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Author: Elyse, PMP, CPHIMS
June 20, 2010

Projects are no longer managed in a vacuum. Within Information Technology, we often have dependencies to other projects. The time has come to take a program approach to managing multiple inter-related dependent projects.

Focusing upon the infrastructure side of the house, often you are placing a foundation to run the applications which automate the business. Upgrades and enhancements are needed to the infrastructure to support the applications. This is why it is important to have the program perspective and have management at the program level.

Consider the following case study, in order to prepare for the implementation of an EHR what basic components need to be in place. Your connectivity to the datacenter at the hosting location. An encrypted Wireless Network needs to be deployed. Devices like Workstation on Wheels, tablets, and touchscreens will need to be rolled out. Perhaps a thin client solution like Citrix will handle the blips as physicians traverse access points. The end result is that while each of these projects are important the desired outcome relies upon them all being achieved.

By implementing an IT Program Management Methodology, there will be key efficiencies realized. A similar project management methodology will be achieved. The same procedures, processes, and control mechanisms will be utilized by the project managers. There will be a transparency to the relationships and dependencies between projects. The ripple effects of changes will be evaluated before a scope change is made. A variation can be managed and accessed proactively.
However, obtaining this attitude of achieving for all rather than achieving for one will need to be carefully managed. Vendors, sponsors and other stakeholders will need their concerns and expectations understood. These groups will need to see the benefits and value of using a program approach to timing rather than focusing on an individual project perspective.

In conclusion, concerns will arise and need to be managed. However the benefits of grouping several foundational IT projects into a program perspective will help to achieve the desired outcome versus pieces and parts.

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