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WM9J4-15 Programme and Project Strategy

Taught Postgraduate Level
Module leader
Nancy Olson
Credit value
Module duration
1 week
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

Organizations are increasingly operating in volatile, uncertain, and complex environments. In order to cope with these changing circumstances, many are using programmes and projects as vehicles of adaptation. Research shows that organizations are investing large amounts in programmes and projects, yet the levels of success are often disappointing. It is known that one of the contributing factors to these failures (partial or complete) is ineffective practices in the strategic analysis, planning, and initiation of programmes and projects.

Module aims

This module complements the Programme and Project Management (PPM), and Managing the Multi-Project Environment (MMPE) modules. It is positioned to extend, and enhance student’s knowledge in the derivation, from corporate strategy, of business change programmes and their comprising projects, and then the chartering, structuring, and governance of those collections of projects. There is a strong emphasis on understanding the context of the programme or project and the extent to which this can be influenced or shaped by the initiation and and agreed planning processes and outputs. It includes exploration of stakeholders’ perceptions of benefits, risks and uncertainty, their decision-making processes, their criteria for measuring success of these enterprises, and connection of all of these to the strategies for the management of the interlinked projects. References and examples from a range of Bodies of Knowledge (AMP Bok, PMI Bok) and methodologies are used e.g. PRINCE2, MSP, PRAM, AGILEPM, etc.
This module assumes that students have some awareness of business strategy and programme/ project management.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

  1. Programme and project successs
  2. Strategic context of programmes and projects, linking strategy to programmes and projects
  3. Complex factors affecting perceptions of programme and project success and failure
  4. Methodologies, tools, techniques and frameworks for translating strategy into programmes and projects
  5. Programme and Project strategy: governance control frameworks
  6. Dealing with uncertainty, complexity, volatility, ambiguity: risks, issues and assumptions, changes and change control, clarity of objectives and requirements
  7. Decision making, biases and heuristics
  8. Leadership, communication and stakeholder analysis and engagement
Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding and ability to analyse and operate within the complex context in which programmes and projects are initiated,
  • Critically analyse and apply the principles, practices and techniques that underlie successful multi-project and programme management strategies, principles, practices and techniques that underlie successful multi-project and programme management strategies,
  • Critically analyze the theoretical and practical knowledge and understanding of the multiple strategic, human, systemic, organisational, operational and sustainability factors that influence the initiation and governance of projects and programmes and apply methods and techniques as appropriate
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of, and the ability to systematically apply the methodologies and techniques used in projects, multi-project and programme management strategizing.
Indicative reading list

10 credit Talis link:
Programme and Project Strategy- Reading List 2020-21
This is a Masters-level module. There is no single reference text for this course. Students are expected to read widely and to use or cite relevant journal articles. Several journal papers have been added to Moodle as a starting point.
However, here are some useful books on programme management as introductory reading:
Thiry, M. (2010) Programme Management, Gower Publishing Ltd
Snowden, Rod & Cabinet Office (2011) Managing Successful Programmes, Stationery Office; 4th ed., 2011 edition (30 Aug 2011)
APM Programme Management Specific Interest Group (2013) Introduction to Programme Management, Association for Project Management; First edition (30 Oct 2007)
Additional Reading (alphabetical order):
APM Programme Management Specific Interest Group (2013) Introduction to Programme Management, Association for Project Management; First edition (30 Oct 2007)
Bartlett, J. (2002). Managing Programmes of Business Change: A Handbook of the Principles of Programme Management. Project Manager Today Publications.
Brown, J.T (2014) The Handbook of Program Management: How to Facilitate Project Success with Optimal Program Management, McGraw-Hill Professional; 2nd Second Edition also 1st edition (2008) Views programmes as a collection of projects.
Morris, PWG and Pinto, JK and Söderlund, J, (eds.) (2011) The Oxford Handbook of Project Management, Oxford University Press
Project Management Institute (2013) The Standard for Programme Management, Project Management Institute; 3rd edition
Reiss, G. (Ed.). (2006). Gower Handbook of programme management. Gower Publishing, Ltd.
Reiss, G. & Raynor, P. (2012) Portfolio and Programme Management Demystified: Managing Multiple Projects Successfully, Routledge; 2nd edition
Tends towards view of programmes as collection of projects.

Snowden, Rod & Cabinet Office (2011) Managing Successful Programmes, Stationery Office; 4th ed., 2011 edition (30 Aug 2011)
Thiry, M. (2010) Programme Management, Gower Publishing Ltd
Williams, D, & Parr, T. (2003). Enterprise programme management: delivering value. Palgrave Macmillan.

