Program Management Supporting Processes: Program Definition Phase Tutorial

Program Management Supporting Processes

Welcome to the ninth chapter of the PMI-PgMP tutorial (part of the PMI-PgMP® Certification Training.)

Starting with this lesson, we will review in detail the 36 program management processes that are described in the standard for the program management third edition.

We have divided this content into three chapters, grouped by the life cycle stage. In this lesson, we will focus on the processes related to the program definition phase.

In the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial, we will list the objectives of this lesson.

Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe the three primary processes under integration management as a part of the program definition phase

  • Describe program scope planning

  • Explain the process of designing a schedule plan

  • List the processes involved in budget estimation

  • Name the elements of a quality management plan

  • Describe resource planning

  • Describe program risk management planning

  • Explain communications and procurement planning

Let us now discuss integration management processes.

Integration Management Processes

Integration is about bringing the program together.

A program manager integrates the work of all the components of a program, and also the work was done in different disciplines or knowledge areas.

There are three primary processes under integration management as part of the program definition phase.

These are:

  • Program initiation

  • Program management plan development

  • Program infrastructure development

Let us discuss program initiation in the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial.

Interested in our PMI-PgMP Course? Check out our course preview here!

Program Initiation

Program initiation defines the scope of the program and the expected benefits to the organization. The scope of the program should always aim at accomplishing the objectives of the organization.

When the stakeholders approve the program scope, a charter document is officially signed to announce the start of program operations.  

The main functions of the program initiation phase include the following:

  • Program Sponsor Selection and Financing

  • Program Manager Assignment

  • Estimates of Scope, Resources, and Cost

  • Initial Risk Assessment

  • Business Case Update

  • Program Roadmap and Program Charter Development

Let us discuss these activities in the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial.

Program Initiation Activities

In this section, we will discuss four activities of Program Initiation:

Function

Description

Program Sponsor Selection and Financing

  • To oversee the activities of the program

  • To ensure that the program delivers the intended benefits

  • To ensure that benefits adhere to cost, scope, and schedule

Program Manager Assignment

  • To guide the initiation activity

  • To plan and execute the activities of the program

Estimates of Scope, Resources, and Cost

  • Scrutinize scope, cost, and resource allocation analysis

  • Assess organizational ability to execute the program

Initial Risk Assessment

  • Conduct initial risk assessment

  • Analyze threats and opportunities

  • Consider risk response strategies and plans

Program Sponsor Selection and Financing - The sponsor is appointed by the organization to oversee the activities of the program, and ensure that program delivers the intended benefits with the agreed – upon cost, scope and schedule.

Program Manager Assignment - The manager should be appointed during program initiation to effectively guide the initiation activity, and plan and execute the activities of the program

Estimates of scope, resources, and cost - analysis of the scope, cost and resource allocation for the program should be scrutinized, and the ability of the organization to execute the program should be assessed.

Initial Risk Assessment - An initial risk assessment needs to be conducted. Threats and opportunities should be analyzed to determine the probability for the program’s successful delivery of organizational benefits. Risk response strategies and plans are considered at this time.

We will understand another main activity in program initiation, Program Roadmap, and Program Charter Development, in the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial.

Program Roadmap and Program Charter Development

The program charter is a document that is approved by the governance board to state that the program is officially authorized. The components of the charter document are as follows:

Components of the Charter

Description

Vision Statement

The end result of the program and its benefits to the organization

Justification

The importance of the program and the result achieved thereof

Key Effects

The end benefits accrued from the performance of the program

Strategic Vision

The relationship between the program and organizational strategic vision and the means to accomplish it

Scope

The main objectives of the program and ways to attain the goals

Timeline

The schedule for executing the activities of the entire program

Governance Structure

The adoption of a governance structure to manage the program and its components

Consideration of Stakeholders

Identification of the stakeholders and their importance in program execution

Components

The association of related projects to the program and planning of their prompt deliverables

Demand for Resources

It states the estimation of the cost and time and the allocation of resources

Risk Analysis

The initial risk events that might be encountered during the initiation phase

In the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial, we will look at the second activity of Integration management: program management plan development.

Program Management Plan Development

Once the program charter is signed, the next step involves the design of an overall plan to direct the program management team to perform the tasks required to achieve the desired results.

It involves the integration of the following subsidiary plans:

  • Benefits realization plan

  • Stakeholder engagement plan

  • Governance plan

  • Communications management plan

  • Financial management plan

  • Program management plan

  • Procurement management plan

  • Quality management plan

  • Resource management plan

  • Risk management plan

  • Schedule management plan

  • Scope management plan

Let us now discuss the last activity of Integration management in the program definition phase which is Program Infrastructure Development.

Program Infrastructure Development

The purpose of program infrastructure development is to investigate, assess, and plan the support structure that will enable the program to successfully achieve its goals.

The below-given table explains activities involved in PID with their respective descriptions.

Activity

Description

Program Organization and Core Team Assignments

The program management team are designated as part of establishing the program infrastructure.

Program Resource Plan Development

The program needs resources such as personnel, tools, and finances. These are different from resources required at the component level.

