Include OCM Techniques When Implementing Program Management Practices
Most organizations do not follow a consistent Program management methodology of any kind. So, how do you proceed with an initiative to introduce Program management within an organization? The key to a Program like this is recognizing that a Program management initiative requires Program managers to do things differently. It requires them to manage larger Programs more proactively, consistently, and rigorously. It also requires different behaviors of the people who work on Programs and those who are the Program’s stakeholders.
Because we are trying to change the way people do their jobs, this type of effort is known as an organizational change management initiative. It is all about trying to change the culture. Driving culture change requires much more than simply teaching new skills, although training certainly plays a part. You must evaluate various aspects of the organization that drives behaviors. Processes that drive good Program management behaviors need to be reinforced. Processes that are barriers to good Program management behaviors need to be changed or eliminated. Resistance to the change must be accounted for and expected. It must also be overcome.
The success criteria for implementing Program management include the following.
Stakeholder management. In any culture change initiative, it is crucial to recognize the various impacted stakeholder groups. You should then perform stakeholder analysis to understand their interest, power, and motivation. You can use this information to create a stakeholder management plan to engage stakeholders based on their specific characteristics.
A multi-faceted approach. Recognize that implementation is more than introducing new templates and initial training. It requires a multi-faceted approach that includes long-term communication, a standard methodology, training for all stakeholders (Program managers, team members, and managers), coaching services, repository management, etc.
A long-term commitment. You must have long-term staying power. The Program management initiative will likely take at least a year for a small organization and 3-5 years for a larger one.
Strong sponsorship. You have to have robust and stable sponsorship. It is not uncommon for the CIO or an EVP to sponsor a Program management initiative. It is common that when the sponsor is replaced, the new CIO or EVP does not share the passion for Program management. The entire initiative was canceled before the culture change could be fully adopted.
Manage as a Program. The Program management implementation work must be planned and managed as a Program. This will help ensure the work is scheduled, budgeted, coordinated, etc.
A scalable model. Implement the new processes in a scalable manner. In other words, do not require a lot of overhead for small Programs, while at the same time, you need to ensure that there is much more rigor and structure for large Programs. Over-applying mandatory Program management processes on smaller Programs is a common reason an organization does not adopt the culture change.
Deploying Program management processes and building Program management capability in the organization requires much more than simply training the staff and walking away. You need a holistic and multi-faceted plan to engage the stakeholders effectively so that the change can be adopted and utilized long-term.