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STAMFORD, Conn., May 22, 2014 View All Press Releases

Gartner Says Correct Categorization Is Key to IT Program Management

Use Gartner's Five-Type Framework to Reduce Risk, Enhance Oversight and Improve Success Rates

Analysts Will Examine How to Use the Framework at the Gartner Program and Portfolio Management (PPM) & IT Governance Summits 2014, June 2-4 in National Harbor, Maryland and June 9-10 in London, U.K.

The ability to categorize IT programs and assign them appropriate tactics, skills and resources is critical to the generation of positive outcomes, according to Gartner, inc. Programs that are not properly categorized are significantly more likely to run over budget, to fall short of one or more of the intended objectives, or to fail completely.

"The adage 'the right tool for the right job' is every bit as appropriate to IT programs as it is to carpentry or plumbing," said Michael Hanford, research vice president at Gartner. "Understanding different program types, the characteristics, requirements and benefits involved, and how they should be applied to meet different organizational, structural or governance needs is too often neglected in the early stages of planning."

To help program managers categorize their programs and plan accordingly, Gartner has identified five types of program:

Figure 1. Five Program Types

Source: Gartner (April 2014)

  • Bottom-up: Multiple projects that are recognized — after they have started — as part of a larger set of problems and as sharing dependencies. They are then assembled into a single program for better control and avoidance of redundancy.
  • Change-oriented: These programs are generally triggered by a high-level need for major change. They normally encompass multiple initiatives that may or may not be formally assembled into a program.
  • Policy-driven: This type of program is unique to government and the public or public service sectors, including government, social, charitable and nongovernmental organizations. A policy-driven program typically enables provision of a law, regulation or defined service — and continues until canceled or no longer funded.
  • Outcome-driven: These programs are driven by a concept of, or a vision for, a product, service or generally identified set of results, or to address a specific need. The concept, program contents and required results evolve naturally during program execution.
  • Transformational: These programs represent an effort that transcends the organization's current vision and its recent history and direction. They usually represent reinventions of one or more aspects of the organization's functions, services, culture, markets or products.

"There's much more to this than simply comparing the characteristics of a proposed program to Gartner's five types and selecting the best fit," said Mr. Hanford. "It's important to educate other business and IT leaders and give them an effective organizational process to select the right program type to drive success. It is equally important to create and execute an early step in any program startup that selects a program type and validates it through leadership consensus building."

Although this introduces an extra step to the startup process for programs, it is upfront work that can go a long way toward avoiding some of the root causes of program failure, such as incorrect or poor governance and ineffective change management.

More detailed analysis is available in "Ensure That Your Approach Really Drives Program Success by Selecting One of Gartner's Five Program Types," a report available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/doc/2716219.

Gartner analysts will discuss this approach to IT program management at Gartner's PPM & IT Governance Summits 2014, which will be held on 2-4 June  in National Harbor, Maryland, and 9-10 June  in London, U.K. For information on the Maryland Summit, please visit www.gartner.com/us/ppm. For information on the London Summit, please visit www.gartner.com/eu/ppm. You will also be able to follow the event on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Gartner_inc using #GartnerPPM.

About the Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summits 2014

The Summits will focus on improving the way organizations select, implement and manage IT initiatives and services. Gartner analysts will help delegates build an "activist" organization for enterprise project management — one that accelerates delivery times while keeping resources focused on fewer projects to increase efficiency. Delegates will also learn how to prove the value of their deliverables using meaningful metrics, and discover new techniques for engaging with the business and implementing change.

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Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. We deliver the technology-related insight necessary for our clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, we are the valuable partner to clients in over 9,000 distinct enterprises worldwide. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, and has 6,400 associates, including more than 1,480 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 85 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

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