group to achieve strategic objectives.
·         Programs consist of related projects, subsidiary programs, and program activities managed in a coordinated manner to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually. Programs are common elements of portfolios, conducted to deliver benefits important to an organization’s strategic objectives.
·         Projects, whether they are managed independently or as part of a program, are temporary endeavors that are undertaken to create unique products, services, or results.
Program management is defined as the application of knowledge, skills, and principles to a program to achieve the program objectives and to obtain benefits and control not available by managing program components individually.
For the PgMP Exam it is very important that we understand “THE INTERACTIONS AMONG PORTFOLIO, PROGRAM, AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT”
Very Important – Business value may be defined as the sum of all tangible and intangible elements of a business where, for example, tangible elements include monetary assets, facilities, fixtures, equity, tools, market share, and utility. Intangible elements may include goodwill, brand recognition, public benefit, trademarks, compliance, reputation, strategic alignment, and capabilities. Business value may also be created through the effective management of ongoing well-established operations.
Non- Profit organizations, benefits may be delivered in the form of social or societal value (for example, improved health, safety, or security).
In commercial organizations, it is common for organizational benefits to be delivered in the form of business value. However, the effective use of portfolio, program, and project management enables organizations to employ reliable, established processes to generate new business value by enabling an organization to effectively pursue new business strategies consistent with its mission and vision for the future.
A program manager is the person authorized by the performing organization to lead the team or teams responsible for achieving program objectives. The program manager maintains responsibility for the leadership, conduct, and performance of a program, and for building a program team that is capable of achieving program objectives and delivering anticipated benefits.
In general, program managers are expected to:
·         Work within the five Program Management Performance Domains.
·         Interact with project and other program managers to provide support and guidance on individual initiatives conducted to support a program.
·         Interact with portfolio managers to ensure that programs are provided with the appropriate resources and priority.
·         Collaborate with governance bodies, sponsors and, (where applicable) the program management office to ensure the program’s continued alignment with organizational strategy and ongoing organizational support.
·         Interact with operational managers and stakeholders to ensure that programs receive appropriate operational support and that benefits delivered by the program can be effectively sustained.
·         Ensure that the importance of each of a program’s components is recognized and well understood.
·         Ensure that the overall program structure and the applied program management processes enable the program and its component teams to successfully complete the work and deliver anticipated benefits.
·         Integrate the program components’ deliverables, outcomes, and benefits into the program’s end product, services, or results, such that the program delivers its intended benefits.
·         Provide effective and appropriate leadership to the program teams.
The following skills and competences are commonly required by program managers:
·         Communication skills. Communication skills that enable effective exchange of information with a wide variety of program stakeholders, including program team members, sponsors, customers, vendors, and senior management, whether individually or in groups or in committees.
·         Stakeholder engagement skills. Stakeholder engagement skills to support the need to manage the complex issues that often arise as a consequence of stakeholder interactions. The program manager should recognize the dynamic aspects of managing individual and group expectations.
·         Change management skills. Skills that enable effective engagement with individual stakeholders and governance and review committees, to gain the necessary agreements, alignment, and approvals when program strategies or plans need to be adapted. The program manager should provide an integrated view of the perspectives of stakeholders and committees whenever a program interacts with multiple committees as part of an organization’s program review and approval process.
·         Leadership skills. Leadership skills to guide program teams through the program life cycle. Program managers work with component managers and often with functional managers to gain support, resolve conflicts, and direct individual program team members by providing specific work instructions.
·         Analytical skills. Skills that enable a program manager to assess whether the outputs and outcomes of program components will contribute as expected to the delivery of program benefits, or to assess the potential impact of external events on the program’s strategy or plans.
·         Integration skills. A program manager should possess the ability to describe and present a program’s strategic vision and plan holistically. It is the program manager’s responsibility to ensure the continuous alignment of the program component plans with the program’s goals and pursuit of organizational benefits.
