Programme Management Consultancy

image of Catriona Anderson Catriona Anderson
Catriona Anderson 28 Sep 2023 Time to read: 

“Programme management is the coordinated management of projects and business-as-usual activities to achieve beneficial change.  A programme is a unique and transient strategic endeavour undertaken to achieve a beneficial change and incorporating a group of related projects and business-as-usual activities.”

Definition from APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition

This thorough description doesn’t really emphasise the importance of bringing in experts to deliver your programmes; programmes are meant to bring beneficial change, but this can only be achieved through a coordinated focus on people, communication and continuous learning. Your programme should be resourced by people who can deliver value quickly and provide a level of certainty – difficult to achieve without engaging experienced practitioners.

For organisations looking to bring in some form of programme management capability they should demand of their suppliers high quality and predictable outcomes, assistance in providing clarity to your organisational change initiatives and a strong risk management approach.

While delivering programmes across many different sized organisations and across many different sectors we have found a few key things that are consistent across all successful programmes:

  • Using easily tailored and scalable methods, tools and processes
  • Early engagement from inception, scoping and set-up to achieve a successful delivery.
  • Focusing on team augmentation instead of outsourcing the complete programme.

What do clients typically want from Programme Management Consultancies?

Client needs differ greatly when engaging consultancies for programme management. Sometimes its focused on managing benefits effectively, other times making sure budgets and time frames are realistic given scope and organisation maturity. Overall though we have distilled most of the reasons to three:

  1. Providing Certainty: managing risk, Issues, decisions and dependencies In a more predictable fashion
  2. Defining and delivering a new approach to programme delivery: helping shape an effective programme “engine” driving change from demand through to service delivery.
  3. Experience: choosing the appropriate SME’s either with knowledge of an industry or technology.

Activities that many clients ask for range from standardised programme management (utilising MSP type approaches) through to stakeholder engagement and communications. In some instances they have a portfolio of programmes that need prioritisation, financial audit and dependency mapping –  in this case, we will work closely with PMO functions and Programme Directors to create a transparent and clear portfolio roadmap and put in place effective measurement and tracking processes to actively manage risks.

Managing Successful Programmes


We use the globally recognised MSP framework to determine how best to manage, organise and execute programmes. The MSP framework has been proven to be best suited to complex transformational change and focuses on the development of key leadership roles within a programme to enable success.

Using this framework consultants should be able to develop and track business cases and benefits realisation, they should be able to deliver change management enabling the workforce to understand their responsibilities and ensure effective communication channels are in place. Additionally, the active management of risks and issues, design decisions, prioritisation and dependency management should ensure timescales and budgets are effectively controlled.

Our Programme Management Services

We provide several programme management services:

  1. Programme Assurance: we assess the state of a programme against our competency framework covering programme op model, governance, risk management, budget control, delivery execution, partner/supplier management, benefits realisation. We provide a comprehensive report covering all aspects and identify mitigations to take the programme forward.
  2. Programme Recovery: We can deploy expert programme managers into a programme to stabilise efforts and steer things back on course. We do this by strong stakeholder and change management practices, supplier relationship reviews and programme mediation.
  3. Programme Execution: We provide resource augmentation or build PMOs to deliver complex programmes. Typically, these are global programmes of either divestitures or acquisitions where we focus on building a robust transformation office to transition services from one entity to another.
  4. Business Case Development: We help clients build realistic business cases to assess viability of a programme in support of business strategy. Our proprietary business case framework helps guide our clients through the process of building a reliable and realistic case based on our knowledge of the marketplace, experience of delivering programmes and our commercial acumen.