MSP® Foundation and Practitioner

Certification Training
5327 Learners
View Course Now!
48 Chapters +

Identifying a Programme Tutorial

1 Identifying a Programme

Hello and welcome to lesson 14 of the Managing Successful Programmes Certification Course offered by Simplilearn. This lesson covers the first process of the transformational flow, that is, ‘identifying a programme’. Let us begin with the objectives of this lesson in the next screen.

2 Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to: ? Describe the inputs, principle controls, key roles and the outcomes of the process, ‘identifying a programme’ ? Explain the steps involved in the same process Let us move on to the next screen to discuss the MSP® framework.

3 MSP Framework

‘Identifying a programme’ is a part of the transformational flow process and it is positioned in the innermost ring of the MSP® framework. This is the first process of the programme and it is initiated as soon as the programme mandate is received. The main aim of the ‘identifying a programme’ process is to gather data at the initial phase. This will help in deciding whether the programme is worth proceeding with or not. If proceeded, the collected data can be used by the forthcoming transformational flows. In the next screen, we will introduce the concept of ‘identifying a programme’.

4 Identifying a Programme Introduction

‘Identifying a programme’ transformational flow is the trigger for initiating the overall programme management process. It starts as soon as programme mandate is received. Let us first begin with the inputs of this process. The inputs for this process include the programme mandate and business strategy used to ensure that the programme outcomes are aligned to it. The inputs also include the emerging programme’s current status and plans which help the programme to analyse if the current projects are being shaped into an emergent programme or if any of the projects can be used for the new programme. The principal control is provided by the Sponsoring Group who monitors the process, authorises it and ensures that the programme brief is aligned with the business strategy. Formal assurance review is conducted to ascertain the alignment with the strategy and assure that the programme is feasible. This review can also be done by external parties.

5 Step 1 Sponsor the Programme

The key roles identified in this process are that of the Sponsoring Group, Senior Responsible Owner or SRO (read as S-R-O), Programme Board and a small team that is optional. The Sponsoring Group provides the necessary authorisation and monitors the progress. They also nominate one of their peers as the Senior Responsible Owner, who has the accountability for the success or failure of the programme. The Programme Board and an optional small team who can work on the programme brief and programme preparation plan ensure that these are aligned with the business strategy. The steps involved in this process are sponsor the programme, confirm the programme mandate, appoint the SRO and Programme Board, produce the programme brief, develop the programme preparation plan, independent review and approval to proceed. We will discuss each of these in detail, in the following screens. Let us now look into the outputs of this process. One of the expected output of this process includes independent assurance report confirming or denying the viability of the programme. The other outputs are confirmed mandate and approved programme brief. Programme brief is also referred to as an outline business case. In case of emergent programmes, outputs will include the decisions that have been taken on current activities. It needs to be confirmed, if those activities will continue or will be stopped. Another major output is the programme preparation plan, which provides the plan and governance arrangements for the next phase. The approval to start ‘defining a programme’ from the Sponsoring Group and the appointment of the SRO and the Programme Board are the other outputs of this process. In the next screen, we will focus on the first step of the process, that is, ‘sponsoring the programme’. Slide 5: Sponsoring the Programme The Sponsoring Group provides the initial and on-going, top-level sponsorship required by the programme to gain and maintain necessary commitment to investment, resources, timescales, delivery and operational changes. This sponsorship is provided via the programme mandate. The following are the responsibilities of the Sponsoring Group. Sponsoring groups have their own strategic interest in the programme. They are responsible for taking decisions regarding the investment in programme. They provide approval to proceed with each tranche; the approval signifies that they are ready to invest in the next phase of programme. In the next screen, we will focus on the responsibilities of each member of the Sponsoring Group .

6 Step 1 Sponsor the Programme (contd.)

The members of the Sponsoring Group will be significantly impacted by the programme’s success or failure, as the programme is a necessary means for them to deliver the transformational change and strategy. The members of the sponsoring group include those who are required in delivering the change and planning the organisational strategy. Let us discuss the responsibilities of each member of the Sponsoring Group. Each member of the sponsoring group should clarify their perspective on the programme, which helps the programme team to understand their interests and priorities. The Sponsoring Group members should also define the level of engagement support they will be able to provide for the programme. This is necessary, as the members can have other high-priority responsibilities. The members of the Sponsoring Group should confirm their acceptance of the role, assigned responsibility and commitment to the programme. In the next screen, we will focus on ‘confirm the programme mandate’.

