Ultimately, program managers are judged on results. Creating a positive program culture that facilitates excellent project management should produce excellent results. Having the correct program manager attributes, knowing how to manage stakeholders, implementing the most eﬀective program process strategy, deploying good execution processes, building strong program teams, planning well-organized program communication processes, performing change management, ensuring thorough risk management, and linking the program to organizational strategy are pathways to program clarity and success.
This 5 part Guide to Positive Program Outcomes helps you assess the success of your programs.
Part 1 of 5: Creating Positive Customer Satisfaction
Part 2 of 5: Institutionalize Plagiarism
Part 3 of 5: Program Performance Analysis Metrics
Part 4 of 5: Program Performance Analysis Judgment
Part 5 of 5: Closing Thoughts
Part 3 of 5: Program Performance Analysis Metrics
As a program manager, you need to judge execution so that it can be continually improved, as improved execution makes achievement of business goals much more likely over the long term. In addition, positive business growth has a way of masking poorly run programs. Therefore, program performance analysis is best done with metrics in combination with judgment. Metric data are much more valuable when there is a history or reference with which to contrast the current data. Metrics the program manager should consider include the following:
- 1. Feedback from the customer. Having standard processes for obtaining customer feedback can provide valuable information and help identify or prioritize systemic problems throughout the organization.
2. Compliance with the process. Having processes is good. The next step is measuring compliance with those processes, as the level of compliance tracked over time tells a story. Examine the root cause of noncompliance issues as well as trends to identify problems or opportunities.
3. Requirements alignment (planned and delivered). The program manager can measure how well the requirements of the projects being implemented match the organization’s objectives. Both planned and delivered requirements may need to be checked, as some projects may provide deliverables that are signiﬁcantly diﬀerent from what was planned. Checking these things is another way of instilling organizational discipline.
4. Stakeholder stability. How often program stakeholders change or change their perspective is a measure of program stability. This refers to the high-level stakeholders and key vendors and suppliers on which the program is dependent.
5. Project manager stability. How long the program maintains its project managers and other key personnel is also a measure of program stability. Tracking this over time can help the program manager bolster his or her position when program personnel are being raided.
6. Calendar stability. Does your calendar remain stable for the morning, for the day, for the week? An unstable program manager’s calendar rolls downhill. It is diﬃcult for project managers to maintain stable calendars when their leaders’ calendars are always changing. If the project manager’s calendar is always changing, so is the project team’s. The stability of the calendars of the program manager and the project manager are a reﬂection of program health.
7. Program schedule stability. The stability of the program schedule over time is a good measure of program health. You are looking for inconsistent patterns in the stability of your schedule and the root cause of those patterns.
8. Improvement initiative history. The program management role requires continual tracking of the program’s success over time. Program managers and the organization often take for granted the progress that has been made over time, and tracking it not only is motivational but also makes it easier to sell other improvements and can quell unwarranted criticism of the program.
The measurements mentioned here are suggestions. All will add some degree of value, depending on your program’s level of maturity and environment. But don’t get carried away and measure too many things. Whatever you measure, make sure to collect data frequently enough to calculate natural process variation. That is, do not overreact to perceived bad numbers. Always make sure you clearly understand the story behind the number before creating a ﬁx or a plan of attack.
Once your team has decided on their plan and process, PPM software can help you execute that process. WorkOtter helps you successfully execute your program process strategy for project success. Get a demo of WorkOtter and see how we can make your program management effective.
“The Handbook of Program Management: How to Facilitate Project Success with Optimal Program Management, Second Edition” by James T. Brown is a copyrighted work of McGraw-Hill and McGraw-Hill reserves all rights in and to the Content. ©2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. Purchase the book on Amazon.