Learning the Program Life Cycle

Programs operate similarly to projects in that they have defined objectives, deliver benefits, and are eventually closed; however, programs involve orchestrating and sequencing multiple components beyond individual project levels. The activities within the program life cycle are tailored to the specific program type, often starting before funding approval or the assignment of a program manager, requiring significant effort before formal definition and approval.

Throughout program delivery, components are authorized, planned, executed, and benefits are realized. Program closure is approved by the steering committee upon benefit realization or a decision that aligns with the organization’s strategy.

Programs, often spanning extended timeframes, follow a consistent trajectory, implementing five core phases for successful benefit delivery:

  • Initiating: Begin the program by creating a charter, clarifying scope, defining milestones, and establishing roles and responsibilities.
  • Planning: Develop detailed program scope, create a work breakdown structure, set up program management plans and schedules, optimize resource allocation, define measurement criteria for success, and plan for issues and closure.
  • Executing: Launch constituent projects, maintain uniform standards, facilitate communication, lead human resources, monitor project managers’ performance, execute program management plans, and consolidate program data.
  • Controlling: Analyze variances and trends, update plans, manage program-level issues and changes, assess impacts, and oversee risk management to ensure benefits realization.
  • Closing: Evaluate program performance, gain stakeholder approval for closure, execute transition/close-out plans, conduct post-review meetings, report lessons learned, and archive knowledge for future programs.

NOTE: Merely practicing question answering won’t suffice for PgMP exam preparation. Questions are meant for self-assessment and acquainting yourself with exam question types. Concentrate on effective study methods such as reading The Standard for Program Management, utilizing various learning resources like books, videos, mock exams, reviewing Knowledge Maps, and addressing gaps in your program management expertise.

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