Project/initiative failure seems to be par for the course these days. Many of us are familiar with The Standish Group's findings that 2/3 of IT projects fail each year. In fact, there are even blogs and websites concerned solely with project failure. It might not be surprising, then, that Project Times reports a 66% failure rate in strategy execution.
Why is it so hard to simply get things done? (That's a loaded question we'll save for another time.) Ruchira Chatterjee at Project Times believes that the solution can be found in program management:
In addition to project and portfolio management, the community of project practitioners is now looking at effective Program Management to play a critical role in bridging the gap between formulation and effective execution of strategy. To date, however, recognition of the importance of Program Management or adoption of Program Management practices is definitely lagging behind Project and Portfolio Management even in project management mature organizations.
[...] Program Management facilitates optimization of costs, resources and staffing, integrates and resolves inter project dependencies and deliverables, and ensures achievement of expected benefits.
She offers the following steps for success:
1: Identify initiatives best defined as programs
2: Define target benefits
3: Develop alternative approaches to delivering desired results
4: Analyze and select best options for implementation and identify component projects
5: Undertake stakeholder analysis and establish governance structure
6: Engage the Program Manager