Other topics of interest (some are available on Moodle page):
Association for Project Management, A Guide to the Governance aspects of Project Sponsorship,
Association for Project Management, (2014) Directing Change: A Guide to Governance of Project Management, 2nd edition
Association for Project Management, (2014) Co-directing Change: A Guide to the Governance of Multi-Owned Projects
César, B. (1998). Managing sensitive projects: A lateral approach. Psychology Press.
Flyvbjerg, B., Bruzelius, N., & Rothengatter, W. (2003). Megaprojects and risk: An anatomy of ambition. Cambridge University Press.
Littau,P. Jujagiri, N., Adlbrecht, G., (2010) “25 Years of Stakeholder Theory in Project Management Literature (1984-2009)”, Project Management Journal, Sept 2010
Morris, PWG and Pinto, JK and Söderlund, J, (eds.) (2011) The Oxford Handbook of Project Management. Oxford University Press
Muller, R. (2009) Project Governance: Fundamentals of Project Management, Gower Publications
Porter,M (1996) “What is strategy?”, Harvard Business Review, Nov-Dec 1996
Porter, M. E. (2008). The five competitive forces that shape strategy. Harvard business review, 86(1), 25-40.
Pellegrinelli, S. (1997). Programme management: organising project-based change. International Journal of Project Management, 15(3), 141-149.
Pellegrinelli, S. Partington,D., Hemingway, C., Mohdzain,Z.,& Mahmood Shah (2007) "The importance of context in programme management: An empirical review of programme practices." International Journal of Project Management 25, no. 1 (2007): 41-55.
Patanakul, P.and Shenhar, A. (2002) “What Project Strategy Really Is: The Fundamental Building Block in Strategic Project Management” Project Management Journal, Feb 2002
Turner, R. (2003) Contracting for Project Management, Gower Publishing Ltd; New edition: Sep 2003
Walley, P (2013) “Stakeholder management: the sociodynamic approach”, International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 6 No. 3, 2013, pp. 485-504

Subject specific skills

Initiating and planning programmes and projects for success,
Able to select and apply a wide range of models/frameworks to analysing strategic context and drivers of programmes and projects;
Wide range of methods and techniques applicable to programme and project planning, initiation and set-up, benefits management, business cases, blueprinting and 'as-is' and 'to-be' models, portfolios of projects
stakeholder analysis and engagement, communication, advanced risk management, issue and change control, requirements elicidation and capturing, programme, portfolio and project organisation and governance,

Transferable skills

Problem definition, problem-solving, critical thinking and reasoning, value of diversity and range of perspectives
Dealing with Volatility, complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity
Planning skills, risk management, time management
Team work and leadership, decision-making and biases
Communication skills, intercultural communications and communication with wide range of stakeholders,
report writing and presentation skills, resseach skills, digital literacy

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 10 sessions of 1 hour 30 minutes (10%)
Seminars 5 sessions of 1 hour 30 minutes (5%)
Tutorials (0%)
Supervised practical classes 5 sessions of 1 hour 30 minutes (5%)
Online learning (scheduled sessions) 5 sessions of 1 hour 30 minutes (5%)
Online learning (independent) 40 sessions of 1 hour (27%)
Assessment 72 hours 30 minutes (48%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description

No private study requirements defined for this module.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A
Weighting Study time
Post Module Assignment 80% 60 hours

A report analysing key elements of the module learning and applying the learning to analysis and critical discussion of a choice of case studies from Industry. Successful completion will require the student to research additional material on project and programme management to evidence and support their analysis, arguments, key findings and recommendations.

Case study exercises and final Group presentation 20% 12 hours 30 minutes

In-module case study exercises (face-to-face and digital) and final role-play presentation on the case study and proposed solution/ recommendations to the Programme Board of the case study organisation. The course has a number of problem-based exercises and activities throughtout the module, some of which are formative and some of which are assessed towards the IMA and final presentation.Students are told which activities are assesssed with the guidance provided.

Assessment group R
Weighting Study time
Post Module Assignment 100%
Feedback on assessment

Students receive verbal (sometimes online/written) feedback from tutors, and peers on various formative execises throughout the week and upon the completion of the In Module Final presentation.
Students have the opportunity to attend an optional 'digital PMA workshop' 7-10 days after the completion of the module, If time permits, students may receive verbal feedback on structure or drafts etc.
Students recieve written feedback on the PMA submitted and may also receive verbal feedback from the tutor (upon student request)


To take this module, you must have passed:

There is currently no information about the courses for which this module is core or optional.