NCC launches project framework

Prince, SSADM and about 70 other widely employed project management methodologies fall down when applied to programme management...

Prince, SSADM and about 70 other widely employed project management methodologies fall down when applied to programme management because they do not engage with or provide connectivity to the business.

That is why, in a bid to improve the overall standard of IT programmes, the Manchester-based National Computing Centre this month launched a major new framework for programme management.

The result is a collaborative framework that helps programme managers incorporate business objectives; ensure acceptability to the board; and to allow for the unpredictability of people.

Since last October the NCC has been working with several organisations, especially the DSDM Consortium, as well as many people from user and supplier companies, consultancies and government to build this framework.

Called Advanced Dynamic Programme Management, this new programme management framework presents a very different view of the world to that of traditional methodologies.

Its basic philosophy is to reconcile three different approaches to change on change projects.

The NCC's Alan Cumberland said chief executive officers view change in terms of vision and strategy, whereas IT directors perceive it in terms of people, process, and technology and project managers in terms of implementation and products to deliver.

The new ADPM framework addresses this issue in three ways:

l It stresses that ownership of programmes of projects must be with the business throughout. Return on investment thinking is fundamental, as is alignment to the business requirements of the organisation

l ADPM's framework for execution is pitched as a guide not as a straitjacket, accepting that no two programmes will be the same. The key is to ensure incremental delivery of business benefits

l Finally, ADPM recognises that people are at the core of any programme for change, and that change does not happen in a vacuum. It holds that synergistic behaviour is critical to success, but warns that the change team itself is challenged by change and uncertainty for their own careers on completion of the project.

Effective communication within and around the programme is therefore vital, said Cumberland.

"About 5%-6% of the overall budget should go to developing synergies and building relationships," he said.

Of that 5%-6%, 60% should be within the programme delivery team; 30% to the core stakeholder community, and a further 10% to the wider business community.

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