Six tips to help you adapt to the new program management environment

Six tips to help you adapt to the new program management environment

How do you adapt to the new program management environment?

2020 was a year of upheaval for programs, services and initiatives, with the ripple effects being felt in the program management environment, into 2021 and beyond. Did you inherit an established program, or did your program (or job!) move to a new Department at short notice due to the Machinery of Government changes? Perhaps the focus of your program has completely changed, or you are developing new programs in record time, or you have been thrown into entirely new areas and programs.

It’s a big change. You’d be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed, confused or uncertain about what you need to do next and where your priorities lay. Regardless of whether you’ve just inherited a program, established something new or are trying to work out where your program fits in this new environment, we’re here to help you break it down.

Here are six things to keep in mind to get you started.

1. Understand your program environment

We know you’re busy, but take some time to research and keep up to date with any changes in your sector, including new initiatives that may be stood up. It is important that you understand and respond to any changes that will affect your program. This includes identifying where new or existing initiatives intersect with your program to avoid duplication.

2. Plan for your program

Regardless of what else is happening, it is always critical to plan for your program and ensure you are set up for success. As a program manager, ensure you have an agreed understanding of why your program exists (the need), what it is trying to achieve (the objectives) and how it will get there (the theory of change). Establishing, revising and updating your program logic diagram is a useful tool to ensure everyone is on the same page and you have a clear direction.

3. Focus on your program delivery approach

With so many logistical changes, you will likely need to adapt how you are working and communicating with your team and stakeholders – especially now with more people working remotely.

4. Take the time to plan your monitoring and evaluation activities

You’re going to have to answer questions and make decisions about your program in the future. Plan how you will measure and evaluate the success of your program now – this will ensure you aren’t caught out in 12-months time.

5. Keep collecting and analysing data

You need data to manage your program, make informed decisions and report to the powers that be. Work out the critical/minimum data you need and how this can be collected appropriately and efficiently. You will have a baseline you need to maintain.

6. Plan and maintain your communications

In a world of uncertainty, knowledge is power and provides confidence. Continue to update your stakeholders on what is happening with the program (even if it’s not good news!) – it is better to be transparent than breed uncertainty.

So remember, no matter how time poor you may feel, don’t let your program management slip. Making the time for the little things will ensure that your program is well defined, established and set up for success.

Want to know more?

I’m a new program manager
I’m trying to design a new program
I’ve inherited a program

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DIY Program Evaluation Kit

DIY Program Evaluation Kit

In "Plain English"

Not sure how to monitor your program’s performance?

Don’t know where to start to judge whether your program is on track?

A monitoring and evaluation framework is an integral part of understanding how well your program is performing.

It helps you set out and record the activities you need to complete to assess your program’s performance over time to assess whether your program is on the right track.

We created this M&E framework guide to help you build your own. The guide gives you the right structure and useful explanation of what is typically required in each section

Download our comprehensive guide to build an M&E framework for your own program today.

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