Gartner Research

Steer Clear of Common Program Management Train Wrecks

Published: 14 September 2016

ID: G00315641

Analyst(s): Michael Hanford


Major programs are expensive, yet many still get delayed or derailed due to lapses in institutional memory and repetition of bad practices. Program and portfolio management (PPM) leaders must remind project managers, stakeholders and sponsors of potential train wreck scenarios to avoid.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Challenges



  • Limit the Core Decision-Making Group to No More Than Seven
    • Case Study: Too Many Captains Steering the Boat
    • Recommendations
  • Define a Program Manager Profile With Both General Qualifications and Those Specific to the Program the Person Will Manage
    • Case Study: Everyman as Program Manager
    • Recommendations
  • Conduct Periodic Reviews of the Program Direction, Expectations and Links to the Organizational Goals and Strategy
    • Case Study: Expectations That Freeze in Place
    • Recommendations
  • Face Facts When Your Providers Fail to Deliver, and Don't Throw Good Money After Bad
    • Case Study: Your Service Provider "Prince" Is Really a "Frog"
    • Recommendations
  • Draft an Approach to the Program, and Carry Out Short-Cycle Validation Iterations to Collect Feedback and Improve the Approach
    • Case Study: The Plan Can't Be Wrong
    • Recommendations
  • Require Sponsors to Acknowledge Approved Change Impact
    • Case Study: Is Change a Pebble or a Boulder?
    • Recommendations
  • Iteratively Require Executive "Go/No Go" Decisions Around Program Value
    • Case Study: Confusing Value for Health

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