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Is programme management revolution in disguise?

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A 'revolution' (from the Latin revolutio, "a turn around")1 is a fundamental change in power or organisational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.

Programme management is the co-ordinated management of projects and change management activities to achieve beneficial change.2

This is revolution. It will deliver a fundamental change in power, in the organisational structure and bring in a cultural transformation. There will be material changes to the way we work, the way we think and how we operate. To deliver this we will use the techniques of:

  • Subversion: to transform the established social orders and its structures of power, authority and hierarchy
  • Propaganda: to influence the attitude of the community toward our cause and position. This includes the techniques of
    • Appeal to authority
    • Bandwagon
    • Join the crowd
    • Fear, uncertain and doubt including threats of job losses
    • Slogans
  • Psychological warfare: to influence the value systems, belief systems, emotions, motives, reasoning and / or behaviour of those affected
  • Political warfare: leading to a weakening or destroying opponents political, social, or societal will

At the end, there will be a new organisation, new thinking, new ways of working, taking us forward to a brighter future.

A programme of business change
We are going to run a programme of business change: to transform this organisation from slow moving, top heavy, and bureaucratic, to a vibrant, quick, and fast moving business. The delivery of this will require individuals to rethink the way they work and change their attitudes. There will be a fundamental review of the organisations hierarchy, of each role and the skills required to meet the needs of the future business.

A Stakeholder Influence Attitude Grid will be developed. Those who have negative attitudes will be identified. A benefit assessment will focus on where there is anticipated resistance, the level of commitment and how the naysayers can be moved from anti through let it happen to make it happen.

During the programme of business change, regular communication will be issued to continue to win over the hearts and minds. Slogans, group meetings, and appeals to authority used as part of the process of communication. Those who remain sceptical and negative will be given special treatment; and if necessary leave the business.

At the end, there will be a new organisation, new thinking, new ways of working, taking us forward to a brighter future.

Revolution or programme management, are they the same, using the same techniques just different words?

1From Wikipedia
2From The APM Body of Knowledge, 6th Edition, page 14


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  1. John Chapman
    John Chapman 04 November 2014, 05:32 PM

    Thank you Patrick and Alastair for the comments. Certainly programmes can be divided into different classifications. In looking at parallels it was to provide food for thought in how we could consider, and possibly apply, techniques from other areas to deliver a successful programme of business change. RegardsJohn Chapman

  2. Patrick Weaver
    Patrick Weaver 24 October 2014, 07:28 AM

    This is only one of several different types of program GAPPS identifies four fundamental types of program: 

  3. Alastair Smart
    Alastair Smart 22 October 2014, 11:22 AM

    An interesting way to consider programme management, and some valid examples of business change parallels.Some change managers may choose to lead a revolution but I'm not sure that's a good thing!  Revolution tends to be more about breaking away from the old way of doing things - not necessarily having a clear and shared vision of what the new future should be, so it can be subject to manipulation by the 'strongest arm'.You do mention a 'relatively' short timeframe but revolutions tend to be characterised as sudden - rather than a managed transition - and bottom up (i.e. subversion, and as opposed to a top-down coup d'etat) so there is a gap in the strategic direction.Perhaps the revolutionary approaches are a good way to restore order to a chaotic change programme rather than a way to get started?