I wonder what you think of when you see the word ‘programme’: perhaps a TV show such as New Tricks, The Simpsons or The Wire (or Rastamouse if youngsters are in charge of the remote control in your home). Or do you immediately picture a concert programme detailing the evening's entertainment? Perhaps you even interpret the word in a chilling Orwellian way, in the sense of indoctrination requiring de-programming (don't worry, no brainwashing in this book – just masses of useful info!).
However you think of it, as far as this book is concerned a programme is a structure within an organization that aims to manage the delivery of benefits from change (I provide a much fuller explanation in Chapter 1). Programme management means many different things to different people, but I use the term to mean, quite simply, managing big change. By ‘big’ I mean larger than can be comfortably managed in a single project.
Some people like to arrange significant organizational change into multiple projects, and while I cover managing multiple projects in depth in MSP For Dummies, a growing body of experience shows that transformational change needs more than project management. You also need to deal with the outputs from projects in business as usual and to help people come to terms with the change they are undergoing. In other words, you need programme management, and in particular, MSP.
For me, programme management becomes really exciting when it combines managing multiple projects ...