Transitioning to Program Management


Series on Program Management

(Article 4 of 4)

By Russ Martinelli, Jim Waddell, Tim Rahschulte

Program Management Academy

Oregon, USA

This is the fourth and final installment in this article series that has focused on numerous aspects of organizational transition involved with introducing and maturing an organization’s program management discipline. Throughout the series we have detailed the story of a major U.S. contractor in the midst of a program management transition. This transition was led by Dave Mitchell, a senior V.P. for the company, and his PMO director, Nico Coachman.

Mitchell used the program management continuum to diagnose his organization’s program management performance relative to senior leader expectations (see Article 1). This diagnosis created an “Ah-Ha Moment” for him and his peers and created the impetus for change. The value of the continuum armed Mitchell and others with the realization that while making the decision to become more program-oriented was a straight-forward decision, making the transition from one level of program maturity to another was going to be much more difficult and therefore the role of Coachman as the transition agent was necessary for success (see Article 2). Mitchell and Coachman were successful with the transition in part because they focused on delivering business value (see Article 3). Beyond that focus, however, what else enabled their success?

Answering that question is the primary topic of this fourth article in the series. This article outlines the key success factors that must be managed to increase the probability of successfully when transitioning to a program-oriented organization.

Overcoming Program Management Transition Challenges

Organizational transformation is a challenging endeavor. Transitioning to a program-oriented organization is no different. The program management continuum introduced in article 1 is a tool that demonstrates the variations in the use of program management within companies today. At the center of the continuum is an important point – the point of transition. This is a philosophical decision point where the senior leaders of an organization make a purposeful decision to transition their organization from being primarily project-oriented to being program-oriented.


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The PMWJ series of articles on program management is authored by Russell Martinelli, Tim Rahschulte and James Waddell, principle advisors at the Program Management Academy in Oregon, USA.   More about the authors and the Program Management Academy can be found at http://www.programmanagement-academy.com/.

About the Authors

pmwj26-sep2014-martinelli-AUTHOR1 MARTINELLIRuss Martinelliflag-usa

Oregon, USA

Russ Martinelli is a senior program manager at Intel Corporation, one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies. Russ has many years of experience leading global product development teams in both the aerospace and computing industries. Russ is also a founder of the Program Management Academy (www.programmanagement-academy.com), and co-author of Leading Global Project Teams and the first comprehensive book on program management titled Program Management for Improved Business Results. Russ can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Russ Martinelli, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/russ-martinelli/


pmwj26-sep2014-martinelli-AUTHOR2 WADDELLJim Waddellflag-usa

Oregon, USA

Jim Waddell, former PMO director in the high-tech industry, is a founder of the Program Management Academy (www.programmanagement-academy.com) where he consultants in program management and mergers & acquisitions. He has held a variety of management positions in the high tech and energy industries, has been a speaker at numerous conferences, and is a co-author of two books: Leading Global Project Teams and Program Management for Improved Business Results. Jim can be contacted at [email protected].

To view other works by Jim Waddell, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/jim-waddell/


??????????????????????Tim Rahschulteflag-usa

Oregon, USA

Tim Rahschulte is co-author of Program Management for Improved Business Results and an executive director at the Program Management Academy. Tim is also responsible for international management and leadership studies at George Fox University in Oregon. He consults with state governments in the USA on matters of organizational change as a business transition architect. Contact Tim at [email protected].

To view other works by Tim Rahschulte, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/tim-rahschulte/