Chapter 1. Demystifying Program Management

Even though program management is a widely used and accepted approach to managing product, service, and infrastructure development efforts, the program management practice is not well understood. It has been established as a management discipline for many decades, but uncertainty still exists concerning what it is; why many companies utilize program management to develop their products, services, and infrastructure capabilities; and how it is applied within an organization (see Preface for product, service, and infrastructure capability definitions).

The confusion surrounding program management has a lot to do with its roots, which are in the United States aerospace and defense industries, where it was one of the best kept secrets for decades. Only in the 1980s did program management begin its expansion to the commercial sector, but, even then, the expansion was limited. As people moved from the private sector to the commercial sector, they brought with them program management practices and terminology. Sometimes true program management practices took root in a company; however, other times only the term program management took root and was then used to describe project management practices. The situation is not much different today than it was in the 1980s. Confusion between program management and other disciplines and processes used to develop products, services, and infrastructure capabilities, such as project management and portfolio ...

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