Challenges of Program Management and Solution to Them

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One of the responsibilities of the program manager is to see to it that various elements of the running programs are well balanced out. These elements include scope, money, time and people. However, there is a host of challenges that limit the department and its leadership from achieving its objectives, including properly balancing out the different elements of complex programs. The first challenge is poor cross-functional communication. Poor communication often translates to the unclear definition of goals as well as the roles and duties of the different department members. It has contributed to stalling of several programs, with the upper management failing to approve and support the programs whose objectives are not clearly defined. Another challenge faced by the program management department is inadequate skills for certain programs. The department has been forced to outsource individuals with the necessary skills required for particular programs, which the program contributors do not possess. Another challenge faced by the program management department is inadequate program organization. There is no clear organization of roles and duties among the different team members, a factor that also contributes to the communication challenge.

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A good solution to the communication challenge will be to enhance the departments communication framework starting from the department head to the other levels of employees. The department heads need to provide proper direction at every step of each program. Given the wide scope of project management, proper communication channels need to be established with other departments. The communication channels should allow smooth flow of information and feedback between the banks upper management and team leaders. Regarding inadequate skills, the program management leadership needs to carry out an assessment to determine the required competencies and establish whether additional training of the current staff or hiring of more skilled employees is required.

A right and properly defined program management department also needs to be established. The department should have a clear hierarchy, which should include a program manager, change manager, risk manager, business analyst as well as program office manager. The program manager should oversee the whole department and be in-charge of the day-to-day running of the different program plans. The change managers responsibility will be to prepare other departments and the organization at large for the changes that implemented programs are expected to bring. The risk managers responsibility will be to define and implement the process of managing risks that often occur in the project management process. On the other hand, a business analyst will help the department analyze and coordinate the requirements of the different programs.

Inadequate stakeholder engagement for certain potential successful programs is another challenge. The organization leadership and even some team members may, from time to time, not approve or show interest in programs that have the potential to contribute to more organization success. This lack of support and interest has been responsible for the collapse of several programs even before the implementation stage. The department also faces challenges related to the identification of key program success measures. The solution to this challenge lies in the departments leadership ability to communicate and encourage feedback among staff members openly. Communication should be the focus of program leaders at every stage of program development and implementation. This way, stronger engagement among the different stakeholders can be promoted. Lack of clarity on what should form the basis of success has the potential to affect the delivery of the desired results negatively. This challenge can be addressed by ensuring there is a clear linkage between the program efforts and results. Predicting the final results of any given program is a matter of uncertainty, hence the need for program leaders to be capable of interpreting information as well as direct actions based on how they perceive the success criteria

Strength and Weaknesses of Program Management

The department has proved quite effective given the high number of successful programs that have been implemented. This success can be attributed to several strengths, and the first one encompasses the highly motivated team members who are the key to the success of any given organization. Besides being active as far as the designing and implementation of bank programs are concerned, the highly motivated team maintains a close relationship with each other. The strength is that the department is made up of highly skilled individuals. This way, the department has been able to come up with creative programs that have resulted in organizational success. The sizeable number of individuals who make up the department is also a strength. The small number of people makes it easy for the departments leadership to monitor and communicate with individual team members easily. Each department members contribution to the organization can easily be monitored. Strength lies in the great support that the department receives from the banks top management. This has ensured close collaboration between the department and the companys leadership, a factor that has greatly contributed to the success of most programs

On the downside, the small number of workers who make up the program management department means that very few programs can be run at a time. A bigger number would have allowed for the designing, planning and implementation of more than one program. Lack of a clear leadership structure means that roles and responsibilities in the program management department are not clearly defined. As such, confusion is bound to occur. Besides, inadequate department-focused training programs mean that staff members in the department are unable to learn about the latest trends in program management and the new competencies that they have to develop. The department also lacks a well-defined contingency plan meant to provide alternatives in cases where a program fails to kick-off or to meet its objective. Failure to outline a contingency plan clearly for the numerous what if situations, places the department as well as the bank at a high risk having to face unexpected problems.

Implementation of Basel III

Basel III seeks to put more restrictions on banks as far as capital adequacy and risk management is concerned. The restrictions are aimed at ensuring that banks bypass financial crises like the one the occurred between 2007 and 2009. All banks are expected to have implemented the full set of reforms by 2019. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, the body responsible for monitoring commercial banks in Saudi Arabia, has been trying to ensure all the banks in the country implement the reforms within the agreed timeline. The reforms that have been successfully introduced include the liquidity, leverage and capital adequacy ratios. The National Commercial Bank is among the many Saudi Banks that have successfully implemented the reforms spelled out in Basel III. The sales and performance management department as well as the program management department have played an integral role in the implementation of the reforms. The two departments came up with measures aimed at maintaining adequate capital for market risk as well as operational risk. Additionally, there are measures in place meant to ensure efficient and better evaluation of the profitability risks. This way, the bank has been able to improve its strategic planning.

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