Program Charter & Management
It is symantically important to understand the difference between a Program & a Project. Projects are all rolled-up into an overarching Program as seen in the following example:
- Program Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) Roll-out
- Project1 Demographic Analysis
- Project2 Product development (analysis & definition)
- Project3 Wireless Radio Access Network (RAN) design & deployment
- Project4 Network Operating Center (NOC) design & deployment
- Project5 Points of Presence (POP) designs & deployment
- Project6 Customer Premises equipment (CPE) design
Each program on your roadmap should start with a charter that gives your expectations & success factors for the project. In addition to its value as a planning tool, the project charter provides much of the input to the statement of work/service level agreements (SLA) & provides the foundation required for effective project management.
The program charter includes:
- An explicit statement of the program scope, assumptions, and constraints
- A project justification statement detailing:
- How the program aligns with and advances your corporate strategy
- The success factors for the program & each subsequent project & how they will be tracked & measured
- A cost-benefits analysis that includes the project budgets & full exposure of all hidden costs
- An organizational plan that gives the composition, roles, & responsibilities (see RACI, left) of your onshore & offshore project teams
- A requirements management plan that details how requirements are to be created & shared with the offshore team
- A change management plan for all aspects of the project including requirements, scope, transition, & project logistics
- All resource requirements for the projects including the version control system, bug tracking system, & other required software licenses & hardware
- A communication plan that details:
- The schedule of all regular meetings, their agendas, & the required attendees
- The communication channels to be used & how communications will be tracked
- All status reporting & feedback mechanisms
- A training plan consisting of:
- The knowledge transfer plan and content
- The cultural intelligence training programs for the onshore & offshore project teams
- A work breakdown plan for all stages of all projects including requirements definition, design, development, quality assurance, delivery & acceptance testing
- A detailed risk assessment & mitigation plan. A high-level view of this should already reside in the strategic assessment
- The quality assurance plan detailing:
- The criteria, methods & procedures to be used to control quality during development, integration testing & acceptance testing
- How defects are to be tracked & communicated between the teams
- A review process that enables each team to benefit from improvements discovered by the other
- The project schedule with explicit, measurable milestones
The Program charter provides a framework for managing the projects. The program manager is charged with ensuring that the project teams adhere to all of its provisions & that all project milestones are met. Some aspects of the charter, especially requirements definition & change management, require special attention. Even experienced project managers may need mentoring & guidance from the Program Management to successfully make the transition to globally distributed development & delivery.
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As background: The RACI methodology is a matrix of roles in any given project. RACI is actually an acronym:
- Responsible - Those who do work to achieve the task. There can be multiple resources responsible.
- Accountable - The resource ultimately accountable for the completion of the task. There must be exactly one A specified for each task.
- Consulted - Those whose opinions are sought. Two-way communication.
- Informed - Those who are kept up-to-date on progress. One-way communication.