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The Standard for Program Management Paperback – October 1, 2017
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As a study guide for the PGMP exam, which is supposed to be based on the standard, you're going to be pretty confused. The PGMP exam is nothing like the PMP exam, with its rigid focus on what processes are sub-sets of other processes. For the exam, the main take-aways from this standard are its constant references to: the business-benefit link, to the need for governance, and of course PMI's constant (and usually, tragically, ignored) pleas for the use of a WBS. Those are the only parts you will recognize again on the exam.
Of course you need to read the standard before taking the exam. Ironically, however, this standard is actually considerably more useful as an operational program management reference - which, of course, is what the standard is really meant for. So kudos to the folks who put it together.
First, the general knowledge about defining a Program, Stakeholder management, and the Control and Governance of a Program was immediately useful. While not directed at the Security space specifically, I found it as easy to map to the needs of the Security space as any other type of ongoing Program. The general approach assumes that your Program has a Start and a defined End, where as security Programs tend to be more of an ongoing evolution. But if you think of your Point of Current as your start, and your 3 to 5 year vision as your Point in Time target or your end, the processes outlined can serve you well.
Second, it's written much better than other books I've seen from the PMI, like the PMBOK for example. While it's still a good tool for attacking insomnia, in my opinion you won't find it wordy or too dry. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily I was able to identify the portions of the Standard that were directly relevant to my current Program needs, and how easy it was for me to lightly skim the sections that I felt less important, while still getting from it the basics out of even those parts.
Third, I found the diagrams and charts provided clear and easy to understand. Several of them were in fact better than ones I was already using as visuals of processes I didn't really need the "help" on, and I decided to use them as a basis for several key process slides when addressing stakeholders, sponsors and customers. Again, a lot of these processes may not be new ideas if you've been managing a Security Program, or any sort of Program for that matter for a good amount of time. I think what I found particularly helpful was that the language used was easily understood by most business oriented types. It can be difficult to convey some Security issues to non practitioners, and I found that adopting some of the verbiage used in the Standard helped me to bridge some of those gaps with business leaders and customers.
My final comments are around the Program Management Process Groups and Knowledge Areas. If you're a PMP or at least familiar with the content, processes and knowledge areas from the PMBOK version 4, then a lot of this may seem redundant at first glance. Really though, the Standard does a pretty good job of adopting the same sort of current model and approach from the PMBOK version 4 to the Program space. It even does a better job in my opinion of explaining the relationship between Portfolios, Programs and Projects, and the scope of the organizations tasked with driving these beasts. If you work in an environment where the PMBOK processes aren't followed with the rigor that PMI insists is so very critical, you may understand how difficult it can be to convince nay sayers of the value of those practices. But even in that case, I think the processes and knowledge contained in the Standard can still be used to the benefit of your Program.
I think the book is worth a look, especially at Amazon or other online site discount prices, or if your company reimburses your costs. I think there's something in here that can help most any Program.
I think PMI did a great job in this book than the PMBOK, which is definitely a good bed time material. This book is well written and flows nicely. I didnt expect that I will actually like this book and use it for anything beyond just knowledge but I found that some of the graphics are helpful and can be used for presentations. That to me along with the deep and thorough practical examples made this book a 4 star.