Program Management Activity Definition

Program resources select and document program management activities required for implementing and managing defined program infrastructure.

Program Management Office

The program management office supports the management and coordination of program and component work.

Program Management Information Systems

These collect information needed to manage and control the program.

 

In the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial, let us discuss the scope management process, program scope planning.

Program Scope Planning

Program scope defines the work required to deliver a benefit at the program level. Scope management includes all of the activities involved in planning and managing the program scope.

The scope management activity in the program definition phase is program scope planning.

  • It is an iterative process.

  • A scope plan is also known as a progressive elaboration plan.

  • Changes are compared to initial scope, and deviations, if any, are incorporated.

  • Outputs of this activity are program scope statement, program scope management plan, and program work breakdown structure.

Let us now proceed to look at a business scenario and answer some questions based on it.

Schedule Management Processes

Let us now discuss schedule management processes.  

The Schedule Management processes mainly deal with drafting the time estimates to accomplish the activities mentioned in the program’s scope, and also recording the actual time taken to complete the delivery of the products.

The schedule management processes involve assessing the cost of implementing tasks, resource allocation, risk factors, and tenure of contract of vendors while providing time estimates for program development. The schedule management activity in the program definition phase is program schedule planning.

Let us understand this activity in the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial.

Program Schedule Planning

In designing a schedule plan, the various components of the program are evaluated and the time required to accomplish the task is estimated and recorded in the time management plan.

Once the plan is put into effect, the program’s components are monitored at varied intervals to ensure the timely delivery of products.

The time schedule plan draws all its input from the PWBS document as this document defines the scope of the program, required resources, and any internal or external dependencies that may result in schedule deviation.

This process deals with detailing the schedule plan for the timed performance of activities of the various components of the program. It also involves recording details about proposed and accepted change requests and estimating the time required to accomplish the change requests.

In the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial, we will look into financial management processes in detail.

Financial Management Processes

The main aim of launching a new program is to maximize the organization’s profits. Hence, Financial Management is a very important phase in the lifecycle of the program. It involves:

  • Providing estimates for the cost of initiating a program,

  • Incorporating the budget estimation for the various associated projects of the program,

  • Estimating the overall budget for the operation of the entire program, and

  • Controlling the cost of execution of the program

The cost of executing the activities internal to the program and managing the program externally is evaluated during the budget allocation phase. The financial management activities in the program definition phase are program cost estimation, program financial framework establishment, and program financial management plan development.

Let us discuss program cost estimation in the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial.

Program Cost Estimation

Program Cost Estimation provides the cost aggregation for the program components and furnishes estimation for developing the program.

The inputs for this activity are obtained from the PWBS document and the resources allocation plan as every act of the program that involves a demand for finance should be accounted for.  

The plan records all the transactions pertaining to cash flow in the program, such as:

  • Budget initiation

  • Drafting a schedule for dispatching funds for program execution

  • Recording all the vendor supplies in a document and making timely payments

  • Financial metrics

  • Maintenance of financial reports

Let us continue to discuss program cost estimation in the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial.

Program Cost Estimation (contd.)

When the budget allocation for the program is initiated, the following criteria should be evaluated to determine the need for launching the new program:

  • Organizational performance

  • Fiscal commitments

  • Cost estimation

  • Potential cash flow problems

  • Risk reserves

  • Increase or decrease of future interest rates

  • Trends in material cost for other assignments

The budget allocation plan is directly associated with risk management as allocating finance to a new program involves encountering a series of risk factors during the development phase.

The next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial focuses on the next activity, program financial framework establishment.

Program Financial Framework Establishment

The financial model for the program includes:

  • Third party sources for collection and management of funds,

  • Funds raised and managed within the organization, or

  • Funds obtained from internal or external sources within the organization.

Usually, the components of the program are funded by different sources and executing the program involves raising funds from one or more sources.

Mostly the funding organizations are inactive partners in program management as they invest a lot of money in the development of the program. They participate and provide inputs for any decisions made by the program manager, project managers, technical leads, or business leads.

The next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial focuses on the last activity, program financial management plan development.

Program Financial Management Plan Development

The program financial management plan is a component of the program management plan and documents all of the program’s financial aspects:

  • Funding schedules and milestones

  • Initial budget

  • Contract payments and schedules

  • Financial reporting activities and mechanisms

  • Financial metrics

We will look at quality management processes in the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial.

Quality Management Processes

Quality management plays a dominant role in every activity involved in program management commencing from initiation to delivery.

For instance, when the procurement plan is drafted, the quality manager should take part in the planning to check whether all the quality standards and norms have been duly complied with in all the projects and the entire program.

Drafting and implementing a quality plan to ensure the delivery of products in the manner preferred by the customer is a very important phase of the program management phase.

Planning quality in a program enables the program manager, sponsor, and the end customer to clearly define the manner of execution of the tasks of the program.

The activity in the definition phase in program quality management is program quality planning. Let us discuss it in the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial.

Program Quality Planning

Program Quality Planning The quality plan describes a set of standards that are used across all the functional areas of the program. Within the program, there are many quality assurance demands and they are achieved by conducting regular quality tests and assessments.

