Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Book Review: Program Management

There's an awful lot written about program and project management (PPM). Much of it about the function of providing central admin and tools to support the 'how to' of managing PPM, rather than an effective organisational system that delivers the strategy.

Program Management by Michel Thiry (Published by Gower Publishing Ltd, 2010) covers both and it's refreshingly coherent.

In less than 200 pages the author makes clear that:
  • Programs constitute the missing link between executive level strategy and the projects and operations that will enable it to deliver value.
  • Sound program management practice over any particular standard, can help link strategic decisions with business benefits and create value in organisations.
  • Program management fits in the larger context of the organisation and when not integrated means the focus is on single projects.
The books structure supports this well with an introduction followed by three Parts and the Conclusion:
  • Introduction - this cleverly highlights sections relevant for specific groups of readers so they can dip in and out and refer back to areas of particular interest.
  • Part One: The Program Context - sets the scene for program management and how it fits within the wider organisation and business context.
  • Part Two: The Program Components - looks at the various components that make program management what it is.
  • Part Three: The Program Lifecycle - describes the process necessary to realise strategies through each state of the program lifecycle.
  • Conclusion - summarises the key points and essential components.
As the book moves from why to what to how, we see how programs and projects differ. Comparisons are made between leading program standards and the differences between European and American approaches are explored without 'taking sides' or promoting one over another. There is a wealth of knowledge expertly distilled into easily consumed bite sized pieces supported by on-the-ground experience, examples and case studies. This allows the reader, at any level of the organisation, to not only understand what they're reading but translate and apply it to their own environment.

Thiry's concise definition of Program Management Office (PMO) vs Program Office is key; understand this and we understand where a program organisation can evolve or where revolution will bring the most reward. From here the reader is led forward to greater insight on implementing a sustainable program management culture.

A short, digestible and thoroughly useful read for executives, managers, sponsors, practitioners, strategists, Program Boards, business change managers, and operational managers. This is highly recommended as a practical addition to everyone's reference library.

Purchase from amazon.co.uk and find out more about Michel Thiry via the Valense website.

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