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What Is Programme Management?

A programme is a set of related projects and programme management is the practice of overseeing them. The end goal of a programme is to improve the organisation’s performance. Because of that, programme management has to be in line with the organisation’s goals.

These strategic goals are usually designed with business transformation in mind. Programme management is therefore closely related to change management. An organisational goal could be to reduce waste or lower production costs.


The programme manager’s role


Programme management has a much broader scope than project management. Because of this, it’s harder to imagine what a programme manager does day-to-day compared to a project managers. These are some of the specific tasks that programme managers perform:

  • Ensuring that programme goals are achievable
  • Overseeing the projects to ensure they’re in line with the programme strategies
  • Supporting project-level activity and providing the project manager with a programme perspective
  • Acting as a sounding board for project issue solutions


Programme management vs project management


Because programmes encompass many projects, they have a wider scope and longer duration. Programmes are built on long term strategic planning. This informs which projects get approved and how they’re managed. While the long term goal informs projects, it's not the focus of them.


Implementing programme management


Many organisations use project management to deliver new or changed business capability. The challenge is harnessing these projects into a coherent improvement process. Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®) provides the best framework for this.

MSP is a set of principles and processes for programme management. Because it’s not prescriptive, programme managers can adapt it to their needs. Without these best practices, implementing large-scale change would be daunting and risky. To find how to break this process down to manageable projects, see our full list of MSP courses. For questions or queries about this or any of our other courses, please visit our contact page.