Programme management in a VUCA world
Blog posted by: Chris Carter, Principal, orgshift solutions inc, 27 April 2023.
The world, in whichever period, has always been volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA).
However, in the context of externalities that affect organizations’ transformation plans, programme management provides one of the most important responses: understanding the wider environment, such as business sector and geography, and balancing the internal and external pressures that threaten change.
A good programme manager is aware of this and includes it in their planning and execution of a change programme.
But without having a clear understanding of the differences between running projects, programmes, and portfolios, organizations risk creating their own VUCA conditions.
While projects are about outputs (creating something tangible like a new system, a building, or trained staff) a programme is about business outcomes: what do you do with the new capabilities created by projects and how envisioned business changes leverage those capabilities to do business differently.
At the programme level, you are managing a different level of detail to projects, which needs a steadier and defter hand and different level of expertise. This is because you’re dealing with uncertainty, living with not knowing everything all the time and choosing where you should apply energies to be effective, with a particular attention to risk and how you manage it.The competency for programme management is tough; even more so in the VUCA world.
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