How to create and unearth more benefits with program management

by Mustafa Hafızoglu
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Philip Kotler, the guru of marketing, defined the purpose of marketing as the process of making people happier and more satisfied, in his speech at the World Marketing Summit in Istanbul in December 2018. Moreover, he suggested that creating a purpose for clients lets them know we care about society. This is why companies should not only focus on profit but also on people and the planet in the new economy. Can this new perspective of marketing lead to the creation of new opportunities for programs?

Since a program manager’s focus should be on delivering benefits while managing related projects, how can they capture more benefits, even benefits that may not have been considered at the beginning of the program? The answer may be to focus on people and the planet as well as the profit.

Focus on people

Project managers are often faced with various kinds of conflicts when managing their projects with their teams. These conflicts may arise from project priorities, administrative procedures, performance trade-offs, resources, costs, scheduling issues, or even interpersonal issues. Program managers can support project managers by managing these conflicts by suggesting various alternative solutions that may not have been within the scope of a project. For example,  a team member is having difficulty working with other team members can be assigned to another project team within the program. Another example could involve the sharing of resources such as people or machines; program managers can help reduce the costs of projects by using excess resources from one project on other projects. This sharing will also increase the motivation of the people that have a lower workload in a project. An intangible benefit for the program…

This means not only focusing on the people working actively within the project, it also means focusing on all the stakeholders even the ones that have an indirect effect on the project. In one of my programs, one of my project managers came to me with a conflict. His subcontractor lost some parts sent by my project manager but, the subcontractor denies she got the parts. The documents did not provide a clear indication as to who was right. In another example, one of the projects under my program was in need of some skills of the same subcontractor. Presenting this new opportunity to the subcontractor helped the quick solution of the conflict.

Passion… you can’t imagine what benefits can emerge with passionate people. If your people wake up each morning and have, somewhere in their heads and hearts, a desire to move your project toward its goals, get ready to be surprised with the unexpected benefits.  

Focus on the planet

Projects aim to deliver a product, result, or service. How to execute your project as well as the usage and effects of its deliverables may directly or indirectly affect our planet, namely the environment, animals, etc. Program managers that are able to focus on identifying benefits just for the sake of our planet may create unexpected opportunities for the organization since the new marketing perspective reveals that in the future, consumers and clients will prefer the organizations that show that they care about our planet.

Sustainability is the emerging term used to mention the importance of this move towards economic prosperity (profit), environmental protection (planet), and social equity (people). Sustainability in project management will also result in more benefits for programs.

Have you ever thought about how your projects and programs can save our planet, motivate people and influence them? You should care if you want your organization to be living in the future!


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