Considerable program planning activities may include:
- Prioritizing projects for realization by business value and dependencies
- Defining the high-level scope of the projects
- Analyzing and planning resources
- Projects realizations planning
- Planning milestones
- Communication planning
- Escalations planning
- Projects release planning
Prioritizing projects for realization by business value and dependencies
Based on projects dependencies and the business value of each project, prioritization of projects is the first needed step before further plannings activities are put into action.
Prioritization ensures visibility of which projects are to be implemented first and require planning, investment, and general focus.
Defining the high-level scope of the projects
The scope of each project needs to be described on high-level. These descriptions of the scope of each project may be a base for detailed scoping in further or parallel project management activities.
Analyzing and planning resources
The status of the current materials, resources, tools, and people need to be identified.
If the program requires more resources and workforce or additional tools and technologies are needed, these needs are defined and planned for provision.
Projects realizations planning
May include high-level planning of estimated resources and time needed to complete projects.
Important events may need to be defined, described and scheduled. Such events may include:
- Gathering requirements
- Scope finalizations
- Approximate start of a project
- Design phase start and end
- Development phase start and end
- Releases of product samples
- Testing or validations phase start and end
- Repairing defects phase start and end
- Acceptances start and end
- Major Releases
- Marketing campaigns
Planning projects realizations, resources, budget, and milestones should take into account phases that may go beyond predicted time frames such as testing, validating, defects repairing and acceptances. These considerations are valid for both program and project management activities and both program and project management roles may need to plan buffer time between different phases and milestones.
The communication process is exceptionally important during the entire program planning and realization.
Program communication planning may include:
- Defining communication needs
- Establishing a communication channel for program and project management
- Communication needs with other roles of the organization
- Escalations planning
- Planning communication needs and channels with external parties
Defining communication needs
Defining communication needs may include:
- Defining all communication topics like meetings, status reporting, tests, risk discussions, resources, projects release plannings and etc.
- Defining and agreement of importance level of each topic.
- Agreement on communication frequency and details.
Establishing a communication channel for program and project management
Program management and project management roles may need to discuss, agree and establish their communication channels that may include the physical environment, software or technologies.
Communication needs with other roles of the organization
May include defining and planning communication needs with roles outside of the program and project management offices.
Emergent issues and incidents may need immediate attention and actions. Escalation planning may include:
- Defining parties and roles that may be involved in emergent issues.
- Training parties and roles of the importance of the escalation process.
- Training parties and roles in proper and fast reacting.
- Preparation of potentially needed instructions, and references needed for different types of issues.
- Preparing potentially needed environments, tools, software.
Simulations or potential scenarios may also be conducted if such may be predefined as part of the escalation planning and training.
Planning communication needs and channels with external parties
All external parties interested in the program need to be involved in the communication. Channels and frequency of communication need to be defined and agreed between all parties.
Projects release planning
Projects release planning may include:
- Defining all roles involved in project releasing and their responsibilities.
- Defining and describing the steps needed for every project release.
- Defining resources, materials, and tools needed and planning their provisions.
- Testing and analyzing the status of current tools, environments, and materials.
- Notifying all potentially involved parties of the plans, procedures, tools, environments, and materials.
- Potential training.
- Preparing all documentation templates that may be needed.
- Defining and planning post-release needs and activities.