Program Management

Adequate program management has always been the key to a program’s/project’s success. As one of the principal business control systems, the challenge has been to find the right level of control; too much and it stifles productivity and  hits ROI, too little and you lose control and profits drop. I found this most apparent when talking with one company that was managing via Agile, while some aspects were working as expected by adding and changing features to meet the customer’s goals, thus maintaining end product value, they were consistently exceeding the customer’s budget and, unfortunately, finding out: finances trump engineering most time.

Customers are becoming more sophisticated in program management and Require disciplined execution – R&D/Startup management not acceptable once a company professes level 2 Capability Maturity Model (CMM).

My approach for addressing the standard program management elements are to evaluate and tailor PM processes and tools as the stakeholders require.

Program Management Elements

  • Integration Management
  • Scope Management
  • Time Management
  • Cost Management
  • Quality Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Communications Management
  • Risk Management
  • Procurement Management

Program Definition: Derived from Stakeholder direction.

  • Customer contract: Ts & Cs, SOW, Technical Specification.
  • Company ISO requirements
  • Program negotiations, reviews and official communications

Program Management Tools

  • Program schedule/time control using MS Project
  • Cost control using MS Excel
  • Production materials control using Material Resource Planning (MRP) software
  • Program Documentation: Requirements, Design Reviews, Periodic reporting, etc.


  • Requirements compliance reports
  • Program Design/Performance Reviews
  • QA plan that adheres to ISO/Contract requirements
  • Program Status Reporting
  • Factory Acceptance Test / Site Acceptance Test
  • Procurement/Supplier Approval and Records

Project Management

  • Project Plan
    • Work Breakdown Structure
    • Task Allocation
    • Milestones (clear, unambiguous targets of what, by when)
  • Design
    • Requirement definition and system flow-down
    • Interface control definition
    • Formal contract compliance


  • Program gated milestone lifecycle
  • Lean Six-Sigma
  • Process management
  • Formal Systems engineering
  • Engineering Effectiveness

PM mechanics

PM colage