Programme Orientation is the degree to which an organisation is oriented towards effectively harnessing the value of Programme Management for the implementation of its strategic objectives. It reflects the organisation’s commitment to attending to the Critical Success Factors (CSFs) of programme management, as well as to developing the Programme Managers’ competence in the domain. The journey towards programme orientation is ongoing. However, the following list brings together some important conditions for Organisational Programme Orientation:

• Strong organisational commitment to strategic effectiveness, organisational efficiency, outcomes orientation, accountability, and transparency.
• Organisation-wide recognition of the value of programme management as an enabler for strategy implementation.
• Viewing all work performed within the organisation as a strategic investment, the optimisation of which is critical for the success of the organisation.
Integrating programme management processes and mindsets into every level of the organisation.
Strong Programme Governance based on both strong results-driven decision making and integrated performance reporting from every project within a programme.
Methodologies and Standards are used and adhered to.
• Effective Programme and Project Management Support Services (e.g. PgSO/PSO) are in place.
Organisational procedures are aligned with Programme and Project Methodologies
(e.g. Risk, Quality, Procurement, Portfolio, etc.).
• Relevant skills and competences (for programme and project management) are recognised.
• A Programme (and Project) Management career path is gradually established.

A suitable and well-tailored Programme Management Methodology is, of course, essential for effective programme management, but successful implementation of the whole endeavour will depend primarily on getting people on board and developing the organisation’s programme orientation.

One of the most powerful influencers of people’s perception and behaviour can be built into the programme methodology in the form of Programme Mindsets, providing a common set of beliefs and values. These remind those involved in programme management of the attitudes and behaviours that can help them focus on what is important in the management of the portfolio.

If programme management is seen just as another layer of project control and reporting it becomes inefficient and creates (well justified) resistance. In this case, the value-creation potential of programme management is diminished. 

How can this be avoided? By developing a programme orientated mindset and actively managing the sociocultural dimension of programme management. And this should be done both throughout the rollout of programme management within an organisation and during the execution of programmes with effective stakeholder engagement and communication activities.