During the initiation phase of a program, it is vital to examine the cost of executing a quality plan and integrate it with the business plan.

The elements of a Quality Management plan are as follows:

  • Quality Standards

  • Estimation of cost pertaining to Program Quality

  • The Quality Policy strictly adhered to by the program manager

  • Quality Control Mechanism

  • Quality Metrics and checklists.

Let us discuss the resource management process, resource planning, in the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial.

Resource Planning

Resource planning involves determining:

  • The type of resources required;

  • The time period in which they are required;

  • The number of resources required to effectively perform the operations of the program.

A program manager is bound to be involved in key operational areas such as managing the cost, assuring quality, defining and adhering to the scope, time management and so on.

The most challenging task for a program manager is the allocation and management of resources to effectively handle the program and deliver products to the customers.

The availability of the human resources is analyzed, and they are allocated to the various components of the program. On account of unavailability of sufficient resources, the program manager involves the organization to obtain resources from external sources.

Let us discuss risk management processes in the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial.

Risk Management Processes

Risks in a program are denoted as the occurrence of an event or circumstance that results in a delay in delivering products or causes failure of a program.

The launch of the program itself involves a series of risk factors, such as the failure of some activities that result in loss of the invested capital, human interventions, and lack of operational feasibility.

The program manager and the program management team should always be aware of any risk factor that arises during the course of development of the program and should immediately resolve such issues for the smooth delivery of products to customers.

In the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial, we will look into program risk management planning, which is the risk management activity of the program definition phase.

Program Risk Management Planning

Program risk management planning identifies how to approach and conduct risk management activities for a program.

  • It ensures that the level, type, and visibility of risk management are appropriate.

  • It identifies that resources and time for risk management activities.

  • It should be conducted early in the program definition phase and continued toward the end of the program

  • Market factors and culture of the organization and stakeholders play a role.

Let us discuss communication management processes in the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial.

Communications Management Processes

Communications management involves specifying and furnishing the information that is demanded by the stakeholders in a specific format. The specific format defines the flow of information from the various associated projects to the program, and later from the program to the stakeholders or sponsors.

The stakeholders of the organization include the vendors, customers, users, contractors, and regulatory bodies.

In the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial, we will look into communications planning, which is the communication management activity of the program definition phase.

Communications Planning

Since program execution is more complex than developing projects, the degree of implementation of the communication plan is a tedious process as it involves many areas of operations.

The program manager should communicate to the stakeholders about all the business operations of the program that involves cost, time, quality, manpower, and delivery.

Additionally, any change affected to the program should be intimated to the stakeholders with specific details about the proposed change, the health of the program with regard to the change implemented, and impact of the change to cost and time allocation.

The next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial deals with program procurement planning, a procurement management process.

Program Procurement Planning

Procurement management planning involves the design of a plan to procure resources such as materials, labor, equipment, etc. for the prompt delivery of products.

The program manager implements the plan by working with the sellers, and creating and signing a contract document for the resources supplied by them.

Planning for procurement of resources includes factors such as:

  • Defining the materials to be procured

  • Timely procurement of services and goods

  • Designing the procurement strategies.

Let us learn more about program procurement planning in the next section of the program management supporting processes tutorial.

Program Procurement Planning (contd.)

The key features of the procurement planning are listed below.

In some cases, a particular procurement contract may seem to be the best choice at the project level, whereas a different contract type can prove to be an optimal solution at the program level. The program manager should assess various factors influencing the projects and program and choose the best procurement contract.

The common demands of the various components of the program should be assessed and one overall procurement plan to meet the demands should be implemented.

The issue of specific external regulatory mandates is required to initiate and execute a vendor’s contract for the different projects of the program.

For instance, the grant of one complete contract to meet the requirement of one business mandate, instead of setting aside a part of each contract in the program to meet the same business mandate.

Let us now summarize the things we’ve learned.

Preparing for a career in Project Management? Click here to know more!

Summary

Let us now summarize what we have learned in this lesson:

  • The primary processes under integration management as a part of the program definition phase are program initiation, program management plan development, and program infrastructure development.

  • The outputs of program scope planning are program scope statement, program scope management plan, and program work breakdown structure.

  • The schedule management process mainly deals with drafting the time estimates to accomplish the activities mentioned in the program’s scope.

  • Program cost estimation provides the cost aggregation for the program components and furnishes estimation for developing the program.

  • Planning quality in a program enables the program manager, sponsor, and the end customer to clearly define the manner of execution of the tasks of the program.

  • The most challenging task for a program manager is the allocation and management of resources to effectively handle the program and deliver products to the customers.

  • Program risk management planning identifies the risk factors, risk features, and risk solving techniques.

  • The program manager should communicate to the stakeholders about all the business operations of the program that involves cost, time, quality, manpower, and delivery.

  • Program procurement planning involves the design of a plan to procure resources such as materials, labor, equipment, etc. for the prompt delivery of products.

Conclusion

With this, we have come to the end of this lesson. In the next lesson, we will look into the supporting processes that belong to program benefit delivery.

  • 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