by Ed Burney- Cumming

Program Management by Michel Thiry

Book Reviews

Program Management by Michel Thiry
Program Management by Michel Thiry

Program Management by Michel Thiry

In Program Management, Michel Thiry has three main themes running throughout the book. The first and most obvious is his desire to help the reader understand how project and programme management are different and why project management tools won’t work for programme management.

His second core theme focuses on a practical approach to programme management while his third looks at embedding the concept of programme management into your organisation.

The common thread that joins these themes throughout is Thiry’s search for a pragmatic and practical approach to programme management. He derives this from his own practical experience; and by analysing and combining elements from the approach taken by three of the best-known programme management standards in the world: MSP in the United Kingdom, PMI in the United States, and P2M from Japan.

The aim is to enable the reader to dip in and out of the book and choose which bits are most pertinent to him/her. This, however, only has limited success, as the reader is often redirected to other sections to look at more detailed explanation.

While it’s clear what Thiry was trying to do with the structure, I think one of the strengths of this work is in the earlier parts of the book, which provide a structured debate around programme management, how it fits with project and portfolio management, and the impact that ambiguity and uncertainty have on the way it needs to be thought of and managed.

The highlight of the whole book is how it deals with and explains programme governance. What makes this theme throughout the book so refreshing is that it clearly places governance in the context of organisational strategy rather than the normal command and control model that is often assumed to be good governance.

In summary, Program Management is a thought-provoking book. While it’s written in a slightly academic style, the content of the book is worth the effort to read. It forces the reader to consider programme management as a discipline in its own right.

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