Very Imp and re-usable concept through out the SPM Guide: A program management office is a management structure that standardizes the program-related governance processes and facilitates the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools, and techniques. A program management office often also supports training and other organizational change management activities. It may support the program manager with the management of multiple projects and program activities, for example, by:
·         Defining standard program management processes and procedures that will be followed;
·         Providing training to ensure that standards and practices are well understood;
·         Supporting program communications;
·         Supporting program level change management activities;
·         Conducting program performance analyses;
·         Supporting management of the program schedule and budget;
·         Defining general quality standards for the program and its components;
·         Supporting effective resource management;
·         Providing support for reporting to leadership and program steering committees;
·         Supporting document and knowledge transfer; and
·         Providing centralized support for managing changes and tracking risks, issues, and decisions.
Program Management Performance Domains are complementary groupings of related areas of activity or function that uniquely characterize and differentiate the activities found in one performance domain from the others within the full scope of program management work.
This section includes:
2.1  Program Management Performance Domain Definitions
2.2  Program Management Performance Domain Interactions
2.3  Organizational Strategy, Portfolio Management, and Program Management Linkage
2.4  Portfolio and Program Distinctions
2.5  Program and Project Distinctions
There are 5 domains in Program Management and in the exam, we are assessed on these domains as against PMP exam where we are evaluated in Initiating, Planning, Execution, Monitoring and Controlling and finally Closing.
Program Strategy Alignment— Performance domain that identifies program outputs and outcomes to provide benefits aligned with the organization’s goals and objectives. Vison mission and goals are established here.
Program Benefits Management— Performance domain that defines, creates, maximizes, and delivers the benefits provided by the program. Benefits can be incremental during the program lifecycle or at the end of the program.
Program Stakeholder Engagement— Performance domain that identifies and analyzes stakeholder needs and manages expectations and communications to foster stakeholder support.
Program Governance— Performance domain that enables and performs program decision making, establishes practices to support the program, and maintains program oversight.
Program Life Cycle Management— Performance domain that manages program activities required to facilitate effective program definition, program delivery, and program closure.
All five Program Management Performance Domains interact with each other throughout the course of the program. How much interaction there will be and when it should occur will depend upon the program and its components. All five domains interact with each other with varying degrees of intensity. These domains are the areas in which program managers will spend their time while implementing the program.
While portfolios and programs are both collections of projects, activities, and non-project work, there are aspects that clearly differentiate them and help clarify the differences between the two. A program is a group of related projects, other programs, and program activities managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually. To clarify the difference between these important organizational constructs, two aspects stand out: relatedness and time.
Programs differ from portfolios in two important ways. Programs include work (projects, subsidiary programs, and program activities) that are related in some way and collectively contribute to the achievement of the program’s outcomes and intended benefits. Programs also include the concept of time and incorporate schedules through which specific milestone achievements are measured.
Portfolios do not require the work within the portfolio to be related and are managed in an ongoing fashion as initiatives (programs and projects) are introduced to the portfolio and are subsequently completed. Portfolios provide a means for organizations to effectively manage a collection of investments and work that is important to the achievement of the organization’s strategic objectives.
Uncertainty is an inevitable challenge of managing programs. Uncertainty is especially high in the beginning of a program as the outcomes are not clear. Programs and projects both exist in organizational environments in which the output, benefits, or outcome of the work may be somewhat unpredictable or uncertain. Changes external to the organizational environment also create uncertainty, which increases the uncertainty of managing programs.
1.     Within the context of the organization, however, individual projects may be considered to be more certain than programs.
2.     The expected outputs of projects are generally more certain than those of programs at the time of their inception. This can be attributed to the project’s fixed constraints. As a project proceeds, its ability to deliver those outputs on time, on budget, and according to specification becomes more certain as a result of the progressive elaboration that removes uncertainty during the course of the project.
