Waiting for Program Management

“How much of human life is lost in waiting?”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

indiana marionI heard this quote at the end of the last Indiana Jones movie a couple weeks ago and it stuck in my head.  Indiana and Marion waited a long time to realize that they belonged together.  It’s taken me a long time to recognize a different connection.

I was talking with a wise associate last week and he opened my eyes.  He said he enjoys my blog and that he likes the quality assurance tools I use that reflect my philosophy.  We all like that kind of feedback so I was receptive for more.  Then he said that I must be using the PMI Standard for Program Management as a reference for my work.  I admitted I wasn’t.  He reached over to his bookshelf and handed me the standard and I paged though it.

A lot of what I’ve been blogging about as the basis for how I look at projects was right there in the PMI program management standard.  It recognizes the need for:

  • Linkage to organizational objectives
  • Governance of organizational capacity to ensure that projects create synergy
  • Consultative skills working with stakeholders and politics
  • Benefits realization

I was aware that the program management standard existed and that you can get a PMI certification in program management – the PgMP.  But, I generally work with one project at a time, so I’ve sort of skimmed over this standard up to now.

Perusing the PMI.org website, I also noticed The Standard for Portfolio Management.  Where program management coordinates multiple related projects, portfolio management coordinates all of an organization’s investments in projects and programs.  In this volume, I’m finding further validations and connections to my philosophy.  I remembered seeing a chart in John Thorp’s book, The Information Paradox, on the relationship between project, program, and portfolio management when implementing a benefits realization approach:


Thorp’s point is that all three disciplines are necessary to ensure that benefits of project investments are realized.

The more I read the PMI program and portfolio management standards, the more I think that there’s a program/portfolio manager inside me waiting to get out.  I can’t look at one project out of context with how it affects the whole organization and its people.  I find that having a broader view helps each project be more successful.  The PMI program and project management standards don’t have all the wrinkles I’ve put into my philosophy, but they do explain why I was seeking more than what I found in the PMBOK.  While I’m a little embarrassed that I haven’t dug into these standards sooner, better late than never.  At my age, that phrase seems to be applying to a lot of things.

No more writing today.  I’m going to spend more time reading the PMI program and portfolio management standards.  PMI members can download them for free.  If you haven’t checked them out, you should at www.pmi.org.  Don’t wait.

Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2012 Glenn Briskin and “The Other Side of Risk”

5 thoughts on “Waiting for Program Management

  1. Hey, great post. Thank you for sharing your development. It’s a big help and an eye opener to me. Isn’t PM great, how you get to help improve people’s lives and keep growing yourself?


  2. There is so much available on the PMI.org website, every time I go there I find something new and useful. This is a great reminder to go there early on. Thanks Glenn.

  3. Glenn…PgMP standard is a good read, but i did not find it exhaustive enough. For e.g i did a piece on Benefits Realization and did not find exhaustive coverage in the PgMBOK. I hope they improve the book as PgM practice matures and becomes more mainstream like PMP.
    In case you are interested. You can read my article here: http://wp.me/p2ViEl-3e

    • Good article, Lokesh. Benefits realization is a hard area for organizations to adopt as it requires more discipline and a more systems oriented approach. I hope it will grow. We will have to keep using it and writing about it.

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