I’ve spent a bunch of time recently helping leaders in my organization align on goals and key measurements for our program. I wanted to write an article about some of the key learnings that I’ve drawn in the process that apply to the program management function in general.

Create the right structure

The structure or process for defining your business goals may not yet exist.  

Coming up with structures and processes is difficult and takes a lot of energy. Be kind to yourself and give yourself enough time to reflect and gather feedback. 

Once you are ready make an effort to be as concise and clear as possible. The people reviewing your work have only got a certain time slice to allocate, so invest time in synthesizing your ideas before sharing them.

With that being said don’t overdo it. Be prepared but know when it’s time to stop and share your work. 

Create clarity and transparency

This doesn’t only apply to the process of coming up with business goals and success measures. Very generally – and for most things – you can’t under communicate things; ever. 

As you drive alignment you will likely have to set up a series of meetings and design a set of activities to make sure all voices are heard, and that consensus is found. 

Many of us work from home right now, so you want to leverage the right tools to facilitate remote brainstorming sessions. It’s a very different skill from facilitating an in-person session. Feel free to experiment with different things as the format needs to work not just for you but also for the rest of the group.

Focus on the outcomes first

As you iterate over the ideas for business targets, make sure you consider the outcomes that you want from your program first. 

Drive alignment on the outcomes and then define results that are likely to be a good measurement of the achievement of these outcomes. 

Avoid shipping the organization

At all times you should avoid limiting your scope to your program only. Sometimes an outcome that your program delivers has a dependency on another program in the organization.