BCM Project Management vs BCM Program Management

Often, corporations believe that by implementing a BCM project the entire program and related deliverables will be established and ready for use when a disaster strikes.  What gets forgotten is that it takes numerous BCM projects to establish a proper program, each with its own set of objectives and deliverables.  Many corporate executives don’t understand between BCM projects and a BCM program but there are differences that need to be addressed and known if the BCM program is to be successful.

Below is a short list of differences that will help BCM professionals and corporate executives understand the differences if they’re working with a project or helping establish a program.

  1. A project is unique, delivers a specific output, or deliverable, and has a specific start and end date and must meet strict criteria such as time, cost, satisfaction, quality, scope and risk; sometimes referred to as the “Triple Constraint” derived from the original three constraints of Time, Cost and Quality.  In contrast, a program is ongoing and designed to consistently achieve specific goals for the business.
  2. Program management includes management of projects that when combined improve the viability, performance and the day-to-day operations of the organization. 
  3. Project Managers will manage individual projects with specific goals and objects and a PM may be responsible for more than one project at a time.  The Program Manager may be responsible for the coordination of multiple PMs who are responsible for the program and report to a program sponsor, who is usually at the Executive level.
  4. Projects may change in size and scope but are still responsible for delivering specific deliverables based on time, cost, quality, risk, satisfaction and scope.  Of course, proper project change management procedures would be utilized to ensure that when scope changes, the impacts are identified on the remaining 5 components noted in the previous sentence.  Programs change however, when the organization changes or the strategic direction of the company changes.  In some cases, a strategic change in a company’s direction may mean the cancellation of some projects and the creation of new ones.

            There have been many instances where senior executives see BCM as a project to be completed in a specific timeframe, usually a short one.  Once it’s completed and the multiple binders have been formatted and printed, it’s forgotten and placed on a shelf beside other binders no one reviews, collecting dust.  BCM is never a project, that’s why it’s called a BCM program.  By definition, a project has a start and end date with defined deliverables.  Since BCM is meant to mirror an organization, it’s hard to call it a project when the organization is in constant change in one form or another.  To keep BCM current, it must be living and breathing and walking with the rest of the organization as it changes.

2 thoughts on “BCM Project Management vs BCM Program Management

  1. This confusion between project/program seems to be a common problem. I agree with you that a BCM program needs to be ongoing.

    Where BC was only established to deliver on compliance needs, then the project to “get the binders printed” is effectively the end of the Program anyway. The confusion here is often due to a lack of understanding of the motivation to get started.

    The other way in which I find this aspect gets confused is when the ongoing activity is farmed out to be undertaken “bottom up” within each line of business. The BC people exist not to run a program but report on a compliance process.

    If we want to claim a holistic BCM Program, then it needs to continue to be driven top down and managed as a cohesive Program.

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