Many years ago now, in the late 1990s, I was still working at Deloitte Consulting, in the Programme Leadership team, based in the London office. As a team, we felt like we were leading the the development of Programme Management ideas in the UK, creating frameworks, tools and methodologies. It was an exciting time and clients were interested in applying the new concepts.
I recall even then wanting to write and I approached one colleague, Rex, with the idea of collaborating on a book about programme management. We had similar idea, but different sets of experience and I thought we’d make a great collaboration. Rex was wiser than I (he once made a throwaway remark that transformed my whole attitude to one component of team leadership) and pointed out one salient fact…
If we authored a book while employed by Deloitte, we would not own it; Deloitte would. And so ended that project, strangled before birth, like so many good but impractical ideas.
Roll forward nearly 20 years…
I recently got sent a book to review, that took my fancy. Transforming Business with Program Management, by Satish P Subramanian is a good book. Indeed, if I were to write a book on program management today, I suspect it would look a little like this one in many ways. Let me re-assure Satish and his publishers, though: I neither intend to write one, nor would I look to pinch his stuff if I did!
So why do I liken this book to the one I might have written? Because it does what I like to do with many of my books: it takes a wide overview of a big subject and it packs in a lot of ideas in an easy to read and understand way. It doesn’t go deeply into its subject, but it does offer some deep insights. It has a strong and clear structure, it is well illustrated with helpful diagrams, and offers plenty of practical and pragmatic advice. In short, it is the ideal book to introduce the ideas of program management. I’d certainly recommend it to anyone new to the discipline, or finding their way and wanting a good framework to sharpen their understanding and fill in the gaps.
What I like best about Satish’s book is that it covers topics well, which I believe need more emphasis in books like this: sponsorship and governance. They each get their own chapter among 12 (ten really, as Ch 1 is an Executive Overview and Ch 12 is an Executive Summary). On the flip side, I find the section on stakeholder engagement a little thin, but then maybe that is because it is a primary subject for me.
There is some good stuff on program vision, strategy and architecture, but I would like to have seen something on portfolio selection. Benefits, change and risk management all get some air-time, as do program leadership and communications. I would, however, liked to have found something on capability development for the program organisation and team.
All in all though, this is an excellent book and I must also give credit to Satish’s publishers, CRC Press, who have supported him well with good quality paper and colour print diagrams that make this hardback a pleasure to handle (I don’t do eBooks). I’m now looking with some envy at heir other titles!
Transforming Business with Program Management: Integrating Strategy, People, Process, Technology, Structure, and Measurement.
Satish P Subramanian
CRC Press, 2015
Table of Contents
- Executive Overview
- Success Starts Upfront: Describe the Problem Accurately
- Articulate the Program Vision and Objectives
- Secure Cross Functional Executive Sponsorship
- Develop and Implement a Governance Model
- Define Success, Outcomes, and Key Value Indicators
- Invest in Planning and Creating an Integrated Approach
- Drive Strong Partnership and Stakeholder Engagement
- Provide Leadership Across All Levels
- Monitor Aggressively and Have Contingencies
- Create and Implement an Operations Transition Plan
- Executive Summary