Explore a number of scenarios that indicate when it is appropriate to close a program, including when it happens prematurely.
- Knowing when to close a program can be tricky because it doesn't always have a time-dependent end date like a project. In fact, not all programs will end naturally. So how do we know when to close a program? Let's take a look at some of the signs that indicate the program is ready to close. There are two ways in which this can happen, planned or prematurely. First, let's look at the signs of a planned closure. A couple of obvious signs are that the vision and target operating model have been achieved. The organization recognizes that the future state is a reality and that the work on the gap has been completed. It's also noticed that the outcomes and many of the expected benefits have also been realized as part of the program. The important question to ask now would be, how much more work needs to be carried out on benefits realization before we're satisfied that we no longer need a program team to actively track these. If the answer is very little, and the benefits are now self-sustaining, this is an indication that the program can close. Another indication is that the last phase of the program is completing. In some programs, this is enough to close. But in others, there may still be a period of time for transition and benefits measurement to take place before closing. And finally, there are no significant outstanding risks and issues for the program, and therefore, there is no need to keep the program team in place. Now the signs of a premature closure are different. The most obvious one is that the program has no justification or the business case does not stack up. Another sign could be the inability to secure funding to complete the work. Some programs take years to complete. So the external circumstances may have changed and the program is no longer relevant. This is common when there's a change in government or legislation. It's also possible that corporate strategy may change, meaning the program is no longer needed. And then we have the 80/20 rule, which shows that 80% of the work is required to achieve 20% of the benefits, which doesn't make any financial sense. And finally, sometimes we find that the outcomes are being achieved through another program or change. In each of these cases, the program should be stopped. After evaluation, they may start up again or be amalgamated with another program, but the key thing is not to just carry on with them without this evaluation. So make sure you're keeping watch at the signs that indicate when it's time to close the program and take stock of what has been achieved.
- Recognize three elements of a program.
- Recall the information provided by the target operating model (TOM).
- Identify the phase in which the program business case is reviewed.
- Name the major factor used to decide what constitutes each phase in a program.
- Summarize the role of a project manager.
- Detail the responsibilities of the sponsoring group.
- Explain what the completion of the post-transition activities provides for a program.