Program Management Software is the coordination of several related projects and programs to achieve an organization’s goals and objectives.
Program management aims at creating benefits to organization with synergy from co-management of multiple projects. A program plan is concerned more with benefits than deliverables.
Program management includes three dimensions. The first dimension covers:
- Strategy alignment
- Benefits management
- Stakeholder engagement
- Life cycle management
The second dimension of program management involves:
- Benefits identification
- Benefits analysis and planning
- Benefits delivery
- Benefits transition
- Benefits sustainment
The third dimension of program management involves:
- Program definition
- Program formulation
- Program planning
- Program delivery
- Authorization and planning
- Oversight and integration
- Transition and closure
- Program closure
Managing a program is hard, but it is even more difficult if you’re jumping from project to project to gather data. To keep up, you need robust Program management software. The question is, what kind should you go for? The major challenge is to use the best program management tools for fruitful results.
Strong program management tools are needed for successful program management and to manage complex programs. Many online project management software options are available in market and these have become ever more sophisticated over past few years. It is cumbersome to choose the best from many. For good program management tools, required for determining factors that affects it. Let us look at the five key factors a software tool must have, which enables the longevity of Project Management Software:
- Define links between the related projects or subprograms
- Enable bottom-up and top-down Communication
- Define clear data responsibilities and saves time
- Establish an early warning system
- Integrate with existing enterprise applications such as ERP, CRM, HRMS, Engineering, Accounting, and others.
1: Defining the link between the related projects or subprograms
While managing a program, the exchange of information on timelines, work progress, cost, etc. across related project or subprogram is very important. Online project management software should provide transparent information very easily and it should not be complex to interpret.
Links between tasks in different projects should be easily manageable. A user should be able to mirror tasks or link data about the existing tasks to their schedule. Stakeholders should easily view other details about linked task, which are important. There should be a functionality to choose between different types of links.
The link between projects gives the project manager and stakeholder a good basis for decision-making. This gives a clear picture of deliverables between projects. This will increase transparency in project management.
2: Enable Bottom-Up and Top-Down Communication
Miscommunication can cause some negative organizational effects. Sharing wrong information has a tremendous negative effect on bottom line of organization. Bottom-up communication revolves around the inclusion of all employees, their ideas, and their perceptions of business to make most informed decisions. And top-down approach to assess, determine, and implement business decisions made by upper executives.
Program management software should help to improve collaboration and increase work velocity. Program management tools should make easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping team to be more effective. It should provide key metrics and get real-time visibility with reports, dashboards, and workflows.
Program management software should take the pain out of progress updates. Program management software should provide templates with enhanced collaboration features to aid program managers with planning and communication. These program management templates help to plan in both approaches.
Program management dashboard should help to view a clear picture by providing health overview, interdependent task status, and summary of progress, and schedule status, workload, and budget performance over baseline.
3: Give Clear Data Responsibilities and Time Saving
To find a balance between these two aspects of program, program management tools need to have better, leaner, cleaner data, which means better analytics, which means better decisions, which means better results.
Security is important when managing a program. Program management tools should give program managers to share projects but keep program private. You can decide who gets access and if they can view or edit. Stakeholders can be given access, but project manager can also feed them filtered data to show them just what they want to see, with one-click reporting on status, variance, etc.
Software should allow the project manager and the program manager to know what everyone on the team is working on, across the entire program and projects. Facility to identify, categorize, and track teams, supplies, equipment, and every other resource. And online project management software should help to meet deadlines by knowing how much time teams are putting into their tasks.
Online project management software should collect historical data to see what was profitable and give a high-level look at the program status, tasks, timelines, etc. Program management templates will help to implement best project management processes to deliver projects on time and within budget.
Through Program management dashboard higher management and program stakeholder get one view which updates on team’s progress and keep track of the overall program.
4: Establishing an early warning system
Program Management tools should provide different analysis which will make easy and beneficial to control program. For that online software should give an early warning basis on different analysis and project management templates.
The information collected from related projects should be compared with targets and identify variance over the course of time as well as need for action in case of delay. The ability to react quickly can be crucial. Possible information on results, deliveries, and states could be achievement of milestones, completion of phase, % completion, acceptance of deliveries planned, etc. given by program management tools.
Online project management software should give notification above a threshold value. It should answer to decision maker’s questions. This will make stakeholder adjust their further actions to results. Program management dashboards should be used as tools that enable alert mechanisms in real-time.
Early warning system should provide the answer to the following questions:
- What is the overall status of program?
- What is the overall status of individual projects?
- What is the availability of team members?
- Is Resource available for other projects?
- How far are we from the goal?
Staying on top of progress and changes is key to managing a program. Getting notifications promptly ensures that they won’t get lost in shuffle and lets a program manager stay informed and in control. Program management tools should enable to update both by email alerts and in-app notifications. And facility to manage emails to alert of comments, updates, etc. The software should provide templates for notification which should be aligned with standard program management templates.
5: Integrating External Partners
Program Management Software should enable the combination of various software tools from different sub-projects. A solution like this can save time and effort. This will make it possible to increase the efficiency and quality of work across different applications.
Program management tools should provide the bi-directional data exchange between systems via an automated interface. Online project management software should have features that enable API integration for further customization.
Program management tools should provide seamless integration with most common available program and portfolio management tools. Program management tools should enable editing and share files and data without any hassles.
Program management software should provide integration of function, data, and business process which should give the following benefits:
- Related project and subprogram’s task should be simplified and provide end to end project management process.
- Prevent duplicate data of entry and save administrative time.
- An automatic synchronization enables improved data quality and verification process.
TouchBase PPM is designed to help organizations manage projects and programs like a breeze. Try it and you would be asking for more!