Program Management

Course Number: PROJMGT 7070
Course Name: Program Management (Online)
Course Description:    Programs, and the subprograms, projects, and other work that comprise them, are the means by which new products, services and processes are developed, operated, supported and enhanced. As a result, the ability to successfully manage programs is critical to overall performance and profitability. Topics include knowledge, skills and techniques to manage programs effectively within the organizational context, and the knowledge, skills, and competencies required to transition from a project manager to a program manager.
Prerequisites:    PROJMGT 7010 and PROJMGT 7020
Level: Graduate
Credits: 3
Format: Online
Program: Master of Science in Project Management

Registration Instructions

NOTE: The information below is representative of the course and is subject to change.  The specific details of the course will be available in the Desire2Learn course instance for the course in which a student registers.

Additional Information

Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this course, you should be able to

  • Define a program and program management.
  • Recognize the three phases of the program management life cycle: program definition, program benefits delivery, and program closure.
  • Identify the relationship between program management and organizational strategy.
  • Relate programs to the strategic vision of the organization.
  • Recognize how a Program Management Office can support program management.
  • Describe the requirements for creating and delivering change within an organization.
  • Prepare key program management plans.
  • Identify and plan the key program management activities.
  • Recognize the five elements in program management: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.
  • Manage and control multiple projects, subprograms, and ongoing operations within a program.
  • Describe the benefit management life cycle: benefits identification, benefits analysis and planning, benefits realization, benefits transition, and benefit sustainment.
  • Identify the purpose and usefulness of a Governance Board.
  • Engage effectively with program stakeholders.
  • Identify the essential interpersonal skills and competencies useful to program managers.
  • Describe the basic processes used for resource allocation and prioritization.
  • Determine what must be done to obtain formal approval for program closure.

Unit Descriptions

Unit 1: The Importance and the Challenges of Program Management

In its "A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge", the Project Management Institute (PMI®) defines project as "a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result" (5th ed., p. 3). A project differs from a program, which is defined as "a group of related projects, subprograms, and program activities managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits not available from managing them inpidually" (p. 9). Programs are a means of achieving organizational strategic goals and objectives to promote business value.

Project management is concerned with the definition and delivery of a specific project. Program management applies knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to a program to best obtain benefits not available if its components were managed inpidually. In program management, there is an alignment of these multiple components to achieve program goals and objectives. It also facilitates an optimized or integrated cost, schedule, and effort (PMI, The Standard for Program Management – Third Edition 2013, p. 6). Going forward, this Third Edition will be referred to as the PMI Program Management Standard. Program management focuses on interdependencies to enable appropriate planning, scheduling, monitoring and controlling of the components within the program to achieve program benefits.

Unit 2: Governance and Benefits Management

Program management applies knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to programs to meet the requirements of the program, and to obtain benefits and control that may not be available if the components were managed separately. The program manager then must integrate and control these interdependencies working in the performance domains (PMI, 2013, pp. 6-7). In this unit we will begin to review and evaluate those elements that determine the maturity of program management within an organization. We will focus on the benefits management and governance domains.

Programs have a life cycle, but the PMI Program Management Standard is not set up with knowledge areas, process groups, or inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. Most programs have a core team to assist the program manager, a Program Management Office (PMO), and a program management information system.

Unit 3: Stakeholder Engagement Plan

One key difference in program management as compared to project management is the greater number of stakeholders at the program level, and the need for the program manager to interact with many diverse groups of stakeholders. These stakeholders may be active in all phases of the program, only have an interest in a certain area, exert influence over the program, or may lack involvement but be extremely influential. As PMI in the Program Management Standard notes the program manager focuses on stakeholder engagement as one cannot manage stakeholders.

This unit will focus on stakeholder engagement and the best practices to follow in order to achieve the program's strategic objectives and benefits.

Unit 4: Executing and Monitoring and Controlling

As we continue in the Program Benefit Delivery phase of the life cycle, we move as well into executing and monitoring and controlling. As noted by the PMI Program Management Standard, our plans are complete, but in risk management, we move into risk identification, risk analysis, risk response planning, and risk monitoring and control. As part of risk analysis, there may be opportunities for innovation. Quality assurance is another key activity, along with contract administration. Change requests are common, and a change management process is useful.

Resource prioritization and resource interdependency management are other key activities for the program manager along with building, and maintaining a high-performing team. Allocating resources in a program within its various components requires the ability to review schedules, budgets, and scope statements, and determine when the resources are needed on each component with minimal change. Resources may be underutilized at one point and insufficient at another.

Unit 5: Program Closure

Your goal is to bring proper closure to the program, as at some point it will close. Even if the program closes prematurely if it is no longer in alignment with the organization's strategy, the program manager still must perform closing activities. The PMI Program Management Standard states once a decision is made to close the program, numerous activities occur.

The closing process involves several activities that need to be completed in order to formally close the program. In some cases it may be worthwhile to have a "checklist" that lists each of the required activities and dates when each activity has been completed. This will assure items are considered and not overlooked.

There also are internal activities or functions that need to be completed, such as internal financial closure, release and reassignment of resources, preparing a final report, and transitioning benefit sustainment.

Grading Criteria for Activities

Assignment Percentage
Unit 1 & 2 40%
   Individual Assignments, Group Discussions & Group Program  
Unit 3 20%
   Group Discussion & Group Program  
Unit 4 & 5 40%
   Individual Assignments & Group Discussions  
Total: 100%

Grading Scale
A 95% - 100%
B 89% - 94%
C 84% - 88%
D 78% - 83%
F 0% - 77%


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