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


Posted by John Chapman on 21st Oct 2014

About the Author

John Chapman is Programme Director for Touchstone FMS His twitter is An experienced Programme Director, Programme Manager, Project Director and Project Manager; having led Programmes of business change, implemented Financial Accounting Systems, Spend Control systems, and Document Management solutions International Project implementation experience, with a good understanding of the challenges of working with different cultures, and the logistics of international project delivery. Publications include: Author of a. Your Project Needs You, b. Kafka, Pulp Fiction, Beer and Projects, c. ‘Project and Programme Accounting, a practical guide for Professional Service Organisations and IT’ published by Project Manager Today Publications. d. Member of the authoring group of the Gower Handbook of Programme Management 1st Edition. e. An acknowledged contributor to Managing Successful Programmes, 1st Edition and the APM Introduction to Programme Management 1st edition. The author of a range of educational video podcasts which are published at He is Communications Lead for APM Programme Management Specific Interest Group  (

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