3.     By contrast, a program may not have its entire scope, budget, or timeline determined upon preparation. This in turn can be addressed by the program’s ability to deal with uncertainty because programs can change the direction of projects, cancel projects, or start new projects to adapt to changing circumstances. This ability creates uncertainty about the program’s direction and outcome. During the program, scope and content are continually elaborated, clarified, and adjusted to ensure the program’s outcomes remain in alignment with the intended benefits. This results in an initial program environment that is recognized to be uncertain, and implies the need for a management style that embraces uncertainty in order to address it more effectively.
Program managers need to consider two different categories of change. These will be referred to as internal change and external change. Internal change refers to changes within the program. External change refers to the need to adapt the organization in order for it to be able to exploit the benefits created by the program. In programs, change management is a key activity, enabling stakeholders to carefully analyze the need for proposed change, the impact of change, and the approach or process for implementing and communicating change. The change management plan, which is part of the program management plan and developed during program preparation, establishes the change management authorities.


Programs use change management in a forward-looking, proactive manner to adapt to the evolving environment. This is an iterative process repeated frequently during the performance of a program to ensure the program delivers the benefits planned at the start of the program.
To summarize, projects employ change and change management to constrain or control the impact of variability on their baselines, while programs proactively use change management to keep the program components and intended benefits aligned with changes in organizational strategy and changes in the environment in which they are performed.
Both programs and projects are associated with complexity. The sources of complexity within programs and projects can be grouped into human behavior, system behavior, and ambiguity. The factors that result in program and project complexity originate from these three groupings.
Program complexity- The complexity of a program may be the result from a combination of factors.
·         Governance complexity: Governance complexity results from the sponsor support for the program as well as the support of the related components’ sponsors, management structures, number of organizations involved and the decision-making processes within the program.
·         Stakeholder complexity: Stakeholder complexity arises from the differences in the needs and influence of stakeholders, which may be a burden to the program or in conflict with the benefits of the program. Stakeholder complexity also focuses on the program team itself and the diversity within the program team. Stakeholder complexity is also associated with the number of stakeholders interested in the program.
·         Definition complexity: Programs bring about change, and definition complexity focuses on the agreement of the future state by stakeholders. Other aspects that the program manager should be cognizant of include benefits management and the potential competing interests of stakeholders.
·         Benefits delivery complexity: Benefits delivery complexity focuses on benefits management, as discussed in Section 4.
·         Interdependency complexity:. Program managers need to deal with interdependency complexity. A program focuses on the interdependencies among components and not necessarily on issues within individual projects. Programs strengthen and enforce interdependencies among components to ensure that the overall outcome of the program delivers the intended benefits. Interdependencies among components and other business entities should be clearly defined.
·         Resource complexity: The availability of resources at the required level of capability and capacity, adequate funding, and suitable supplies and materials add to the complexity of the program, and these resource concerns need to be addressed within the program.
·         Scope complexity: Scope complexity arises from the difficulty to clearly define the deliverables and benefits of a program and its components. Managing the delivery of the associated benefits beyond the lifespan of the program’s components contributes to scope complexity.
·         Change complexity: Change complexity arises from the different levels of impact the change potentially can cause in an organization. Change complexity is low when a program changes the basic operational processes model in one or two departments, but can be can be extremely complex when a program transforms an organization from a functional to a projectized organization.
·         Risk complexity: Risk complexity arises from the high level of uncertainty due to the extended program life cycle and the uncertainty of the components’ outcome and their interdependencies.
Project complexity: A project can be complex because of the uniqueness it presents as well as the kind of thinking, action, and knowledge needed in order to solve a problem or complete a task. This uniqueness creates uncertainty with regard to time and costing estimates, as well as the specifications needed to deliver the desired project output and outcomes. Project complexity can be characterized as organizational or dynamic complexity.
Organizational complexity: Organizational complexity focuses on the depth of the organizational structure as well as the number of organizational units. It also addresses the number and types of elements and their relationships in the organization.
Dynamic complexity: Dynamic complexity focuses on the project’s behavior and how it changes over time.
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