How to move from project to programme management

How to move from project to programme management

Project managers are often highly paid professionals. But just like everyone else, they need opportunities for career development.

One strategy is to move from regular project management to program management. But how do you do this? Let’s take a look.

Focus on customer requirements

Project managers pay attention to milestones, schedules, and getting the job done. By contrast, program managers must understand the needs of the customer and deliver value. Therefore, budding professionals in this area focus on the needs of the people consuming the business’s services, no matter how far removed from the work they seem.

Prioritise building strong intra-business relationships

Program managers must also learn to explore how things relate to each other to help the firm achieve its objectives. Part of this involves establishing strong relationships throughout the organisation for idea-sharing. Program managers aren’t afraid to look for opportunities outside of their immediate team.

Embrace the new challenge

Program managers don’t get paid much more than project managers. However, many still make the move to foster personal development. It’s all about the challenge, so learn to embrace the unknown and how this will better you as a professional.

Understand the strategy

There are also differences in how both sets of professionals approach projects. Project managers concern themselves with what they need to do, whereas program managers concentrate more on how they are going to win. Instead of giving out instructions and getting everyone to obey marching orders, program managers are much more interested in receiving honest, accurate, and timely feedback.

Map out dependencies

As program managers, project delivery is not the main concern. Instead, the focus is on mapping out all of the interrelated effects that project implementation may have on the organisation. Current progress towards milestones is not important. What matters most is how the current position relates to everything else.

Use conflict constructively

Program managers also seek to use conflict constructively. Instead of managing crises as they arise, one by one, as a project manager might, program managers look to use conflict as a tool to deliver their message.

Move the organisation from project mode to business-as-usual

Lastly, program managers move projects out of “project mode” and help to make them business-as-usual. It’s all about transitioning to a new way of operating and making any new implementations seem “normal.”