7 Step 2 Confirm the Programme Mandate

Following are some important information about the programme mandate: Programme mandate should articulate the direction, constraints, priorities and aspirations of programme to the team that is working on development of programme brief. It should also define the “success” of the programme, identify critical factors and outline assurance methods and controls to achieve it. It can be documented from the corporate strategic plan. In case it does not exist as a single document, it can be created with the help of facilitated workshops and interviews with the Sponsoring Groups, stakeholders, executive members of the organisation and senior management teams. The consolidated programme mandate should be reviewed and confirmed by the Sponsoring Group. This is the trigger to initiate the programme. These information set the scene for the controlled start-up of the programme and need to be confirmed at the outset. In the following screen, we will look into the appointment of the SRO and Programme Board.

8 Step 3 Appoint the SRO and Programme Board

We will start with the appointment of the Senior Responsible Owner or the SRO (read as S-R-O) in this screen. In a programme organisation theme, the SRO is one of the peers and members of the Sponsoring Group. The SRO is appointed and assisted by the Sponsoring Group, at the earliest opportunity, to provide leadership and direction to the programme. The SRO is already a member of the executive group, so appointment is basically a formality to endorse him to the position. The Sponsoring Group normally selects an individual with the most appropriate and relevant authority, credibility, experience and skills to lead and direct the programme as the SRO. A specific role definition is prepared for the SRO, which is approved by the Sponsoring Group. The SRO should confirm the understanding and acceptance of the role. If the programme is too big, it can be assisted by individuals with appropriate skills. The SRO appoints and heads the Programme Board to establish governance. The SRO is accountable for the success of the programme, irrespective of the involvement of different executive groups and individuals. In the following screen, we will further focus on appointing the SRO and Programme Board.

9 Step 3 Appoint the SRO and Programme Board (contd.)

The following are some important information about the appointment of the Programme Board. The Programme Board is appointed and headed by the Senior Responsible Owner. The purpose of the Programme Board is to drive and deliver the outcomes and benefits of the programme. Even though the programme board is appointed in the ‘identifying a programme’ process, it exerts its full control and authority only from the ’defining a programme’ process. A small team may be appointed to prepare the programme brief and the programme preparation plan. This is generally carried out by the Programme Manager and the Business Change Manager or the BCM (read as B-C-M) , but if they have not yet been identified at this level, individuals possessing required skills and knowledge to accomplish these tasks can work on preparing the programme brief and the programme preparation plan. The Programme Manager and the BCM have to be appointed before the start of “defining a programme” to drive the process. The Programme Board reports to the SRO with whom the final decision-making power remains. The Programme Board must support the authority and executive boards. It has to ensure coordination between multiple projects and different executive groups. In the next screen, we will understand how to produce the programme brief.

10 Step 4 Produce the Programme Brief

The following are a few facts about the programme brief. The Programme brief provides a formal basis for assessing the viability and achievability of the programme. Once approved, it provides the inputs for the business case. At this time, the programme brief is used rather than a detailed business case. This helps to avoid futile and time-consuming work on detailed cost analysis and investment appraisal, when the overall concept of the programme may not be viable due to other reasons. The programme brief defines the programme’s specific objectives, required benefits, potential risks, outline costs and timescales using inputs from the programme mandate. Options for delivery can also be developed. It should restate the position, ‘where we are now’, refine and expand the programme mandate. Assumptions on the future with consideration of “do-nothing scenario” should also be considered. The programme brief should highlight the areas of potential overlap that might cause conflict or duplication. It should also identify conflicts where one activity diminishes the outcome of another activity. These scenarios can be identified in case of conflicting projects. Programme brief should identify gaps in case of insufficient activities, and plan actions to improve the programme. It needs to provide guidance for reshaping the changed initiatives and delivering the planned benefits. In the next screen, we will focus on the step, ‘develop the programme preparation plan’.

11 Step 5 Develop the Programme Preparation Plan

Preparation for ‘defining a programme’ involves detailed planning and design of all aspects of the programme. Programme preparation plan is produced to ensure that the Sponsoring Group is aware and willing to commit to cost, time and resources for the next part of the programme. The development of a detailed programme preparation document requires essential planning for sufficient time and resources, which helps in reducing the uncertainty. Individuals with the right skills such as market knowledge, procurement and technology are required to prepare the blueprint and other related documents. Identifying them in advance will help reduce the complexity and give the next phase a smooth start. A key element of the programme preparation plan is that it should be able to explain how assurance will be applied during the next process. The Programme preparation plan sets out the governance arrangements, resources and anticipated timetable for delivery of the work in ‘defining a programme’. In the next screen, we will cover the last two steps of ‘identifying a programme’.

