Program Management: Key in Every Role

There are a few key things that we as managers forget and most times get hooked on to the day to day issues, which makes us miss the long-term plans more often than not. Any program has to be planned to the T that means that there cannot be any short-term ideas in a program. Regardless of whether the program will run short term or long term. In this write-up, Preeyan helps us to see how to run a program better, in the weekly column. A Different Truths exclusive.

Most of us in any industry are actually managing programs, they are either HR, production, sales, marketing, communications, etc. All it needs is the acumen to be able to manage projects and decipher complex issues into small simple steps. Anyone can be a program manager, all it takes is the understanding of the requirements, the goal or the result expected and the processes that you will follow to enable the success of the program.

There are a few key things that we as managers forget and most times get hooked on to the day to day issues, which makes us miss the long-term plans more often than not. Any program has to be planned to the T, that means that there cannot be any short-term ideas in a program. Regardless of whether the program will run short term or long term. In this write-up, I would like to help you to see how to run a program better.

The key thing is that every project or problem has to be broken down into small manageable steps that become individual programs. Understand the problem statement and the objective of running these programs. Define specific processes for every step or iteration. And get people to follow it.

Ensure that everyone understands the processes and the importance of it. There are some who follow a process blindly without knowing why this process was set in a particular manner. This could be because they do not care about why and only care about ensuring there are no misses on their end. This is doing injustice to your job, please ensure that you do not do something like this. It is a must to know why a particular process is followed because knowing that will help you understand the science behind it and ensure that you think on similar lines when you design/plan for a program.

Plan every detail of the program from activity, process, timeline, and delegation. These four aspects are the key to any program delivery. Keep proper backups for every step and keep a recovery/contingency plan. There is nothing wrong in planning for the worst possible outcome. The importance of the plan is something we generally do not think of, but in my experience, every activity I have planned this way has always succeeded and I am sure it will help to know that planned activities always have an upper hand than just jumping into something without a proper plan.

Never underestimate the complexity of any problem. It is important that you give the due respect to any activity so that you are always grounded and on top of it. There are times when the simplest of mistake can cost someone their jobs. You can only stay on top if you give the due respect for every process set in your organisation.

Timing is key for any program. It is always good to plan with some allowance in time and try to wind up every step well within the time allotted. Simply put, “under commit, over deliver”. A key lesson learnt in my career and something that I will follow religiously.

The team you select for each of these programs should be carefully orchestrated by you. Which means that you need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your team, you need to give the proper importance of that strongest member of your team. Try to use specialists for most of the tasks, generalists are usually not the doers. I meant it because I have been criticized for being a generalist at times. I really feel it is true that a generalist cannot do the tasks of a specialist.

Maintaining records is key, there is a corporate saying that what cannot be measured cannot be managed. Hence it is important that we maintain a good recording system so that you are able to demonstrate the progress to anyone at any time. Records help you improve and track your progress and can be good indicators for something not going the way you want. Reporting and analytical skills are key to ensure that you are able to keep a good record and manage dashboards of progress.

After all the effort you put in, it is important that you are able to make it visible to everyone. Ensure that all stakeholders get a regular update, it keeps your efforts visible to the stakeholders and you tend to improve your stand in the system.

Every aspect of your job can be broken down into programs and projects and doing that should help you uncomplicate things. Every complexity we face and we call by them similarly complex names in the corporate world can be demystified by just breaking them up into small understandable elements and we can work out a way to clear it without much trouble. It just needs confidence and a great team to back it up. But still, you hold the key when you are competing in a world like it is today. I understand it is easier said than done, but you lose nothing by trying it out.

Have fun, work hard and succeed.

Cheers!

©Preeyan Abraham

Photos from the Internet

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