What is Program Management Consulting?
Program Management is the key process that allows household-name companies to excel in product development
Apple. Google. FitBit. These are companies that create not only innovative products, but entirely new categories. Through relentless innovation such firms also disrupt existing markets, crowding out both revered incumbents and the upstarts. Program Management is the key process that allows household-name companies to excel in product development. Program Management operates at the system level, a vantage point higher than individual programs or projects. Improvements at the system level mean not only better products, faster – but a reliable stream of blockbuster offerings.
TCGen’s Program Management Consulting expertise enables clients to improve program delivery across a range of variables including the creativity, predictability, quality and speed of product development programs. We also help firms improve project selection with our product portfolio management framework, tailored to empower managers to make better choices.
Our Program Management Consulting engagements typically involve a thorough assessment of your organization’s needs. We then identify a small number of the most effective levers of improvement. We work with teams and management to create custom solutions to address a focused set of challenges. TCGen then works with you to create and deliver a sequenced series of trainings, targeting the most important levers of Program Management improvement. This inch wide, mile deep approach creates results quickly. TCGen then monitors the behavioral change over time to see that it is taking hold. We use the feedback we receive over time to fine tune the solutions as needed. We manage change by measuring behavior.
Who is it Program Management Consulting for?
TCGen works with a range of product companies. We have deep experience in medical devices, telecom, technology, software, and consumer electronics. But any company that wants a steady stream of innovative, new-to-the-world products can leverage TCGen’s Program Management expertise and best practices.
Any Size Company That Craves Innovation
We have worked with both start-ups pioneering new categories and well-established firms in mature industries. TCGen’s work with start-ups tends to start with the C-Suite. With these small, nimble companies, we’re able to deliver observable results quickly. More sophisticated firms tend to have more layers of hierarchy and greater resistance to change (this is often called the “frozen middle”). Our expertise in organizational change management enables us to assess cultural challenges and produce targeted results that respect the tone of your organization.
Not a Type of Company – a Level of Program Management Maturity
We help firms that are challenged to reach that next level of product development maturity. Some firms face the challenge of scalability; others want more predictable, reliable results from product development projects. Yet other companies seek guidance in specific areas such as metrics or product portfolio management. Wherever your company stands in its Program Management journey, our customized solutions will help you to achieve your goals.
How do we structure Program Management Consulting engagements?
A Proven Process
Typically, TCGen’s Program Management Consulting engagements have four steps: assessment, creating custom solutions, targeted training; and then using metrics to manage change by monitoring behavior. We don’t create spot-solutions; we transfer knowledge. Our goal is to elevate your company to the next level and to ensure you are self-sufficient and able to complete the rest of the journey on your own.
No Off-the-Shelf Solutions
Although we have a large knowledge base of best practices, we don’t perform cookie-cutter engagements. Nor do we send junior consultants into the field armed with binders full of off-the-shelf templates. We tailor each engagement to the specific needs of clients. TCGen’s seasoned, executive-level consultants take the time to understand your needs and provide the solutions that help your teams deliver a series of successful new products.
Focused on the Most Important Levers of Change
Our assessments tend to identify the three to five most important pinch points – areas few in number, but vast in their impact on your Program Management capabilities. We don’t write assessment reports with 25 recommendations. We put all the wood behind the arrow, to ensure a targeted, speedy improvement that creates buy-in and doesn’t overwhelm the organization with too many changes, too quickly. Our focused approach means that your teams will not feel like they’re drinking from a firehose. Steady, incremental, measured improvements over time create transformational improvements in Program Management.
Organizational Change Management Expertise
We’re not only Program Management experts but also change management experts. In each Program Management Consulting engagement, we take care to follow best practices in organizational change management. We are aware of the politics of the organization and the sensitivities involved in creating Program Management transformations. Our approach creates the maximum impact, with the minimum churn.
“We’re making better decisions faster.”
In what kind of timeframe do organizations see change after a Program Management Consulting engagement?
Our assessment process may take as much as one to two months, with an additional month or two to create customized solutions and the training modules needed to deliver them. The duration of the training depends on the size of the organizations and the number of people trained. A lengthy training cycle, with international teams, may take as many as three to four months.
After the training is complete, managers begin to see results, not in outcomes but in the processes related to Program Management. After the client has implemented our customized solutions for a period of between 4 and 9 months, we sometimes revisit the teams, and we listen to them speak of their struggles and successes. If needed, TCGen then tailors the solutions based on this feedback. Managers will begin to see teams making better decisions faster, hitting milestones more consistently, or creating more realizable product plans.
What kind of internal resource commitment should a company plan for when considering a Program Management Consulting engagement?
A Point of Contact
Companies should plan to provide a point of contact who will serve as an internal driver for the engagement. This point person, usually an individual contributor or team manager, serves as the resident expert and as our guide through the organization. He or she helps to organize workshops and functions as a project manager for the engagement. Helping TCGen to improve the organization’s Program Management capability should be this individual’s top priority.
An Executive Champion
Organizations also typically provide an executive-level champion or sponsor. The champion’s primary task is to help us to communicate with the executive team and secure sufficient time on the team’s calendar. For larger Program Management transformations, we often convene a steering committee consisting of representatives from the key functions to help us make critical decisions or remove roadblocks.
Access to Data and Schedules
Our assessments often involve detailed post-mortems and project histories. We ask that companies share data regarding project schedules, budgets, product and marketing plans, staffing, etc. We often interview individuals and teams and produce new data in the form of quantitative and qualitative analyses.
What do people say about their experience after a Program Management Consulting Engagement?
“We’re making better decisions faster.” – Apple Executive.
The most eloquent testimony we receive about our services is repeat business. Having successfully transformed an organization’s program management capability, we are often asked to tackle other challenges or to solve Program Management issues in another division of the same corporation. The majority of our engagements expand into follow-on work due to the positive results observable at every layer of the org chart. Our work has made such a long-term, lasting impact that one medical device company invited us back after a gap of 17 years! Our Program Management solutions are built for speed – and built to last.