12 Step 6 and 7 Independent Review and Approval to Proceed

The last two steps of ‘identifying a programme’ are independent review and approval to proceed. Let us first look into independent review. An independent review of the programme brief is conducted to assess the scope, rationale and objectives of the programme. This helps to identify whether the organisation has the ability and resources to deliver the programme. The reality, impacts, possible mitigations of identified risks and assumptions should be challenged to verify the confidence of the team and the correctness of the brief. The procedure to conduct the review should be outlined in the assurance arrangement of the programme mandate. An example for this type of review is the OGC Gateway Review 0 which is prevalent in UK public sector programmes. Now, let us discuss approval to proceed. The formal approval of the programme brief and programme preparation plan by the Sponsoring Group is significant. It implies the SRO’s confirmation that the programme meets the business requirement, and that it is viable and can be taken forward. Approval also means that the Programme Board commits to support the delivery of programme. Most importantly, the Sponsoring Group authorises and commits to provide resource and support the SRO to undertake the process of defining a programme, as specified in the programme preparation plan. This approval is based on confirmed understanding and commitment to the programme’s vision, expected benefits, risks, issues, timescales, resources and costs. There should be a clear justification for investment of resources in the programme. The estimated benefits and outcomes should outweigh the sum of costs, risks and dis-benefits. In the next screen, we will focus on an example based on the concepts discussed.

13 Identifying a Programme Problem Statement

Chao Yin, the Programme Manager at Nutri Worldwide Inc., has completed the development of the project brief and programme preparation plan for the new programme, Nutri Snack. The documents have been forwarded to Kylie Honkele, the SRO, for approval. Following are the scenarios mentioned in the programme brief and programme preparation plan prepared by Chao. In the programme brief, all the projects have been listed. The external stakeholders have been informed about the programme plan. When the review is completed for the documents, the tranches will be set in motion. Kylie is reviewing both the documents. In the next screen, let us find out Kylie’s feedback after the review.

14 Identifying a Programme Solution

After reviewing both the documents, Kylie has found the following mistakes. She has also explained the reasons why it is a mistake. Following are the feedback given by Kylie after reviewing the programme brief and the programme preparation plan: The first scenario is that Chao has listed all the projects in the programme brief document. The projects list is usually prepared in the ‘defining a programme’ process as part of the projects dossier. The mistake here is that Chao failed to understand that the ‘identifying a programme’ process focuses on laying the groundwork and programme brief is a document that provides a formal basis for assessing the viability of the programme. So it does not include a list of all the projects. The second scenario as per Chao’s document is that the external stakeholders have been informed about the programme plan. This is wrong as the external stakeholders are identified as part of the ‘defining a programme’ process and not as part of the ‘identifying a programme’ process. The third scenario is that the Programme Manager has mentioned in his report that the tranches will be set in motion in the ‘identifying a programme’ process, when the review is completed for the documents, which are the programme brief and programme preparation plan. Here the mistake is that the tranches are usually defined only in the ‘defining a programme’ process after the review of the programme brief and programme preparation plan document in the same process.

15 Summary

Let us summarise what we have learnt in this lesson: ‘Identifying a programme’ transformational flow is the trigger for initiating the overall programme management process. The inputs of this process are programme mandate, business strategy and current status and plan of emerging programmes. The principal control of this process is provided by the sponsoring group. The key roles are played by the Sponsoring Group and SRO. Some of the expected outputs include independent assurance report, confirmed mandate, approved programme brief, programme preparation plan and appointment of the SRO and Programme Board. The steps involved in the process are sponsor the programme, confirm the programme mandate, appoint the SRO and Programme Board, produce the programme brief, develop the programme preparation plan, independent review and approval to proceed. Next, we will focus on the roles and documents used in ‘identifying a programme’.

  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

We use cookies on this site for functional and analytical purposes. By using the site, you agree to be cookied and to our Terms of Use. Find out more

Request more information

For individuals
For business
Name*
Email*
Phone Number*
Your Message (Optional)

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

We are looking into your query.
Our consultants will get in touch with you soon.

A Simplilearn representative will get back to you in one business day.

First Name*
Last Name*
Email*
Phone Number*
Company*
Job Title*

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy