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Category: Expertise strategy

Programme Governance: Top tips for success

Programme governance forms the backbone of efficient program management within an organization. In this article, we share some tips to navigate the intricate landscape of orchestrating interconnected projects and activities within a strategic framework.

By Howard Bell, Head of Banking and Capital Markets Solutions

Programme governance refers to the framework and processes put in place to ensure effective management of a particular programme within an organisation. A programme typically consists of a set of related projects and activities aimed at achieving a particular strategic objective.

The specific elements of programme governance may vary depending on the nature and complexity of the programme in question, as well as the organisational context. However, the overarching goal is to provide a structured and transparent approach, to enable effective decision-making, accountability, and successful programme delivery.

 

Where to start

One of my key tips is to identify five areas of focus from beginning to end to enhance the chance of overall success and sustain team motivation. These could be around programme planning with clear outcomes; enlisting the most appropriate key players; steering committee management; risk management; and transparency of progress. This approach has been adopted by emagine consultants to improve the success of projects.

Assigning a project sponsor

When a programme begins, the first steps include assigning a strong sponsor - this is generally an individual at senior management level. It’s imperative to choose a suitable sponsor who will remain engaged and active throughout the project to ensure it runs smoothly.

The sponsor helps to define the overall objectives of the programme and brings in key stakeholders. Once these details have been outlined, more precise outcomes can be established including how they will be measured, which could be, for example, growing the workforce by 15% or increasing revenue by 30%. Important to have regular updates to the sponsor throughout the duration of the programme, and to call on their assistance when needed.

 

Outlining the details

During these planning stages, details such as costs and timeframes should be finalised to give the programme, and individual projects within it, constraints. It is always a good idea to give several options when this element is being considered for stakeholders to choose from. For example, if the timeframe is tight, the cost may be higher, but this can be decided with the project team against budgets and internal factors.


 

  The overarching goal is to provide a structured and transparent approach, to enable effective decision-making, accountability, and successful programme delivery.

 


The role of the steering committee

At this stage, a steering committee should be set up to act as an advisory group to assess and guide the direction of the programme. It is critical for all steering group members to remain accountable throughout the process and regular meetings are advisable to keep all stakeholders up-to-date with milestones.

It is important that a suitable chair is selected to run the meetings and they are an opportunity to formally discuss the programme status, any risks and issues and what is coming up next, including any decisions that need to be made.

The steering committee decks should be concise and clear and should be circulated well in advance of the meeting. You should ensure that members of the steering committee are fully accountable for their areas. Over delegation, or regular delegation by steering committee members should be avoided at all costs.

 

The value of honesty and transparency

Honesty and transparency are important values to practice at all times throughout a programme. Bad news is manageable so long as it is delivered at the earliest convenience and a steering committee should always expect to deal with some bumps in the road. Postponing or ignoring bad news will likely lead to escalated problems down the line.

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Managing risk

Risks and issues often materialise throughout the journey of any programme and its moving parts. Having effective risk management in place is crucial, especially for programmes running in the financial services space, where regulations are everchanging. Clarifying potential risks, issues and key dependencies must be a priority from the start and to mitigate pitfalls, there should be a member of the team dedicated to continually review this area.

An element of risk will always loom over a programme but it is important to continue moving forward whilst being prepared and a step ahead if a problem does arise, with the relevant expertise within the team to move past it and on towards successful programme delivery.

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