I have had the opportunity to manage a number of programs supporting public sector contracts at my company. Programs are focused on a number of balanced scorecard elements and are typically tied to meeting contractual requirements, compliance, financial goals, and internal performance measures. Ultimately, these elements are focused on meeting customer satisfaction and/or stakeholder expectations and are interrelated. Without a clear vision of what these elements are -- or how we measure them -- program success can be inhibited or lead to failure.
This is where the value of the program review enters the picture. The structure of the program review is really designed around communicating the on-going status of how well a program is performing relative to the balanced scorecard elements. I have found this form of communication to be extremely effective when the right stakeholders are involved and thus stakeholder identification and analysis is a key aspect of creating a successful review. This can be a challenge in terms of scheduling an effective session with all of the key executives in attendance but have found that the reviews have provided real value and the majority make the time to attend. The reviews are usually scheduled on a monthly interval which provides just enough time to refresh key operational metrics/KPI's and have enough new information and data to review and discuss to make the investment of time -- especially executive time -- worthwhile.
The program reviews also serve as a governance type of function since the members in attendance include key decision makers as well as the executive sponsor of the program. The discussion and collaboration that takes place and centered on understanding program issues and risks has been very valuable and I cannot underemphasize the importance of having key stakeholders review and participate at this level simultaneously. The review process also allows for course correction on program strategy and also provide key financial support to resolve issues that require additional resources or capital infusion.
In summary, it is important to develop a balanced scorecard with the right strategic fit and alignment and in my observation, the future success and sustainability of this tool is based upon key stakeholder engagement, collaboration, and facilitated by an effective program review process.