Friday, August 19, 2011

eCommerce Programme or Project Manager? Part 2

This is the second of 2 postings on the difference between an eCommerce Progamme or Project Manager. The earlier part can be found here.

It’s a natural effect that the bigger the amount of work to be done, the more there is at stake throughout a business. Although this risk is typically financial, it could also have other important effects on your existing business. With this risk comes the responsibility of reporting it to senior people (with the aim that they can mitigate it as much as possible)… who in-turn may have directors, owners or shareholders to keep happy.
Keeping the senior stakeholders informed on a large online project can often be a role in itself and I would always recommend that the Programme Manager contributes or even runs the regular senior meeting attended by all relevant parties. The ability to participate in or even chair these sorts of meetings typically requires additional communication, influencing, or other skills that are usually beyond those needed of a Project Manager.

Coherence of Effort
When your ecommerce requirements need a programme of work, then it is essential to have a coherent overview of all effort. This is to ensure that there is no unnecessary overlap or conflict in tasks & deliverables. Although a Project Manager will be responsible for the effort within one project, the eCommerce Programme Manager must understand all possible touch points across all pieces of work for all projects. If there are any interdependencies, the programme manager must be responsible for ensuring that each Project Manager is aware of them and takes on the responsibility to their project.

Ultimate Value to the Business
A project manager has key performance indicators to report on, mainly that of the project running on time, ins cope and to budget. These are the main factors for a project to align to its business case and if it will be ‘judged’ as a pass or fail.
The ecommerce programme manager however must look at the overall value to the business for each component of the programme of work. They must be able to justify why each piece of work is important to the long term return on investment of ecommerce to the organisation.

All of the above lead into prioritisation of effort and resource allocation – which is fundamentally different between a project manager and a programme manager. The programme manager must have the ability to override a project manager’s plan for the ‘greater good’ of the ecommerce programme of work and delivering the maximum value to the business.

In summary, there are significant differences in both roles and as the key stakeholder of the you need to decide which one(s) you really need to ensure all your initiatives are a success in the long term.
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