The Top 8 Program Management Best Practices

by PMWorld 360

If you’re a program manager, you know there’s more to the job than just overseeing project schedules and ensuring everyone is on task. A successful program manager is an expert at juggling multiple tasks simultaneously, staying organized, and communicating internally and externally with teams. In this blog post, we will discuss the top 8 project management practices that will help you easily manage multiple projects. We also cover the main program management phases and core processes. By following these tips, you’ll be able to run your programs more efficiently and effectively!

Here’s what we’re covering:

  • What is Program Management?
  • Program Management Phases
  • Program Management Best Practices
  • Effective Program Management Processes
  • How to implement a successful program management process
  • Tips for overcoming common challenges associated with program management

Let’s get to it!

What is Program Management?

Program Management is the art and science of directing, coordinating, and controlling multiple concurrent projects in a portfolio so they are completed on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards. Projects have become increasingly complex as organizations have become more globally connected and reliant on technology. This has led to the need for managers who can oversee individual projects and have the skill set necessary to take a holistic view of an entire program. com


The Three Main Phases of Program Management

There are three main phases of program management: initiation, planning, and execution.

  • Initiation: Initiation is when the program manager first develops the idea for the program and obtains approval from upper management. This is followed by developing a high-level plan and obtaining approvals from all stakeholders.
  • Planning: Planning is when the program manager creates a more detailed plan that includes all the tasks, resources, and timelines needed to complete the program. This is followed by obtaining approvals from all stakeholders and securing funding for the program.
  • Execution: Execution is when the program manager carries out the plan and manages all aspects of the program. This includes managing risks, resolving issues, and ensuring deliverables meet.

The three main phases of program management are initiation, planning, and execution. By following these best practices, program managers can ensure that their programs are successful.


Top 8 Program Management Best Practices

The top 8 project management best practices are:

1) Applying an Agile approach

In order to be successful, program managers need to be adaptable and able to apply an agile approach. The Agile Approach is a methodology that is focused on continuous delivery, collaboration, and customer feedback. Program managers need to be able to adapt to changing circumstances and be flexible in their approach.

2) Creating a program charter

A program charter is a document that outlines a program’s purpose, objectives, and goals. Program managers must create a charter to guide the team and keep them on track.

3) Building a program team

A successful program team is made up of individuals with different skill sets and backgrounds. Program managers need to build a diverse team that can work together effectively.

4) Developing a communication plan

Communication is key in any organization, but it is especially important in a programming environment. Program managers need to develop a communication plan that will ensure all stakeholders are kept up-to-date on the program’s progress.

5) Remote workforce

With the rise of technology, more and more employees are working remotely. Program managers need to be aware of the challenges of managing a remote workforce and implement strategies to overcome these challenges.

6) Use project management software

There are various project management software applications available that can help program managers manage their programs successfully. Some of the most popular applications include Microsoft Project, Adobe Creative Suite, and Atlassian Jira. This software will help the project manager and then the team effectively manage and track the program’s progress. The program management office will get much more detail on the individual software applications and how to use them.

7) Risk management

All programs have risks that need to be managed to ensure their success. Program managers must have a solid understanding of risk management to mitigate risks effectively. This will include managing the risks of project scope, schedule, and budget.

8) Change and task management

In any program, changes may be caused by projects failing or some other reason that needs to be made. Program managers need to have a process in place for managing change requests. They also must ensure that all tasks are completed on time and within budget. At the end of the day, program management is all about people and the project team. Program managers need to be able to build relationships and trust with their team members. They also need to be able to motivate and inspire their team to achieve success.

These are just a few of the many project management practices that should be followed to ensure a program’s success. By following these best practices in program management, program managers can set their programs up for success even during complexity.


5 Core Processes of Effective Program Management

To be an effective program manager, you need to master the five core processes of program management:

  • Initiation
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring and Controlling
  • Closing


The initiation process is where the program manager establishes the case for why the program should exist, obtains authorization to develop the program management plan, and assigns resources to begin work on the project.


The planning process is where the program manager creates the blueprint for how the program will be executed and monitored. This process includes developing the program management plan, which will guide all future decision-making throughout the program.


The execution process is where the program manager puts the plans into action and starts to deliver results. This process includes mobilizing resources, managing risks, and ensuring progress toward achieving the program’s objectives.

Monitoring and controlling

The monitoring and controlling process is where the program manager keeps track of progress, manages changes, and takes corrective action as necessary to ensure that the program remains on track. This process includes tracking milestones, maintaining communication with stakeholders, and ensuring that the program budget is being managed effectively.


The closing process is where the program manager completes all activities and formally closes the program. This process includes ensuring that all deliverables have been completed, documenting lessons learned, and archiving program records. These are the five core processes of effective program management. Mastering these processes will help you to manage any program successfully.


How to implement a successful program management process?

Now that you understand the three main phases of program management and the five core processes of effective program management, you may be wondering how to implement a successful program management process.

Here are a few tips:

  • Get buy-in from upper management: Without buy-in from upper management, it will be difficult to obtain the resources and funding needed to execute a program successfully.
  • Create a detailed plan: A detailed plan is essential for ensuring that all tasks, resources, and timelines are accounted for.
  • Communicate with all stakeholders: Stakeholder buy-in is essential for the success of any program. Keep stakeholders informed of progress and ensure that their concerns are being addressed.
  • Monitor progress and take corrective action as necessary: It is important to track milestones and take corrective action as needed to keep the program on track.
  • Document lessons learned: Documenting lessons learned is essential for continuous improvement. Learning from your mistakes can improve your chances of success in future programs.

Following these effective project management practices will help you manage any program successfully. By understanding the three main phases of program management and the five core processes of effective program management, you can ensure that your programs are successful.


Tips for overcoming common challenges associated with program management

There are a few common challenges that often come up in program management. Here are some tips on how to overcome them:

Staying organized and making effective use of time

With program management, it is crucial to stay organized and make effective use of your time. This can be accomplished by creating a detailed schedule or timeline for the project at hand and sticking to it as closely as possible. It is also important to delegate tasks among team members so that everyone clearly understands what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. Utilizing tools like project management software can also help you stay organized and on track.

Managing budgetary constraints

Another common challenge with program management is managing budgetary constraints. This can be difficult because there often must be a delicate balance between spending enough money to get the job done right and not overspending. A good way to manage this is by setting a budget at the beginning of the project and then adhering to it as closely as possible. It is also important to keep track of all expenditures so that you can report to upper management where the money is being spent and why.

Dealing with stakeholder expectations

Yet another common challenge is dealing with stakeholder expectations. This can be tricky because stakeholders often have different ideas about what the project should entail and how it should be carried out. It is important to manage expectations from the beginning by setting realistic goals and objectives for the project.

It is also important to keep stakeholders updated on the project’s progress and involve them in decision-making whenever possible. Following these tips can overcome some of the most common challenges associated with program management. Of course, managing projects is different, and you may encounter other challenges along the way.

As a program manager, it is essential to always look for ways to improve your process and increase efficiency. By following the best practices discussed in this blog post, you will be well on your way to managing multiple projects successfully. Do you have any other tips or tricks for managing multiple projects? Share them with us in the comments below!


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