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Include the Programme Management Office lead as part of the programme leadership team so they get the right messages, direction, context of decisions and can more effectively support the Programme Management Office and by extension, the programme.

The Programme Management Office lead should be focused on delivery not strategy and should have a similar expectation of the whole Programme Management Office team.

Recruit the right people for the job, set high standards and retain the key members of the team if you can, to maintain continuity and knowledge.

Have an organisation structure with clear roles and responsibilities. Work out what needs to be managed and by who and help the wider programme team understand who the go-to person should be.

Clear definition of the Programme Coordinator role in particular allowed coordinators to get on with their own work, in a comparable way, while embedded in their workstream teams.

Having a dedicated tools team within the Programme Management Office to provide support and training on programme management tools to all programme members, for example JIRA and SharePoint, facilitated the smooth running of the transformation programme.

Including Programme Coordinators in the testing and set up of the new project tools – JIRA and SharePoint - worked well. It helped build their capability and their ability to train and assist others in their workstreams.

Be adaptive and pragmatic, support and respect each other’s skills.


Establish and maintain a governance framework and terms of reference. Tailor governance to fit the stage / phase of the programme.

Create a framework that supports the use of tools, workflows and processes, with agreed terminology, nomenclature, conventions, governance hierarchies and processes.

Establish the framework, controls and methods early on and follow them but be adaptable when it makes sense to make changes. The use of framework became fundamental to how we organised work and work streams and dictated the structure of the team.

Set up forums to manage and provide visibility of critical areas, for example risk and finance meetings. Risks were reviewed every fortnight at the programme leadership team meeting, however a standalone risk meeting was held monthly, attended by the full programme leadership team as the owners of the risks.

Expect governance to evolve and adapt over the length of the programme. Learn from your mistakes and be open to learning. If something works well in one workstream, consider adopting it in other areas.

Be flexible and adaptive, with a view towards continuous improvement and a focus on outcomes.


Ensure the key programme processes created by the Programme Management Office have visible endorsement from the top, to encourage people to respect and stick to them.

Have clear and well managed processes so everyone knows what to do or not do, especially in key areas such as:

  • programme change requests (PCRs),
  • deliverables,
  • schedules,
  • risks and issues.

Communicate them clearly, with regular follow ups to make sure they are being followed and are understood.

On a large transformation programme, on-boarding and off-boarding takes up a significant amount of time. It requires efficient consistent processes to ensure new staff can start work on their first day with everything they need (logon, laptop, access to tools and so on).

Having the right project management tools – in our case JIRA and SharePoint– allowed information to be integrated across the programme.

Standardise documentation across the programme workstreams by creating templates where possible. Also creates efficiencies through reuse or adaption.

Assigning responsibilities for collating and communicating updates to Programme Management Office documentation proved an effective use of time.

Document management

Take the use of metadata to identify documentation seriously and support all document owners to do likewise. Without this, it can be extremely hard to relocate documents over a multi-year transformation.

Create standards around the use and maintenance of documents and have a process for version control, especially for key artifacts. For example:

  • only have one copy of a document
  • encourage the use of links to documents for reference rather than taking a copy
  • if using an existing document as the basis for a new document change the title.

In addition to managing and retaining documents considered to be deliverables – decide early on what other documents will become key artefacts and ensure they are identified and managed right from the start.

Resource management

If resource management is handled within the Programme Management Office, setting up a robust, straightforward process which people leaders will follow and stick to is essential.

Advertise jobs internally before you go to market. This helps ensure a good mix of internal and external resources on the programme at any one time.

Set up standard role profiles for use within the programme, to simplify recruitment and ensure clarity. If people leave, you need to know the precise role you are recruiting for and be certain of the number of people already doing that job.

Last updated: 23 Mar 2022
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