Large and complex programs usually have projects with lots of dependencies. Identifying and managing interfaces between projects it is crucial for program success.
Identifying project interfaces
There can be different types of project interfaces. For instance, let’s imagine that we have two projects that are part of the same program: project A and project B. It happens that the team of the project B cannot start development work until the team of the project A completes a specific deliverable. This represents a clear example of dependency between two projects. It is possible to manage effectively dependencies by using the concept of interface.
The process of identifying project interfaces starts during project planning. In fact, at the beginning the plans for each project are not complete. To reduce this lack of clarity program managers need to gather, in this phase, all available data for each interface.
Managing project interfaces
Once program managers have collected all available data for each interface they have to describe them. To accomplish this goal, program managers can use a single uniform format. Basically, they will have a specified form to save the specifics of all interfaces. These filled forms can be used like contracts. In fact, obtaining formal agreement encourages people involved in paying more attention to the details.
While project planning proceeds interfaces become clearer. Completing project interfaces helps to create a consistent program plan. In fact, to obtain such a plan it is necessary to have an iterative planning that allows to change between project and program levels.
Keep in mind
If program managers do not properly manage project interfaces this can have a negative impact on the whole program. In fact, to obtain program success it is crucial to identify and manage interfaces between projects. It is also key to have an iterative process to plan projects in order to create a coherent program plan.