Program management is usually a process or mechanism to manage the performance of several projects under one unit. Unlike project management, program management takes a long time and involves a much bigger task. The paper would examine program typologies and analyze organizational challenges when managing different types of programs.
There are various types of Programs, depending on the scope of work, time, and the number of people who would be instrumental in the program (Brown 2008). The Goal-oriented programs normally deliver changes in the organization. Most often, they just deal with one-off changes. It may be organizational, national or even international.
The River Flood Protection Program in the Netherlands is an example of a goal-oriented program. An organization may come up with a plan to change the structure of management (Levin & Green 2014). The international organizations in the health sector may start a program on how to Kick Polio out. All the objectives of those projects that are under the program are subject to the program’s objectives. All the projects must work towards achieving the program goal (Wagner & Barkley 2010).
The heartbeat programs are those that involve regular improvements of what is already in existence. It may be the infrastructural programs like buildings, roads, and telecommunication (Brown 2008). They may also be business processes like production, manufacturing, the human resource or even the marketing programs.
There is also a service centre program. The program management coordinates the management of knowledge between projects (Shao & Müller 2011). It does this by integrating financial, technical, administrative and legal services. There is also a portfolio program. In this program, the individual projects are not entirely under the influence of the program goal. They mutually adapt because of the free flow of information at the program level (Levin & Green, 2014). The management program has limited control over individual projects.
Before starting any program, the management must first access the problem it wants to solve. The selection criteria are important because they guide the management to weigh the impact of the programs (Thiry 2010). An organization should not start a program using the current traditional hierarchical structure. A program has to be a special entity that does not interfere with the normal functioning of the organization.
The difficulty in cooperation between projects within the same program is very challenging. For instance, if the financing project does not provide enough funds for the production project in an infrastructure program, it might delay or bring to a halt the entire program (Shao & Müller 2011).
Organizational learning is important for the success of the program. If the organization does not harness the learning process, then it may not succeed in its objectives. Another challenge is if the program provides an unacceptable degree of control through bureaucracy (Thiry 2010). There could also be competition between individual projects. The projects must complement each other and not compete against each other (Wagner & Barkley 2010).
Organizations that can deal with the challenges in their programs management normally succeed. Individual Projects within a program have to support the program to save costs and time. The organization has to provide good leadership by allowing the programs to run independently.
Brown, J 2008, The handbook of program management, McGraw-Hill, New York.
Levin, G & Green, A 2014, Implementing program management, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.
Shao, J & Müller, R 2011, ‘The development of constructs of program context and program success: a qualitative study’, International Journal of Project Management, vol. 29, no. 8, pp.947-959.
Thiry, M 2010, Program management, Gower, Virginia Tech., Burlington,
Wagner, P & Barkley, B 2010, Global program management, McGraw-Hill, New York.