Evans Incorporated

Thrive in Five: Ensuring Program Success and Sustainability

Thrive in Five
Evans Incorporated’s 25 Year Anniversary is approaching, so we’re taking the next few months to reflect on where we are currently and what’s to come! This includes highlighting one of our areas of specialization per month through September. The focus for the month of August is Program Management Optimization.

Most people hear PMO and think “Project Management Office,” but in this Thrive in Five, we’re going to take a different spin on it and talk about Program Management Optimization. Program Management Optimization is critical for maximizing the potential of an organization’s change programs while decreasing costs, increasing efficiency and ensuring program success. We’ll cover what the process entails, so you can start to identify where you can make adjustments and help your programs reach their maximum potential.

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Program Management Optimization

Program Management Optimization is all about… no hidden meanings here… optimizing your program! This means setting up all your programs in a way that makes them as efficient and “bump free” as possible. An optimized program is a well-oiled machine where everyone understands their role, teams collaborate effectively, and risk is proactively mitigated.

At Evans, our focus on Program Management Optimization revolves around a few key aspects:

  1. Project Management Office Assessment
  2. Proactive Risk & Opportunity Management
  3. Stakeholder Collaboration

Most organizations have a Project Management Office, but few are intentional in what type of governance and support it should provide, and even fewer assess how well it performs its functions. Evans’ PMO Assessment will help you realize where the gaps are between your current state and your desired state. This gap analysis is crucial for generating action that allows all your projects to deliver to their real potential.

When you understand your risks, steps can be taken to mitigate them, increasing the program’s chance for success and optimization. Evans provides a proactive, human-centered risk management approach for clients that may be customized to best meet their unique organizational culture and environment. This approach goes beyond relying upon checking procedural boxes, but instead rests upon a foundation of active participation and transparency. After understanding how the program is really functioning and identifying risks, the Evans risk management approach helps optimize programs by identifying opportunities.

Whether it’s clearly defining roles and responsibilities, setting up clear communication lines, or refining and simplifying processes, your program will run smoother when you have an approach for stakeholder management. Evans’ stakeholder engagement is the entire process of identifying, assessing, and collaborating with stakeholders to meet their needs and foster positive involvement in a project. The primary method of stakeholder engagement is communication, and for this reason, it is vital that communication occurs in a timely and clear manner, keeping stakeholders informed, interested, and (ideally) enthusiastic.

Apply the Five!

Take a step back and look at the big picture. While this is an excellent best practice for any scenario to ensure that alignment still exists between the day-to-day work and goals, this is especially important when deciding if any changes need to be made.

Think about how things are going:

  • Do you know how your PMO is performing – is it delivering to meet the organization’s real needs?
  • Do you manage your project against an established baseline for cost and schedule?
  • Do you have standard risk responses or do you customize to the specifics?
  • Does your project embrace a risk management culture and leverage it to identify opportunities?
  • Have you identified the stakeholders critical to your project’s success and are you intentional in regards to managing the relationships?

These are just a few questions to help you realize if something needs to change. If you answered no to any of them, it might be time to make some adjustments. Some might be simple and only affect one area of a specific project, but some might challenge how you structure and run your PMO. Hopefully we’ve laid the foundation to help you make that call!

Learn How Evans Thrives!

What better way to inspire you to thrive than to hear about real people making it happen? And what better way to learn about Evans than to make those real people Evans employees and partners?

Meet Richard Hudson!

Sticking with the theme of planning and management, Richard has been an enthusiastic diver
for the last 30 years and the guidance of “Plan Your Dive and Dive Your Plan”
has stuck with him through his professional life.

As someone who works with organizations to ensure they realize the benefits from their investment in change, my approach is grounded in the fundamentals of planning a pro-active management. I have been fortunate to dive all around the world, and just like projects, no two dives are the same. For this reason, when planning a dive, you can take nothing for granted. There may be a stronger current, a bigger swell and the visibility may be terrible. This all impacts how much air you need, how long you can stay down and how you avoid losing your buddy. You need a plan, but you also need to assess risks to ensure you have a response when things go wrong. It is well known in diving that most incidents start from a simple issue that is allowed to get out of hand.

Many of the things on my checklist for a dive are applicable when planning a project:

  • What assumptions have gone into estimating the cost?
  • Will the resource plan provide the expertise needed to deliver to schedule?
  • What risks do you need to pro-actively manage?
  • If a risk transpires, do you have a response ready to mitigate the impact?
  • Who do you need to engage to ensure success, and are you nurturing their interest and involvement?

Until Next Time…
The Evans Thrive Team
(Nicole, Kaitlin, Laura, Bob, and Sean)

Employees thrive when they are involved, mentored, challenged, promoted, paid well, appreciated, valued, on a mission, empowered, and trusted.
(This image was adapted from a commonly shared internet image.)

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