Yesterday's article discussed the first five of 10 steps an organisation must get right to manage a programme successfully. These were: defining the initiative's strategic value; putting the right people in place to run it; creating the roadmap; managing stakeholder expectations; and integrated planning.

The discussion continues with a look at the next five steps.

6. Scenario analysis

This provides insights into how programme outcomes may in reality differ from expectations. You may wish to know:

* How will your goals be affected by a decrease in funding?

* What will the impact be of using a different technology?

* How likely are you to finish by the target date?

* What is the most likely completion date?

The programme manager should assess alternative technical approaches, resourcing scenarios and scoping variations. Applying these changes to the masterplan will help assess how programme timing, risk and outcomes will be impacted.

7. Systematic risk management

"If it can go wrong, it will go wrong". Being mindful of Murphy's Law is a good starting point for mitigating threats to programme success. A systematic risk management process will:

* Identify specific risks;

* Assess and prioritise risks; and

* Define risk response strategies.

Focus the development of response strategies on the most severe risks. For each risk, ask:

* How likely is this risk to occur?

* What will the impact be?

Response strategies should focus on reducing the likelihood of any risk occurring and minimising the impact if it actually does occur.

8. The right control processes

With programmes of strategic change, tracking progress towards goals is crucial as the consequences of missing targets are more severe, the likelihood of significant problems is greater, and there are simply more things that can go wrong.

The programme team must set up tracking processes to control progress and be ready to respond to management concerns, such as:

* Are project deliverables meeting requirements?

* Are teams adhering to project schedules?

* Are resources and funding sufficient?

* Are scope, time, cost or benefit changes being managed effectively?

How much effort is expended on tracking and monitoring progress will depend on programme size and cost, complexity and strategic importance.

9. Achievable benefits and requirements

Too often, teams find themselves overstretched, technology doesn't perform as expected and vast sums of money are wasted on pursuing impossible solutions.

For a programme to have any chance of success, it is vital that the requirements and the benefits desired are clear, realistic and understood by all stakeholders.

Regular quality checks will help to validate whether programme outputs are meeting needs.

10. Effective change management

In choosing a change strategy, the programme team must ensure organisational readiness for change. Conducting environmental assessments help ensure that developed solutions will not impose unsustainable cultural stress.

This five-step approach helps to shape, steer and realise change:

* Identify need for change;

* Define compelling vision;

* Choose a change strategy;

* Engage stakeholders' support; and

* Implement change strategy.

Ultimately, a programme can never suffer from excessive support for change. Substantial effort must be devoted to building consensus from the top with a meaningful understanding of the rationale for change, agreement and commitment to the nature and consequences of change, and monitoring and refining of the transition process.

Achieving success in implementing strategic programmes of change requires a combination of strong leadership, managerial, communication and technical skills.

Structured training and results-oriented workshops can provide fast-track support for accelerating skills development, knowledge application and programme execution. Only through action across all 10 elements will a programme be infused with the right enablers to ensure its success.