Each of the four pillars of the PgM² Methodology encapsulates a set of best practices which help programme teams manage the tangible dimensions of programmes better. On the other hand, as the fifth element of the methodology the PgM² Mindsets become the glue that holds the PgM² pillars together. They provide a common set of beliefs and values for all PgM² practitioners.
The PgM² Mindsets are the attitudes and behaviours that help organisations and teams focus on what is important in achieving their programme management objectives. They help programme teams navigate the complexities of managing programmes within their organisations, and make the PgM² Methodology both more effective and more complete.

Effective proramme mindsets can help us manage the organisational politics that (always) come with programme managment

To start developing the right portfolio mindsets, we should ask ourselves the following Infrequently Asked Questions (IAQs): 

    • Do we know what we are doing? Tip: Develop a clear and shared programme vision and define the programme boundaries. Make a clear distinction between the overall programme goals and the scope of its project components.
    • Do we know how to do it? Tip: Because programmes have a long-term impact and their results take time to mature, focus on strategic navigation rather than tactical management. Manage the programme holistically and optimise the whole portfolio, not just parts of it. Follow a process but stay Agile to address the complexities that emerge. Actively manage the integration of project results, and coordinate the transition at the programme level as well as the business implementation activities which, in the absence of the programme, would have been partially and less effectively tackled at the project levels.
    • Do we know why we are doing it? Tip: Make sure you understand the programme’s goals, its value and impact, and how it relates to the organisational strategy. Define upfront what programme success is and deliver maximum value and benefits.
    • Is this important? Tip: Everything is NOT equally important. Identify and agree on the programme’s Critical Success Criteria (CSC) and Critical Success Factors (CSFs), and allocate effort and attention strategically to achieve the programme goals. Prioritise the most complex aspects of the programme, which are managing change, managing politics, and engaging with stakeholders. To do so, apply the appropriate level of analysis and planning, but remain agile and adaptive with regard to handling the emerging complexities.
    • Do we know who is doing what? Tip: Know what you should be doing, and make sure others know what they should be doing as well. Clearly define and understand roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities at both the programme and project levels.
    • Are the right people involved? Tip: People make programmes work. The primary criterion for involving people and assigning programme roles should be to serve the needs and objectives of the programme—not politics, friendship, functional hierarchy, proximity or convenience.
    • Deliver at any cost or risk? Tip: Show respect for organisational funds and avoid high-risk behaviour and tactics. Always remember that it is not just about the end-result; how you get there matters, too. Manage your programmes based on positive values and principles.
    • Is this a task for “them” or for “us”? Tip: Resist managing the projects themselves. Instead, provide the appropriate leadership and create an environment (e.g. governance and systems) that provides a cohesive programme approach, but also allows for the necessary autonomy. Control projects that need to be managed effectively.
    • Have we improved? Tip: Commit to ongoing self- and organisational improvement by gathering and sharing knowledge. Teams should reflect on how they can become more effective and adjust their behaviour accordingly.
    • Is there life after the programme? Tip: The results of the programme will have a long-lasting impact on many stakeholders! Make sure you have contributed to a successful and sustainable future.


The PgM² Programme Management Mindsets are condensed in the following statements which express the commitment of people involved in programme management to:

    1. Apply PgM² best practices to manage their programmes.
    2. Remain mindful that methodologies are there to serve the needs of their programmes, not the other way around.
    3. Maintain an outcomes orientation in relation to all programme and programme management activities.
    4. Are committed to delivering programme results with maximum value rather than just following plans.
    5. Foster a culture of collaboration, clear communication and accountability within both the programme and the programme components.
    6. Assign programme roles to the most appropriate people for the benefit of the programme.
    7. Balance the programme’s purpose, politics and plans in the most productive way possible.
    8. Invest in developing the personal competences necessary to become better programme contributors.
    9. Involve stakeholders in the planning and executing of the organisational changes which are part of the achievement of the programme’s goals.
    10. Share knowledge, actively manage Lessons Learned, and contribute to the improvement of programme management within their organisations.
    11. Draw inspiration from the PgM² Guidelines on Ethics and Professional Virtues.

Although complimentary, effective Programme Mindsets are quite different from Project Mindsets or Portfolio Mindsets.

Working with these Mindsets enhances the effectiveness of portfolio management and thus increases the likelihood of a portfolio achieving its goals. Beyond that, applying the Mindsets consistently across sub-portfolios helps to build capacity within the organisation over time; as the methodology and mindsets embed themselves in an organisation’s working practices, it helps it achieve management maturity.

Viewing our involvement in programme management through the lenses of effective Mindsets doesn’t only make for a more colourful world; it also means we all see the same colours. When everyone across our entire organisation is wearing the same glasses, it makes us more effective and productive.

See also: